MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Ramu Project Nudged

Published by MAC on 2005-01-26

Ramu Project Nudged

PNG Post-Courier

January 26th, 2005

The joint venture partners of the Ramu nickel project have reached an agreement to advance the project to construction phase.

They met in the People's Republic of China to agree on outstanding issues related to the joint venture agreement.

The agreement to finalise all documentation is expected to be signed next month in Port Moresby.

Papua New Guinea's Ambassador to China Max Rai said the partners, after they failed to reach agreements in Sydney, Australia and in previous meetings, heaped praise on the outcome and described it as a "significant step in paving the way for the project to begin its first phase of construction".

Mr. Rai said the main issues of difference related to the questions of "exclusive rights period" and the "pledge of PNG parties 15 per cent as security to the China Metallurgical and Construction Company bank loans. The PNG parties include Highlands Pacific Limited and Mineral Resources Development Company (MRDC).

The joint venture partners agreed in their Beijing meeting that:

* The Metallurgical Company will meet 85 per cent of normal joint venture maintenance costs;

* It will be responsible for 100 per cent of costs incurred in its further investigation of the project; and

* The parties will provide without any charge reasonable assistance to MCC during that period.

Mr. Rai said after protracted discussions, it was agreed that the PNG parties need not pledge their 15 per cent stake in the project as security under the financing documentation.

"The parties only took note of the Government's request to reduce the exclusive right period from 270 days to 180 days," Mr. Rai said.

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