Landowner companies in Papua New Guinea


An overview of landowner companies in Papua New Guinea and the role they play in PNG’s economy.

Landowner companies, or ‘lancos’, are a unique feature of Papua New Guinea’s business landscape. They have emerged as a result of the way land is owned in Papua New Guinea, and the requirements placed on developers seeking to make use of that land, especially in the mining and petroleum sectors.

As outlined in the section of this guide entitled Land ownership explained, approximately 97 per cent of land in Papua New Guinea is held by its traditional owners under customary principles of land ownership. Customary land cannot bought or sold, and its use for major projects needs to be negotiated through relevant State agencies.

Where customary land is used for a commercial project, local business participation in that commercial project is often included as a condition of land use. As a result, local landowner groups have come to establish successful businesses servicing the commercial project.

For example, a 2015 study commissioned by the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum estimated that more than 5,000 business entities in Papua New Guinea had, to date, been established in and around mining and gas/oil resource sites.

As these landowner businesses have developed and grown, so they have often developed additional capabilities, and spread their businesses to other parts of PNG, and even internationally. Some have also developed investment vehicles and are potential partners for local and international investors.

Lancos can also play a major role in the development of the communities they represent, helping to build local facilities and provide local services.

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Some of PNG’s major landowner companies are profiled below.

The Anitua Group

The Anitua Group of companies is owned by landowner interests on the island of Lihir in New Ireland Province. It commenced operations in 1989. Lihir Island is the location for the Lihir gold mine, currently operated by Newcrest Mining.

Anitua started by providing services to the Lihir mine, including catering, logistics and construction, and has since grown to offer services across the country, and even internationally. It employs around 3000 people across the group.

Its major business is the camp management and catering services company, NCS Holdings. Other subsidiaries, some of which are joint ventures, include cover mining services and operations, insurance, retail, farming, security, ICT, property management, auto services and investment.

Further information

Hides Gas Development Company

Hides Gas Development Company is the landowner company set up to provide services to the PNG LNG gas site at Hides, Hela Province.

It is involved in skilled and unskilled labour hire, camp catering, camp maintenance, light vehicle hire, security, and rations supply.

Further information

Laba Holdings

Established in 2009, Laba Holdings is an umbrella company that comprises shareholding from the four representative village lancos of the PNG LNG Plant Site near Caution Bay, just outside Port Moresby. These are Porebada Holdings Limited, Boera Holdings Limited, Papa Resources Development Limited and Buria ReaRea Caution Bay Limited.

It is involved in labour and equipment hire, construction, maintenance and civill works.

Further information

NKW Holdings

Founded in 2004, NKW Holdings Limited, also known as NKW Group, is a wholly owned partnership of three landowner groups based around the Hidden Valley gold mine in Wau, Morobe Province.

These are Nauti Investment Limited, Kuembu Investment Limited and Winima Investment Limited.

NKW employs around 1200 staff and is a diversified business, with subsidiaries covering activities such as logistics, fresh produce, camp management, catering, and construction.

Further information

Trans Wonderland

Trans Wonderland Ltd is a transportation company owned by landowners from the areas surrounding the Kutubu, Jura, Angora and Moran oil/gas fields.

Its main focus is transport and logistics.

Further information

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