Economy. Papua New Guinea press review

Business houses in Port Moresby have raised concerns over the current economic outlook of the country. This was raised at a meeting held by the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) and the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry (POMCCI). The panel was led by the NCD Governor Powes Parkop and POMCCI President Rio Fiocco. Also present at the event were representatives from the PNG Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Council President Des Yaninen. According to Mr Yaninen, the increased poverty levels an impact of the extended period of the State of Emergency (SoE) resulting in less productivity and therefore resulting in lesser incomes.

New Britain Palm Oil Limited Group Chief Executive Officer Jamie Graham says their grant support program (K720 000) should greatly benefit five provincial health authorities in Papua New Guinea.

In addition, Mr. Graham says that «There has been a tremendously adverse impact on the business. In January this year CPO was US$834 per tonne, it is now US$538 per tonne […] So in a very short period of time we have gone from looking at a real recovery from 2019 and a positive business outlook for 2020 to a much more pessimistic one,» said Mr. Graham.

According to Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML) Managing Director and Chief Executive Peter Graham, Papua New Guinea will benefit from a recent increase in the price of gold. This is despite other resources like liquefied natural gas (LNG) and crude oil reporting a drop in their prices. «Copper has improved from a low in recent months to around US$2.30 (K7.72)/lb (per pound) which is down from around US$2.80 (K9.39)/lb in late 2019». «Gold, on the other hand, has increased and is currently around US$1,700 (K5,706.48)/ounce (per ounce) […] Ok Tedi exports a copper concentrate which includes some gold (and silver) and therefore benefits from the higher gold prices». So, «for Ok Tedi the drop in copper price due to the substantial drop in global economic growth is largely offset by the increase in the gold price».

Newcrest Mining Limited has applauded Prime Minister James Marape’s continued support for the country’s K16.7 billion (us$5 billion) Wafi-Golpu mine project. Nowadays renegotiations continue on the special mining lease for the Wafi-Golpu project, after putting on hold following proceedings between the government of Morobe and the State, relating to the Wafi-Golpu Project Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

At the opening of 2020 Macquarie Australia Conference Oil Search managing director Dr Keiran Wulff says there is a possibility that the company may temporarily shut down or limit oil production in the country. As Dr Wulff stated, «right now we are currently looking at whether we will continue all production – at this stage, it is our intention to do so». In addition, K. Wulff also marked that «Oil Search had been working closely with the PNG Government».

The National Court has issued a blanket order restraining all persons either connected or not connected, from commenting or discussing the government’s decision, not to renew Barrick Niugini Limited Mining License. This includes Facebook, Whatsapp, and all social media platforms, that might affect potential witnesses, until the conclusion of the case which is now before the courts. Deputy Chief Justice Ambeng Kandakasi issued this order among others after ordering both parties to meet and discuss with a view to resolving the matter and to ensure that the environment, the integrity of the mine, and the rights and interests of the landowners are not compromised. Barrick Niugini Limited had gone to the courts yesterday seeking to move a motion for an urgent interim stay on the NEC decision not to renew its Special Mining Lease.
All parties, Barrick Niugini Limited, represented by Derek Woods from Ashurst Lawyers and the State represented by the Solicitor General Tauvasa Tanuvasa and the Mineral Resource Authority were asked by the Deputy Chief Justice if there were any meetings held before the decision by the NEC was handed down.

Then the lawyer for Barrick Niugini Limited, Derek Woods handed up a proposed order for parties to work towards in resolving the case. Justice Kandakasi after seeking all parties consent endorsed the six orders as follows:

– The parties are directed to meet and have without prejudice discussions commencing 1 May 2020, with a view to endeavouring to resolve these proceedings (which discussions are without prejudice to the parties rights);
– The plaintiff shall perform its obligations under Clause 19.1(d) and (e) of the Mining Development Contract dated 12 May 1989;
– All parties shall co-operate to enable due to compliance of terms 1 and 2 of these orders and to ensure that the environment, the integrity of the mine and the rights and interests of the landowners are not compromised;
– Unless the parties have arrived at an agreement to fully resolve this matter, they shall return with a draft consent order to appoint a National Court accredited mediator to facilitate an independent discussion/negotiation between the parties;
– The parties shall return on the 8th of May 2020 at 10 a.m.;
– All persons either connected or not connected, having a personal interest or not, are forthwith restrained from commenting about this matter including on Facebook, Whatsapp and all social media platforms, that might affect potential witnesses, until the conclusion of this matter, except only for members of the media who may report fairly on what transpired in court.

PNG Air says despite the travel restrictions during the state of emergency, the airline is back in business.
In a statement, it said that it was operating on a limited schedule with around 160 domestic flights per week, compared to more than 460 before the COVID-19.

Business houses raise concerns on economy

Newcrest welcomes PM’s call on Wafi-Golpu mine poroject

Court orders State and Barrick to talk

Grant support program from NBPOL to benefit five provincial health authorities
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