MAC: Mines and Communities

Png Intensifies Drive On Mining Investment

Published by MAC on 2006-03-14
Source: The National ()

PNG intensifies drive on mining investment

by The National (Papua New Guinea)

14th March 2006

PAPUA New Guinea has intensified its campaign to attract new batch of potential investors in mineral explorations and development at the recently-concluded mining convention in Toronto, Canada, drawing a steady flow of enquiries on the feasibility of doing business in the country.

Called the Prospectus and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) meet, the event attracted about 16,000 delegates from more than 90 countries who represented major international exploration, mining and investment companies from around the world.

At the PNG convention display booth, the staff had received a steady flow of convention participants and visitors requesting information on mineral prospects, mining operations, governance and fiscal provisions, infrastructure and opportunities for business partnerships.

The country's delegation was led by Mining Minister Sam Akoitai who was with a team of experts from the European Union Sysmin project and World Bank. "My department (mining) had attended this premier mining event consecutively over the last six years to promote and market PNG's geological prospects to some of the largest exploration, development, financial and investment companies from around the world," Mr Akoitai said in a statement from Washington yesterday.

The delegation is now in Washington DC to hold discussions with the World Bank and Australian gold miner Rio Tinto.

Discussions with Rio Tinto would centre on the possible lifting of the moratorium on Bougainville to attract potential exploration investors. Mr Akoitai said PNG's attendance at the Toronto convention and other mining-related conferences in the past had generated an "immense interest" from international resource developers who applied for a record number of exploration licences to date.

Junior exploration companies accounted for almost half of the US$5.1 billion (K16.32 billion) spent on exploration worldwide last year.

"It is therefore critical that PNG attracts and retains these junior exploration companies to add value to new as well as existing mining tenements.

"We expect that an increase in exploration spending by the junior explorers, coupled with expanded programmes by an intermediate and major producers, would result in a modest gain in this year's exploration investment," he said.

Mr Akoitai had acknowledged the continued assistance from the World Bank in making it possible for his department to attend the convention. This year, the World Bank assisted the Mining Department in producing a CD and booklet containing information on PNG's geological prospects and its advanced exploration projects.

Both items were on high demand at the convention.

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