We know that the environmental permits for Solwara 1 have been issued by the Department of Environment and Conservation in Papua New Guinea – how is that new information to Prime Minister O’Neill? According to his statements in his interview with Radio Australia there is nothing the PNG Government can/will do to prevent the mine going ahead if Nautilus raises the capital elsewhere.
3 December 2012
Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, has told resource industry investors to do more to spread the benefits of mining and energy developments to Papua New Guineans, including involving PNG businesses and offering PNG-only fly-in fly-out work arrangements.
Mr O’Neill was speaking to more than 1300 delegates attending the PNG Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference in Sydney.
Jemima Garrett was there for Pacific Beat.
Presenter: Jemima Garrett
Speaker: Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill
GARRETT: Mr O’Neill’s speech outlining his vision for the mining and energy industries was a confident performance.
He told his audience he is delivering high economic growth, government stability, a concerted campaign against corruption and big new spending on infrastructure and social services.
With increasing competition in Asia and record investment resource investment due to slow in 2013 he said would not shy away from the challenges ahead.
Mr O’Neill said is acting to cut the cost of doing business and to boost productivity and he foreshadowed the possibility of establishing a new Productivity Commission.
But it was on the involvement of Papua New Guineans that Mr O’Neill had most to say.
The PNG Prime Minister wants to see gas projects focussing on local needs.
O’NEILL: We need projects totally focused on our domestic gas and energy needs, including gas capable of driving our rural and regional energy requirements and meeting the energy needs of the new projects that are now about to be developed.
GARRETT: Mr O’Neill said his government is willing to speed up the approval process for projects but that move comes with a challenge to include Papua New Guinean businesses.
O’NEILL: The challenge I want to issue you today to our investors and those who are thinking of investing in our country is to look on taking on board Papua New Guinean investors and partners from the outset. We as a rapidly growing number of companies and individuals who have been very successful in their business lives. We are very successful contractors, transport operators, engineers and other professionals who can get access to funds that can be used to directly participate in the next phase of our resource sector development.
GARRETTl The PNG Prime Minister wants workers from across the country to get more access to jobs.
O’NEILL: Successive governments have been reasonable, but, if not to generous when it comes to Fly In Fly Out arrangements for our major resource sectors.
What I want to encourage is a review of these arrangements. We are prepared to look at incentives to encourage companies to have their Fly In Fly Out schemes operate only in Papua New Guinea.
GARRETT: Mr O’Neill hopes to spread the wealth generated from resources to other industries.
O’NEILL: Papua New Guinea has got a huge potential for tourism industry, that means we must do better resorts and facilities. We want the resource sector to partner us in making sure that we build these facilities.
GARRETT: The PNG Prime Minister moved to reassure the industry that his government will consult investors about the upcoming review of resources industry taxation.
Even more sensitive is the push for landowners to directly own mineral resources.
Mr O’Neill said his government’s policy is based on fair and equitable sharing of the benefits of resource development.
He acknowledged landowner concerns.
To industry he gave this commitment.
O’NEILL: The undertaking I give you today is simply there will be no drastic or radical change to laws that exist today and there will be no immediate change. We will set up an independent panel to review the concerns that have been already expressed and the resource sector will be fully consulted in this process. We must get the balance right and we will only get it right through consultation and negotiation.
GARRETT: As the Papua New Guniea Prime Minister set out the direction he wants to take his nation’s resource industry he was aware of the extent of new interest.
In the past few years PNG has seen a rush of new entrants.
Here at this year’s PNG Mining and Petroleum Investment conference there is not only another record attendance but more investors than ever before from Asia.