A leading Papua New Guinea geologist says the Ramu Nickel mine has been massively undervalued and is another example of the “broad daylight rape” and exploitation of Papua New Guinea’s resources.
He claims the US$34 billion mine has been sold to the Chinese for just 5% of its true value.
“Sadly, the [PNG] government is continuously under selling multi-billion-dollar resources because it lacks analytical skills” says geologist Jerry Barry in a story by Mohammad Bashir in today’s Post Courier newspaper. This lack of knowledge and skills is further compounded by greed and ignorance says Barry.
Mr Barry calls on the government to “act radically and swiftly in changing the current trends in order to maximise realisation of the natural resources for PNG” he says.
Mr Garry estimates the Ramu Nickel mine is worth $US34 billion and not $US1.7 billion as is commonly reported..
“For brevity, Ramu laterite deposit contains 1.44 million tons of nickel and 0.143 million tons of cobalt … At today’s buoyant prices of 9US$/lb for nickel and 20US$/lb for cobalt, the in-situ value of contained nickel and cobalt in the Ramu project stands at about $US28 billion and $US6 billion, respectively. So the actual value of Ramu nickel cobalt project is $US34 billion or K92 billion at today’s prices”.
Mr Garry, who has worked with many international exploration companies added that the mine will produce in excess of 31,000 tons of nickel and 3300 tons cobalt annually for a period of 20 years (with the potential for up to 30 years).
“The worth of these metals produced annually may exceed $US750 million subject to fluctuating metal prices and production capacity. This is somewhat equivalent to well over K2 billion every year at today’s exchange rate and metal price,” he said.
Mr Garry said sadly, 85 per cent of the ownership of the Ramu mineral resource was sold to MCC, the Chinese state owned enterprise for a mere 5 per cent ($US1.7 billion) of the total value of this mega resource.
“To set the record straight, the present value of Ramu mine is worth about $US34 billion (K92 billion) and not $US1.7 billion (K4.6 billion) at today’s price but unfortunately very little if not none will be reflected in long-term tangible development in PNG”