Madang Province: Papua New Guinea Business Guide


Madang Province is on the northern coast of Papua New Guinea and has many of the country’s highest peaks and active volcanoes. It also has the widest mix of languages.

The Balek Wildlife Sanctuary. Credit: David Kirkland


The province shares land borders with East Sepik, Enga, Western Highlands, Jiwaka, Chimbu, Eastern Highlands and Morobe. In the south is the Bismarck Ranges, with heights of over 4000 metres, and Mt Wilhelm, PNG’s tallest mountain at 4509 metres. In the south, the Ramu Valley separates the Bismarck Range from the Finisterre Range. The mountains are densely forested, including rainforest, while the coastal plains have palm trees. Offshore islands are, in some cases, volcanic; this active volcanic region is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Economic overview

The US$2.1 billion Ramu nickel and cobalt project in Madang, is the province’s main mining and processing project. The mine produces 33,000 tons of nickel and 3300 tons of cobalt, and has a projected mine life of 35 years. Another mine site is the Yandera copper exploration project, which is estimated to have 580 million tonnes of ore that has viable traces of copper, molybdenum and gold.

Sugar is grown in the Ramu Valley and fishing is being industrialised in the province. Funding for a Pacific Marine Industrial Zone project in Madang has been confirmed. The project will be developed over 215 hectares of land, of which approximately 100 hectares would host canneries and 115 hectares would be for residential and commercial purposes. The Ramu 2 Hydro Power Project is expected to increase total electricity generation capacity in PNG by 36 per cent.

Madang produces a variety of agricultural produce. It is PNG’s third biggest producer of cocoa and copra and the second-biggest producer of cattle. There are coconut palm plantations on the coast and cardamom is grown in Madang city. Foods eaten include those grown in fertile coastal gardens, shellfish, fish, fruit, green vegetables, bananas, taro, sweet potato, and yams, which relish dry soils. Sago is a staple of the Ramu River people, especially in its lower reaches. The mountain people have high-quality gardens.

Madang is also the landing point for the PPC-1 undersea fibreoptic cable, which connects northern PNG to Guam and Australia. It is also home to Divine Word University, one of PNG’s leading tertiary institutions.

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There are many reefs scattered around Madang Harbour that are attractive to divers, who can witness schools of giant trevally, tuna and manta rays. Kayaking and snorkelling are available and there is surfing on the coast. Bil Bil village makes traditional clay pots and in the Balek Wildlife Sanctuary there is a sulphuric creek, with crystal-clear water, where turtles, fish and eels congregate. Another highlight is the annual Madang Festival, held on the June Queen’s Birthday long weekend. The province receives strong rainfall, including 3.2 metres in the capital. Madang is broken into four distinct groups: islanders, coastal people, river people and mountain people. Over 170, often very different, regional languages are spoken; there is a large number of small language groups, some with fewer than 1000 people.

Where to stay

  • Madang Lodge ( is a comfortable seaside hotel with rooms and oceanfront apartments for every budget.
  • The Madang Resort ( is a fully serviced resort with waterfront bungalows, two restaurants, a dive shop, swimming pools and conference facilities.
  • The Coastwatchers Hotel is on the waterfront (

Madang province in brief

Province name: Madang

Capital: Madang

Population: 493,906

Area: 28,886 square kilometres

Distance from Port Moresby: 494 kilometres.

Getting there: Air Niugini flies from Port Moresby to Madang regularly. The flight time is 1 hour.

Sectors: Mining, sugar, tourism, copra, cocoa, agribusiness.

Copyright 2020, Business Advantage International Pty Ltd

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