President of the PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum, Gerea Aopi, said mineral explorers are facing tough times.
Mr Aopi expressed concerns over the drastic decline in mineral exploration, especially in the grassroots exploration sector.
“A decline in exploration impacts many rural Papua New Guineans through the loss of direct employment, and a lot of businesses, owners and suppliers who provide goods and services to support these exploration projects.”
He said exploration takes a long time and when its activities are constrained or reduced, it sets off a string of events that can threaten the sustainability of the mining sector.
“We have to seriously ensure that this downward trend does not does not continue while we have little or no control over the global commodity price market”.
Mr Aopi said the commodity price market is cyclical-and it will take some time before any
any major rebound in prices is seen.
Mr Aopi said what the mining and petroleum sector needs is investment-friendly policies.
In the meantime, Prime Minister O’Neill said what is needed from the sector is its continued confidence in PNG’s Economy.