Papua New Guinea Chamber of Mines and Petroleum president Gerea Aopi said during the Mining and Petroleum conference in Port Moresby the rise in interest rates and the strengthening of the US dollar were impacting the industry.
“The price of gold and our main export commodity decline from US$1800 (K5180) an ounce to around US$1200 (K3453) an ounce until late last year,” he said.
“The recent 2016 national budget noted that.
“And from early this year until October, the gold price fell by a further eight per cent to around US$1176 (K3384) dollars an ounce.
“You are aware of the sudden depression in oil prices that took place last year because of the impact of the 2015 budget, and more recently the 2016 national budget with the decline in revenue from the PNGLNG project.”
Aopi said for Papua New Guinea, the effects on the industry had been compounded by the drought affecting the country.
“For many companies, the costs associated with drought activities are further strained but we have a personal obligation to help people in our community,” he said.
“The drought forced the closure of OK Tedi almost three months ago and milling and operations at Porgera have been on and off.
“As with resource companies around the world, mining and petroleum companies in PNG have been forced to rationalise their operations and retrench or stand down thousands of workers.”