By Frank Rai
Preparations are well underway to construct a $US65 million world class state-of-the-art gold and precious metals refinery plant in Lae city to complement the mining boom in the country.
The project will include the National Government, Morobe provincial government, Wampar Local Level Government (LLG) in Huon Gulf district and landowners from the area. The proposed plant will have the refining capacity to process 350 kilograms of gold on a daily basis and 90 tonnes annually with an estimated US$2 billion of gold ore exported annually.
This will be one of the third plant, which was earmarked for the United Arab Emirates but was never added to the production unit while the other two were commissioned in Dubai.
InvesGold Limited, an American multi-national company in the gold refinery business, has joined hands with Papua New Guineans to establish the refinery in Lae, Morobe Province. And the Morobe provincial government has hopped on the bandwagon to ensure that the project starts without delay for the betterment of the people and the country.
InvesGold Director Morea Konia Mai told the Post-Courier yesterday that InvesGold was prepared to establish the world class state-of-the-art gold and precious metals refinery once all the necessary documentations were in place.
He said a portion of land has been identified at Nazab in the Wampar LLG where the refinery plant would be constructed.
Mr Konia Mai said unconfirmed records have indicated that PNG has been exporting unrefined gold, which has limited the Government’s control on taxes.
He said the project would boost the country’s reserve by producing its own gold bullion and will help the Government to control gold exports. Mr Konia said normally, a facility of that size required a minimum of 18 to 12 months but it was amazing that the project would be completed within a short period of time.
He said since PNG did not have any refineries in the country to produce gold to the international standards for purity, InvesGold would spearhead the project to ensure international standards
Meanwhile, Commerce and Industry Chairman of Morobe province James Khay, welcomed the investment and said the project would boost the economy and create employment opportunities.