Australia no longer dominant source of new investment
19 Dec 2022
President of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, Mr Anthony Smaré during the 16###sup/sup### PNG Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference and Exhibition, acknowledged that Australia remains a vital development partner to PNG, but stated, the country no longer holds the position as dominant investor in PNG.
Mr Smaré presented Australia’s historic relationship with PNG in the mining and petroleum sector, in terms of early exploration and investing.
“Much of the Wau-Bulolo gold rush of the 1920s was funded by Australian capital, and Australian funded explorers and mining companies discovered and/or developed much of our most important projects – for example, Conzinc Rio Tinto found and developed Panguna, Australia’s BHP was the majority partner who developed Ok Tedi in the early 1980s, Australia’s Niugini Gold discovered Misima and Lihir, and Rio Tinto was the majority partner in the development of Lihir in the early 1990s.”
He also stated that while Australia remains one PNG’s most important investors, the resources and energy sector has in the last 15 years seen major investments other economies, such as the US, Canada, France and China through multiple large-to-mega investments.
Australia remains one our most important investors, but the PNG resources and energy sector has in the last 15 years seen major investments from America primarily through Exxon Mobil, Canada through Barrick and K92, France through Total and China through multiple large-to-mega investments. Australia’s significant interests in our sector are represented by Newcrest, the owner of the Lihir gold mine and the developer of the Wafi Golpu Gold Copper project with South Africa’s Harmony Gold, and Santos the largest interest holder in the PNGLNG, supported by smaller companies such as St Barbara, Twinza and GeoPacific. Australian resource and energy companies are important and valued members of our industry family in PNG, but Australia no longer holds that position of dominance as the clear leader in new investment into PNG in a year to year basis.
President Mr Smaré in closing, posing to the Australian audience, the question of what role did they wish for Australia to play in PNG in the future.
“So what role will Australia play in PNG’s development going forward? Will it take up the running to match the US, France and China with their increased investment in PNG, drawing inspiration from Australia’s historical legacy of driving development of PNG’s resources and energy sector by investing in exploration and development of new projects that can power the growth of a country and the social and economic progress of its people, projects in transition minerals, renewable energy and non-resource priority projects identified by the PNG Government?”
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