In brief: What companies in Papua New Guinea are doing to stop the spread of COVID-19 and other business stories


Telikom PNG launches a COVID-19 helpline, mining companies announce contingency plans and studies conducted at the Frieda River project site to be finalised. The news you need to kickstart your week.

Tisa Rua project’s construction begins. Credit: Tisa/Linkedin

How companies are responding to COVID-19

Nasfund – PNG’s superannuation fund has cancelled regional conferences, shop floor presentations and all activities that require having large gatherings. Nasfund’s CEO, Ian Tarutia, also said in a statement that ‘non-essential business travel outside of PNG’ has been cancelled for all employees. And to keep everyone at Nasfund safe, client service staff are now required to wear protective masks.

covid-19 oil searchOil Search – The company is restricting manning in all its offices and restricting visitors.

Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) – The IRC has developed a Continuity Plan designed to guarantee the safety of staff and taxpayers/agents. It has also developed a Second Response to address the economic impact of COVID-19 on taxpayers and their obligations.

Air Niugini – PNG’s airlines released a statement explaining what it is doing to help mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spread. Air Niugini is using hospital-type disinfectant to disinfect aircrafts and all their offices every night, replacing head rest covers, and providing staff with protective equipment.

Air Niugini ceased carrying passengers on inbound international flights and, starting 24 March, all domestic flights will be suspended for 14 days

Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry – PNG’s first port of call for business people has postponed all its business breakfast meetings  until further notice.

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Telikom PNG – The nationally-owned telco has launched a COVID-19 toll free number, 1800 200.

Newcrest Mining – To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Newcrest has suspended its fly in, fly out (FIFO) flight operations from Australia into PNG’s Lihir Island. ‘Our management team at Lihir is largely residential, and the vast proportion of our overall workforce at Lihir is Papua New Guinean, including local Lihirians. This team, under the leadership of our resident General Manager, will continue to operate the mine safely and with proper observance of health protocols.’ Australian Financial Review

Barrick New Guinea – The mining company has announced that incoming international flights will cease and only a limited number of flights will continue to help repatriate some personnel. Anthony Esplin, BLN Managing Director, said ‘it is important we recognise we all have a part to play in helping prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and the precautionary restrictions on travel we have announced today are one way in which our company can assist the state in combatting this disease.’ LOOP PNG

The Managing Director and CEO of the mining company St Barbara said in a statement that to protect its people and reduce the risk on COVID-19, the company ‘has implemented a number of measures in line with the relevant government advice (tailored for local health authorities’ instructions and advice for each of our operations), including cancelling all non‐essential travel, working from home where practicable, enforcing self‐isolation policies when appropriate and encouraging good hygiene practices and social distancing across our workplaces and at home.’ St Barbara

Ramu Nico – Ships coming in from China to Ramu Nico’s Basamuk refinery in Madang Province are being quarantined for 14 days at Lae Port, reports the Post-Courier.

Business Advantage PNG is committed to delivering the latest information and our team will be updating this list on a regular basis. If your company hasn’t been listed here, email us at


In related news, …


Studies conducted at the Frieda River project site are about to be finalised and published reports The National. East Sepik’s Governor, Alan Bird, said that K500,000 had been committed to the study conducted by experts in mining, environment, conservation and agriculture to look at the mine plan and its economics in relation to agriculture and water quality, among other areas.


Geopacific Resources Limited has given an update on the Woodlark Gold project. The update highlights include: how discussions are advancing with potential debt providers, how programs on site are progressing, and the state of relationships with the local community. (Geopacific Resources)



A new K82 million real estate project in Port Moresby has started construction. The nine-storey Tisa Rua project’s value will increase upon completion. ‘We can comfortably put the value of the Tisa Rua upon completion at K151 million on the basis of full occupancy, consistent with a building lifecycle of 20 years and at an attractive commercial property investment return,’ said the CEO of the Teachers Savings and Loans Society, Michael Koisen. Fletcher Morobe Construction has been contracted for the project. The National

In related news, TISA claimed to have K835 million unaudited total assets at the end of 2019. Its CEO, Michael Koisen, told The National Tisa ‘has quietly earned the status of being the largest credit union in PNG.’


Photograph of the week

PNG Dataco working in Manus. Credit: DataCo PNG

Last week, history was made in Manus when PNG DataCo landed the Kumul Submarine Cable in the island. This will give high-speed internet access to residents and businesses, opening up several opportunities for economic growth and e-commerce development.


  1. helping our rural people to engage in financial activities is helpful

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