SYDNEY (Reuters) – The United States and a group of Pacific allies are proposing to finance a power plant to kick-start the Wafi-Golpu mine in Papua New Guinea, one of the world’s largest untapped gold resources, two sources familiar with the plan said.
The proposal would be the first to be funded by a partnership of the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan that pledged to support electricity projects in Papua New Guinea (PNG) during the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation Summit held in November in the capital of Port Moresby.
The countries promised to fund projects to provide electricity for up to 70 percent of the PNG population by 2030, a centerpiece of efforts to undercut Chinese influence in the Pacific.
Officials from the four countries met last month in Port Moresby with the PNG government to discuss the power plant funding for Wafi-Golpu, jointly owned by Newcrest Mining and Harmony Gold, the two sources said.
The exact size of the investment has yet to be concluded, but the coalition is seeking to back a power natural gas-fired station that would eventually be owned and operated by the PNG government, the sources said.