PAPUA NEW Guinea has taken serious steps toward becoming a fully fledged member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). This was what representatives from the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) told potential investors including mineral exploration companies, service providers, and geologists at the Hong Kong Mines & Money Convention this week. MRA’s manager for Geographical Information System (GIS) Marketing and Information, Arnold Lakamanga, said the PNG Government through a National Executive Council (NEC) decision had set up a secretariat (PNGEITI) to work toward being a full member of the EITI. Mr Lakemanga said the secretariat is housed within the National Treasury Department as the lead government agency. The Secretariat comprises Civil Society, NGOs, and relevant government agencies like the MRA. “The MRA’s objectives are clear. We want investors to know that we want to be transparent in the way we do business,” said Lakamanga. He said as a strong supporter of the PNG EITI process, MRA has put in place a digital tenements management system that is open and transparent as it has features that eliminate potential for any form of influence outside of the normal process. He said the system enables license holders to check on the status of their tenements and applications online. The public can also access general information on tenements and applications. In addition, its website www.mra.gov.pg has important and up to date information on the MRA’s activities. Mr Lakamanga explained that the PNGEITI secretariat had so far produced two reports on the 2013 and 2014 reporting periods, with 2015 and 2016 reports due by December 2017, however more work was being carried out in efforts to become a qualified member. Several investor representatives including those from Rio Tinto and Zijin which is jointly operating the Porgera Mine with Barrick, had commended the country for its efforts. It is hoped that PNG’s EITI efforts will encourage investment in the country by providing investor-confidence. Meanwhile MRA managing director Philip Samar met yesterday (Thursday) with a few of these investors to discuss their interest in mineral exploration and to further assure them of PNGs competent and transparent regulatory processes.