Bulletin 1st Issue 2015

Bulletin 1st Issue 2015

The Mining and Exploration Bulletin is an official publication the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) of Papua New Guinea.

The Bulletin is a bi-annual publication that is intended to give information the performance and development of mineral exploration and mining projects in the country.

It also contains updates on government policies and activities relating to the sector.

The mining industry is cyclical. In 2013/2014/2015 we entered a difficult period following the decline of mineral commodity prices, almost across the board.

This downturn has led to financial constraints across the sector, reducing production and operating pressures at both existing mines and within the exploration space. Ok Tedi has since laid off workers from the mine.

The gold price, still the mainstay of PNG mining, has fallen up to 28% since the most recent peak in this commodity cycle.

The downturn has combined with a fall off in production from Ok Tedi, lower than forecast production at the Lihir, Simberi and Hidden Valley mines and a slower move to full production at the Ramu Nickel and Cobalt mine.

Production from PNG’s existing mines has, according to bank of PNG records, been in decline since 2007 for copper and 2010 for gold. PNG’s potentially significant new mineral prospects have yet to move into a development phase. This remains a concern of the government.

All the key minerals mined in PNG– copper, gold, silver, nickel and cobalt, have therefore been impacted by this current downturn with prices falling in value to varying degrees.

This uncertain environment leads directly to lower export receipts, less tax take, reduced royalties and levy, and reduction in direct expenditure within the PNG economy. The government recognizes the difficult times that now confront us.

The Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) continues to operate diligently to ensure that the industry is sustainable for the people of PNG. PNG has always ranked highly on its international reputation for prospectivity.

PNG’s leading reputation for its traditional porphyry based gold and copper geology is now further embellished by the potential to diversify into other minerals such as coal, mineral sands, molybdenum and geothermal.

Mining may have currently hit the ‘pause’ button, but is merely in readiness for the next move to significant further development.

Several world class prospects already await that next phase. Therefore, despite these cyclical issues and delayed start-ups, the PNG government envisages a bright future for mining with significant growth upside.

The PNG government considers mining diversity, a ‘no surprises’ regulatory regime and targeted application of geoscientific studies the key to provide a monumental boost and broader based mineral footprint.

The government is investing in infrastructure and community development. It is reforming development.

With this will come a steady wealth expansion in PNG over the next 15 years. I am therefore confident that we will not only achieve our target of doubling mineral export receipts by 2030 but will in fact surpass it…

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