PAPUA New Guinea’s first nickel-cobalt developer and exporter Ramu NiCo Managament (MCC) remains committed to reach full production by 2015 and deliver the project to the stakeholders despite the current drop in international market prices of nickel.
Board chairman and president Zhao Shimin gave this assurance at the signing of the Ramu NiCo project revised memorandum of agreement (MoA) on Tuesday in Madang.
Zhao said MCC was committed to deliver on the project.
He was speaking before the people from the four impacted landowners associations and officials from the local level, provincial and national governments.
Zhao said with the help of all stakeholders, Ramu NiCo was able to conquer lots of difficulties and technical obstacles along the way.
He said as of last month, MCC realised 100% of the mine’s designed capacity.
The production target was achieved despite the project suffering from losses with huge consumption and low production alongside fall in nickel prices.
“Ramu NiCo project has launched into trial production,” Zhao said.
“However, we are still faced with huge challenges.
“The international nickel market price has already dropped from US$28,000 (K 67,796) to US$14,000 (K33,898) per tone.
“A lot of peer mines have either cut down staff or shut down production but Ramu NiCo is still at its starting stage of operation and is suffering from losses with the huge consumptions and low production,” Zhao said.
He said the initial operation of the project was very difficult with many hurdles during production but the company was moving on to improve the production quality and realise the project’s profitability.
“Every member of Ramu NiCo Management Ltd will devote every effort, fight all challenges and thrive as always to realise the commercial operation of the project and the goal set before us,” Zhao said.
“The company is determined to develop, construct and operate Ramu NiCo project for the common interest of the country, especially the interest of the people of Madang,” Zhao said.
While committing MCC to the spirit of the project MoA, he urged all parties to the MoA to support and ensure that the project delivered.
“All parties must adhere to the MoA commitment so that the people of Madang and PNG, especially the impacted landowners, benefit from their project,” Zhao said.
Minister for Mining, Byran Chan who attended the signing ceremony on behalf of the national government, said the government had remained committed to the MoA and would deliver its responsibilities.
Madang Governor Jim Kas said his provincial executive council would also support the project.