New Ireland Province: Papua New Guinea Business Guide


New Ireland is one of the northernmost islands of Papua New Guinea. It is long, narrow and mountainous, with vast stretches of white sandy beaches. The island is part of the Bismarck Archipelago and although 360 kilometres in length, the width is never more than 40 kilometres.

A boat from Nusa Island Retreat over a sunken vessel. Credit: Nusa Island Retreat

New Ireland’s central mountainous spine is very steep and rugged. The highest peak, at 2379 metres, is Mount Taron in the Hans Meyer Range. Other mountain ranges are: Tirpitz, Schleinitz, Verron and Rossel. The provincial centre of Kavieng, a south-sea island port, situated at the northern tip of the island. It has a large harbour and is a popular destination for game fishing enthusiasts. Kavieng boasts a good-size airfield with a modern airport building.

Economic overview

New Ireland has two producing mines: the Lihir gold mine on Lihir Island and the Simberi gold mine is on the eastern half of Simberi Island. Since its commencement in 1997, Lihir, an open-pit operation, has produced more than 10 million ounces of gold. It is currently producing over 900,000 ounces a year. It is estimated that the site will have a total mine life of 31 years. Simberi has an estimated annual production of 80,000 to 100,000 ounces. Another prospective mining operation, in waters belonging to New Ireland, is the Solwara undersea mining operation in the Bismarck Sea. The operators are seeking to extract a deposit that contains base metal sulphides, gold and silver. Drill programs are also being conducted at Feni Island for a copper-gold project.

Fisheries is another prominent industry, and the province is the location of the National Fisheries College, founded in 1977, which is the only school of its type in PNG. The island exports the sea cucumber beche-de-mer. Locals are also practiced in the art of shark calling, which involves luring a shark to a canoe by voice or by a rattle until it can be snared in a noose. Palm oil operations are undertaken in the province and fledgling galip nut harvesting, a fruit that is indigenous to the region, is being developed.


The island lies between two and five degrees south of the equator and the original land cover was primarily dense rainforest. Discovered by Dutch explorers in 1516, it was not until 1877 that the first missionaries arrived. The province went on to become one of Germany’s most profitable colonies, with the development of sizeable copra plantations, but during World War 2, the island fell to the Japanese and many of the towns, and much of the infrastructure and industry, was destroyed.

New Ireland has the unique annual Shark Calling Festival, game fishing and a history of explorers, missionaries, traders and Japanese armed forces. Along the edge of the harbour is Kavieng’s Harbour Drive, a gently curved road, shaded by huge trees, which passes many points of historical interest. There is surfing, fishing, diving, snorkelling, island hopping and canoeing. Cycling the Boluminski Highway from Kavieng to Namatanai has become popular with tourists. Other attractions are feeding the giant eels at Laraibina or short boat rides from Kavieng to Nusa Island.

Where to stay

  • Kavieng Niu Lodge ( has air-conditioned accommodation in town.
  • Nusa Island Retreat ( and Lissenung
Island Resort ( are suitable for surfing, diving, snorkelling or fishing. The live-aboard surfing, diving and fishing boat PNG Explorer ( is based at Kavieng.
  • Rubio Plantation Retreat (, 220 kilometres from Kavieng, is an option for surfers.
  • Villages along the Boluminski Highway will accommodate backpackers and cyclists.
  • Namatanai Lodge ( caters for guests travelling further down the west coast.

New Ireland Province in brief

Province name: New Ireland

Story continues after advertisment...

Capital: Kavieng

Population: 118,350

Area: 7404 square kilometres

Distance from Port Moresby: 859 kilometres.

Getting there: Air Niugini flies from Port Moresby to Buka regularly. The flight time is 1 hour 40 minutes.

Sectors: Mining, fisheries.

© Copyright 2020, Business Advantage International Pty Ltd

Leave a Reply