How new investments will drive a rebound in Papua New Guinea’s mining sector (Borneo Post – March 17, 2019)

Borneo Post

A raft of foreign capital investments across new and existing mines in Papua New Guinea are set to boost production and lead to a rebound in government revenues; however, there are concerns proposed legislative changes could hinder activity moving forward.

In December Australian company Newcrest Mining and its partner, South Africa’s Harmony Gold, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with PNG’s government over a potential 9.1 billion kinas (US$2.8 billion) investment to develop the Wafi-Golpu mine, a copper-gold asset in Morobe Province.

While the MOU will not immediately lead to progress on the mine, it paves the way for further talks and a possible final agreement that will delineate benefit and revenue-sharing arrangements between developers and local communities.

The developers hope that with the timeframe for negotiations set by the current MOU, a special mining lease – the specific type of permit relating to large-scale, long-term projects – can be issued by the end of second quarter of this year.

Potential developments at the Ramu and Frieda River mines

Separately, on January 1 Toronto-listed Cobalt 27 Capital announced a deal to purchase Australia’s Highlands Pacific for an estimated US$70 million, which will see the former potentially obtain a 11.3 per cent stake in the Ramu nickel-cobalt mine. Ramu currently produces around 3300 tonnes of cobalt annually, approximately three per cent of annual global supply, and 34,000 tonnes of nickel.

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