In brief: Ramu NiCo announces K4.8b expansion plans, and other business news

Ramu NiCo announces expansion, Kina Bank celebrates innovation award, and Frieda River Project Accord signed. A weekly digest of the latest business news.

in briefRamu NiCo Management Limited, the developer of the country’s first nickel/cobalt mining project, has announced expansion plans investing over US$1.5 billion (K4.8 billion) into the project.

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Kina Bank’s aspiration to be the leading digital financial services company in PNG was given a boost when the bank took the award for being most innovative business at the prestigious PNG Institute of Directors Awards night.

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The Frieda River Project Accord between miner PanAust and the seven village leaders located near the site has been signed. West Sepik Governor Tony Wouwou, said the accord will ensure alignment of the company, landowners and employees.

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Developers of major resource projects keeping offshore accounts are reportedly not helping to ease the foreign exchange crisis faced in PNG. The Bank of PNG has urged the government and its agencies to come up with better terms when negotiating project development agreements (PDAs) to avoid shortages of forex receipts.

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Mineral Resources Authority small-scale mining branch development engineer Matthew Dalga (centre) explains the law to miners in Kaindi, Wau. Source: The National

Conducting unauthorised mining activities in the country can result in a fine of up to K10,000 or a prison term of four years, according to the Mineral Resource Authority. The MRA reportedly said unauthorised alluvial mining was especially predominant in the Wau and Bulolo areas of Morobe. Under the Mining Act 1992, section 167, ‘a person shall not carry on exploration or mining on any land unless he is duly authorised’.

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Niupower has contracted energy service provider Wärtsilä to operate Papua New Guinea’s first gas-fired power station, when it begins providing base-load power for the National Capital District in January 2019. NiuPower, which is tasked with focusing on domestic power production, is an entity jointly owned by Oil Search and PNG’s national oil company Kumul Petroleum. NiuPower CEO Richard Robinson reportedly said the station will reduce the cost of power supply into the grid by up to K100 million a year. The contract runs for five years.

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PNG Power Limited Board chairman Peter Nupiri has reportedly come out to clarify reports on the recent restructure announced last month, describing it as a ‘solely legal exercise’ that followed due process.

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About 90,000 businesses in Papua New Guinea reportedly do not pay tax, resulting in loss of millions of kina in government revenue. The National has reported the acting Internal Revenue Commissioner-General, Dr Alois Daton, saying that their records show there are 120,000 registered entities, but most do not pay tax.

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Badili Hardware has partnered with global paint company PPG in order to meet the growing industrial demand in Papua New Guinea, according to resident director Sri Bala.

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The US is reportedly working to stop Chinese telecom giant Huawei from building a major internet infrastructure project in PNG, in another sign of international efforts to curb China’s broadening influence in the Pacific. The US is working alongside Japan and Australia to develop a ‘counter offer’ to Huawei’s plans, US Charge d’Affaires James Caruso, told Australia’s ABC radio.

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Air Niugini’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft P2-PXE landed short of the runway and in a lagoon last Friday in Chuuk, in the Federated States of Micronesia. The airline has reported one fatality. The circumstances surrounding this accident are now a matter for relevant authorities as they begin their task of investigating the events that led to the incident and the actions which followed,’ noted the airline’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Tahawar Durrani. ‘We are committing all required resources to ascertain the factors that led to this accident.’

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China is said to be pressuring PNG to sign a huge hydro electricity deal before the APEC summit in November. The Australian newspaper is reporting that the $US907 million (K3.03 billion) deal for a 180 megawatt plant planned for Eastern Highlands would be PNG’s biggest infrastructure project to date.

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PNG Power has reportedly partnered with an independent supplier JYVX Limited under its Jive Marketing online platform. The aim is to extend accessibility for customers to buy Easipay prepaid units across PPL networks in the country.

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Photograph of the week

Jenny Pite works on a bilum at the Boroko craft market in Port Moresby. Source: Peter Esila, The National

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