Rise in virus cases in PNG worries K92 Mining Inc

 THE K92 Mining Inc says the company and the resource industry is extremely concerned about the surge in the Covid-19 cases in the country.

Chief executive officer John Lewins said it had the potential to significantly impact the entire resource sector in PNG and, by extension, the rest of the economy.

“While the major concern should be the health and wellbeing of all people, the ability of the resource industry to maintain operations is critical to the ability of the Government to combat the pandemic,” he told The National.

“Remember that the resource industry is the major driver for the PNG economy accounting for almost 30 per cent of the GDP (gross domestic product) and over 80 per cent of exports.

“The sector also provides more than 20,000 jobs to Papua New Guineans, while 30,000 more are employed in landowner businesses, and other PNG businesses that support the industry.”

The potential impacts included:

  • PNG workers being unable to travel from their homes to the mine sites due to restrictions or lack of flights;
  • SKILLED expatriate workers being unable to travel to PNG.

Australia has just suspended the movement of fly-in-fly-out workers for two weeks.

If this continues, then without these skilled workers, it will be impossible to keep the resource sector operating safely and will result in all operations being forced to stop production;

  • SKILLED PNG workers catching the Covid-19 and being unable to work for short or long periods;
  • UNREST due to locals concerned about the Covid-19 brought in by “outsiders”;
  • RESTRICTIONS on the movement of supplies and equipment between provinces;
  • DELAYS in supplies and equipment being released from ports;
  • IMPACT of the Covid-19 on suppliers and contractors such as PNG Power, fuel suppliers, trucking companies, maintenance contractors; and,
  • SUPPLY chain issues from overseas suppliers.

“Keeping the resource industry operating is of major importance to PNG as it is the major contributor to the economy and if this is impacted or stops, this will obviously have a massive impact on the PNG economy,” Lewins said.

“Imagine the equivalent of another 10 Porgera mines stopping production, tens of thousands of jobs (K92 alone has over 1,000 employees and contractors), hundreds of millions in lost taxes and royalties, loss of business for suppliers, contractors, trucking companies and the like plus impacts on local communities.

“The potential impact on the economy in turn affects the ability of the Papua New Guinea Government to combat the pandemic.”


Next : PNG's Ok Tedi Mine suspends operations to control COVID-19 spread

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