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PNG's Amendments in Oil & Gas and Mining Acts do not provide level playing field, says Sam Akoitai

Former PNG Minister for Mining and Member for Central Bougainville Sam Akoitai, yesterday gave some straight forward remarks to the Members of Parliament on the Bill to amend the Oil and Gas Act and the Mining Act. Mr Akoitai, while debating the bill, said he does not support the amendments as “they do not provide a level playing field”. He said, before beginning his speech, that he does not have any shares in any mining company, nor does he secretly represent and is talking on half of a lobby group, however, he is talking as a man that has history in the mining industry predating his role as a member of Parliament. Mr Akoitai said: “Investors look at two things before investing; one, they look at sovereign risk, and two, security on tenements. Mining Minister, you should know this. “Today, our sovereign risk will go up (as a result of the amendments), I don’t know how long you tried to convince yourself that this is the right thing for PNG.” Mr Akoitai also said there was no need to amend these laws, because the laws had been tested already. “Our mining laws have been tested; Porgera is there, Lihir is there, Ok Tedi is there – the Act has been tested,” Mr Akoitai said. He also made note to the observations in recent weeks on social media platforms by professionals in the mining industry and how they forgot to incorporate the cost of gold production. His remarks seem to be in relation to Porgera, in which many social media commentators attributed the amount of profit the mining operators were making every year did not add up to the revenues experienced by the landowners. However, Mr Akoitai said: “What people seem not to understand is there is a cost to production. People are so quick to calculate the current gold price and multiply it by the amount of years of gold produced, but they don’t factor in the cost. “I must be the odd one talking about not supporting these amendments. “It’s not because I don’t want increased benefits (however), I want my country to be in a place that attracts investors.” Mr Akoitai also made scathing remarks in relation to the governance of MRDC. “Something that affects the industry; from the national government right down to the grass roots level, it’s one thing, and that’s governance. Governance of benefits, it’s an issue,” said Mr Akoitai. Post courier/PacificMiningWatch Next: In Pursuit to Master Petroleum Engineering
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