In brief: PanAust applies for Frieda River licence, new US-Pacific fishing deal and claims Papua New Guinea economy sound


PanAust applies for Frieda River mining licence, new deal governing American access to the Pacific region’s tuna fishing and Chief Secretary to Government says Papua New Guinea’s economic fundamentals sound. Your weekly digest of the latest business news.

in briefPanAust has applied for a Special Mining Lease for the Frieda River Copper and Gold Project. The application was registered with the Mineral Resources Authority of PNG (MRA). Loop PNG is reporting that Managing Director of the MRA, Philip Samar, has said the project will be the first major, large scale resource project in Sandaun and East Sepik, costing K10.75 billion and with a construction period of up to 4 years.


Taiwanese fishermen unload tuna for export from Palau. Credit: AFP

Tuna for export from Palau. Credit: AFP

The United States and several Pacific countries have agreed to a new fishing deal which governs US access to the region’s billion dollar tuna fishery, Radio New Zealand reports. It is claimed to be the world’s largest multilateral tuna fisheries deal and will govern American fishing vessels’ access to the region’s exclusive economic zones.


The Chief Secretary to Government, Isaac Lupari, has asserted that PNG’s economic fundamentals are sound, according to the Post Courier. ‘Foreign currency reserves stand at US$1.6 billion(K5.2 billion) which is sufficient for seven months export coverage,’ he was reported to have said. ‘Our debt to GDP ratio is well within limits standing at 28.5 per cent of GDP, which is well below the legal limit of 35 per cent. National debt is very manageable, with 80 per cent being domestic, and the remaining 20 per cent being mostly concessional loans that do not carry substantial burden in (debt) servicing requirements.’


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The ADB's Yurendra Basnett

The ADB’s Yurendra Basnett

Yurendra Basnett, the PNG Country Economist for the Asian Development Bank, has said Britain’s decision to leave the European Union could affect Papua New Guinea’s attempts to raise international capital, Radio New Zealand reports. It is reported Mr Basnett said one of the longer term effects of a British exit would be the need to renegotiate partnership agreements with Europe in the Pacific.


Retail and wholesale company RH Trading is looking to buy more local produce, according to Loop PNG. It is reported that RH’s Production Manager, Stephen Ellis, is looking to fly in fresh vegetables and fruits and that Lae will be the central point of storage before the produce is shipped to Port Moresby. ‘There has been a huge switch for us in trying to limit the amount of fruit and vegetables coming in from overseas,’ Ellis was reported as saying. ‘When we have fruit and vegetables coming in from overseas, then that money is not staying in the community.’


General Manager of Sustainability and External Relations for the Wafi-Golpu joint venture, David Wissink, has said an environmental impact statement and a special mining lease application would be submitted to the Government after receiving the approval of the Newcrest and Harmony Gold boards, The National reports.


And finally, the Ok Tedi Development Foundation is claiming that the Cassowary Hotel in Kiunga, in the Western Province, will be opened in January, according to The National. It is reported that the hotel project is valued at K30 million and will generate a minimum annual 8 per cent return on the K27 million investment.

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