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PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill voices optimistism at growth of mining sector

DESPITE low energy prices, the National Government is working closely with investment partners to continuously develop the country’s mining and petroleum sector, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says.
He highlighted that Papua New Guinea had recently joined the club of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporting countries in the world.
Addressing a meeting with the Australia-PNG Business Council in Sydney, Australia, yesterday O’Neill said: “I know that Papua New Guinea is not an easy country to invest in and conduct business, but you must agree with me that it is getting easier.
“As a LNG exporting nation, we (PNG) accept that there are global factors which are beyond our country. We need as a country to adjust to the world low LNG prices which are going to have some long term effect on our economy into the future.
“We are working closely with ExxonMobil, our managing partner of the first LNG project in ensuring that we deliver a third train in the current project.
“We are happy with the resolutions of the arbitration that took place between Oil Search and InterOil in the development of the Elk/Antelope resource in Gulf.
“I want to state clearly that in the gas and oil sector, the Government has introduced a legislation to introduce the long outstanding Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF).
“We are working with the development partners in the Wafi-Golpu project (Morobe) there are some changes to the structure of the development to that project but I can assure you that we are very much on course to the delivery of a world class mine.
“We believe in our new partner PanAust for the Frieda River project (West Sepik), the Government has already put them on notice which we will exercise our rights to take up the 30 per cent stake of the project.”
O’Neill told the meeting that the government has recently-appointed Peter Graham, former managing director of ExxonMobil PNG Ltd, as Ok Tedi Mining Ltd managing director and chief executive officer.
“We (Government) are refocusing the management of Ok Tedi mine, we recently appointed Peter Graham of ExxonMobil which will now ensure that the management of that mine continues to adhere to the world’s best practices,” he said.
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