By Delly Waigeno – EM TV News, Port Moresby
On the third and final day of the 2015 PNG Mining and Petroleum Conference, Minister for Mining, Byron Chan, highlighted recent changes made to the Mining Act and the development of six new mining policies.
Chan said the changes address issues of governance, compliance, best practice and sustainability.
The Minister said the changes capture the local content aspirations of the O’Neill-Dion government.
The morning session of the conference focused on the government’s initiatives in the mineral sector.
Chan said the focus of the reviews to the mining legislation and the development of the six new policies address the sensitive issues of resource ownership and national content, which has been missing for a long time.
“As you are all aware, the mining sector has been the single largest export revenue earner for PNG for many years since Panguna since 1967,” Chan said.
After wide consultation, PNG has now legislated for quarrying operations, where in the past the State has lost out on so much revenue. People will now be required to get a licence before any quarrying operations are undertaken.
Another important review on ownership of minerals will now include those minerals extracted from deep-sea mining.
“The law maintains that ownership of minerals remains with the Independent State of Papua New Guinea for the collective benefit of all its people. But we have expanded this to include the new frontier with deep sea mining,” said Chan.
Reviews have also been done on the requirements at each stage of a mining project; from exploration phase, mining lease application, construction, production and even the closure phase.
Minister Chan said a mine closure is expected to address issues of rehabilitation and reclamation.
“The biggest focus in this whole review exercise is sustainability. We must ensure the footprint left behind by a mine development brings about tangible benefits that are sustainable after mine closure.”
Chan said the changes and the restructure can enable Papua New Guineans to maximise the benefits derived from the exploitation of the country’s minerals.