Against a backdrop of a tough economic climate, there is still optimism that the extractive resource sector can provide opportunities for development.
Whilst traditionally much of the focus within the mining sector has been on big players in the industry, smaller operators, contractors and alluvial miners continue to add value to communities where they operate.
As the PNG Mining & Petroleum concluded its proceedings this afternoon, the annual gathering of stakeholders within the extractive industry sector now also looks forward to challenges that lay ahead in 2020.
Against a backdrop of a difficult economic environment over the better part of the last five years, the slowdown has also provided an opportunity for businesses to restrategize for opportunities in the near future.
For contractor, Nacap PNG Ltd, the perceived downturn has provided an opportunity to prepare for major projects that may come online in the next few years.
“It’s really given us an opportunity to grow .. it has been a challenging year, but where there’s challenges there’s opportunity and we’ve taken that opportunity, we’ve increased our presence here in PNG, employed a lot more staff, we’ve invested in the time and training and development so that when these resource projects potentially come on stream we are ready for them” says Angus McTavish – Nacap PNG Operations Director
For the alluvial mining sector, the MRA run Small Scale Mining Training College has also used the opportunity to roll-out SME training for small-scale miners who are keen on improving their operations.
Sydor Utaeo a Small Scale Mining Manager says “so far we have been close to 400 miners have actually registered with the superfund, most of the time they don’t invest money in the bqank, they just get it and spend it in one way traffic”
K-9-2 Mine in Eastern Highlands province is regarded as a small operator in PNG.
But by no means is this company looking to downsize – on the contrary, the current economic conditions, coupled with its low-cost production have allowed for K-9-2 to increase revenue, and remains competitive within the local mining sector.
This was also made mention of by K92 Mining CEO, John Lewis
“Our aim is to be the most profitable mine in PNG. Profitable then means of course we’re paying tax, and I think one of the things the country needs clearly, the budget needs is profitable operations that are contributing to government revenue”
Whilst 2019 has been challenging, the Mineral Resource Authority – the country’s mining regulator is hopeful of increased activity in the coming year, especially with decisions on two major projects expected.
MRA Managing Director Jerry Gerry is looking forward to projects officially getting off the ground.
“ In quarter one we will focus more on permitting those major projects Freida (mine) will take a little bit of time but the priority is to get Porgera (mine) permitted and secondly the Wafi-Golpu (mine) when it comes off the courts”
By Meriba Tulo, EMTV News, Port Moresby