In brief: US$8 billion Frieda River feasibility study released and other business stories

Feasibility study for Frieda River mine in Sepik Province reveals expanded project, government accounts close this Friday and Pacific nations look to extended their exclusive economic zones. Your weekly digest of the latest business news.

Credit: PanAust

The feasibility study for the PanAust-led Frieda River copper-gold project in Sepik Province has been released by Highlands Pacific. The project is now referred to as the Sepik Development Project, and involves not only a mine, but also major port and road infrastructure works in the province, a hydro-electric power plant and a power transmission grid.

With required capital estimated at US8 billion (K26.5 billion), the project ‘is likely to be the second largest capital investment in PNG after the Exxon Mobil LNG project,’ says the study.

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The Government yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture to progress the Wafi-Golpu Project, reports the Post-Courier.

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All financial commitments by the National Government will be paid by this Friday, when government accounts shut-down for the year, EMTV reports the Treasurer Charles Abel as saying.

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‘A big element of that is making sure that that some of our private sector arrears are paid out,’ Abel told a media conference this week.

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The eight nations that are Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), including Papua New Guinea, are to investigate ways to claim their current 200-mile exclusive economic zones before they lose land to climate change-induced sea level rise, reports the Post-Courier.

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People’s concerns about benefit-sharing and spin-offs related to the expansion of the Ramu Nickel mine in Madang Province will be carefully considered before Ramu Nickel’s expansion programme begins, Ramu Nickel community affairs manager Albert Tobe is quoted as saying in The National. His comments were a response concerns by local landowners, who complained they had not been told of the deal, which was signed at APEC.

EMTV reports landowners have threatened to stop the water supply of the mine if their demands stated in a petition are not met.

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Government offices will be closed from Monday Dec 24 to Wednesday Jan 2 for the Christmas and New Year holidays, acting Department of Personnel Management Secretary Taies Sansan is quoted as saying. The shutdown applies to all departments, provincial administrations and offices of the National Public Service.

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Fashion and accessories retailer, the CPL-owned Jacks of PNG, has successfully opened a store in Mt Hagen. CPL Chief Executive Mahesh Patel has warned of the risk of cheap, counterfeit products featuring original PNG designs, reports EMTV.

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Corruption decreases the growth of micro small-to-medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country, according to a recent analysis by PNG’s National Research Institute. ‘In order for the Government to correct the abnormalities, the first thing to do is to see how to increase penalties and the risks associated with being caught,’ Associate Professor Eugene Ezebilo reportedly told a meeting this week.

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Ilimo Dairy Farm outside Port Moresby is developing yoghurt, ice-cream and other products which will be available to consumers next year The National reports.

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‘As the US and Australia build the Lombrum base on Manus Island in the coming years, and perhaps build their capability in and around the Pacific more broadly, engaging with Indonesia should be part of the process,’ argues Evan A Laksmana, a senior researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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