Dr Fred Hess, the managing director of PanAust, the lead developer of the Frieda project, made this known during the PNG Mining and Petroleum conference in Port Moresby.
“What is important for Papua New Guinea is that this is a project of national significance and it brings with it the opportunity to opening up economic development that no other business wants to bring to that part of the country,” he said.
He said the Frieda project was shared by two provinces – “the deposit actually sits in Sandaun but all logistics will largely occur in East Sepik”.
“So we have got a situation there that we got to rely on the two provinces to support the project,” he said.
“Frieda River has been around for quite a while.
“I had a meeting with Grand Chief Michael Somare and he told me that he knew about the project before he was elected to the House of Assembly.
“And it has been one of his passions to move the project forward ever since.
“So it is a project that has got a long history.
“While it is challenging, it is not unfamiliar to get a project up and running successfully in PNG.
“You must have a focus on community’s government.”
He said at Frieda, “we got a number of people who live at the head waters of the Sepik and 300,000 people who live along Sepik River who have got an interest in the project’s development. And they are not always looking at the socio-economics”.