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PNG Prime Ministers mining sector to develop

Staff Reporter | 3:14 PM | |
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has outlined the challenges facing the mining sector in Papua New Guinea, stressing that the country must ensure its mining sector has a strong and secure future. "We want to see our mining sector grow just as soon as conditions, most of them beyond our control, improve," Mr O’Neill said.

"What we can do is improve our approval regimes, address our own infrastructure needs, and maintain a stable political environment that is conducive to attracting new investment while maintaining the confidence of our current project owners and operators," he said.

"Where we can provide affordable and reasonable incentives I am happy to consider proposals and work with state agencies to implement these proposals. "We must ensure our mining sector has a strong and secure future.

"The contrast between conditions in our petroleum sector and our mining sector this year could hardly be greater," he said. "Continued low commodity prices for some of our key exports have seen a slowdown in the mining sector that has had widespread consequences that we are all aware of.

"In the meantime we will continue to work with individual companies, both existing operators and new project proponents alike, and with the Chamber," he added. "I understand there may still be tough times ahead for the mining sector globally – not just in PNG.

"I saw a report from a leading economic forecasters just a few days ago predicting that mining investment in Australia will decline by a further 40 per cent over the next four years," O’Neill said. "We cannot isolate PNG from a depressed mining sector regionally and internationally.

"The government is fully aware of that, and we have taken a responsible and reasonable approach when it comes to the conditions relating to capital expenditure and licences," he said.