Rather than rushing to open more new mines, shouldn’t the MRA pause and do a proper study on the full costs, benefits and impacts of existing mines so we can better understand who really profits and whether mining really brings ‘development’?
Does Philip Samar and the MRA care about the interests of Papua New Guinea’s rural people or is it just a facilitator for foreign mining companies?
Papua New Guinea Today
The Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) has assured new developer of Frieda River Copper-Gold Project PanAust and its shareholders, that it is committed and stands ready to work with the company to develop Frieda project in West Sepik Province.
The MRA Managing Director Philip Samar told board directors of PanAust at the Mining Haus on Thursday last week, that MRA on behalf of the government of PNG, had a very clear, transparent and competitive regulatory framework and policies to ensure projects are developed to mutually benefit all stakeholders including the government, companies and landowners.
Mr Samar was responding to questions from the directors on issues such as how the government deals with landowner issues including benefits and royalty distribution, and regulatory processes including issuance of exploration and mining licenses.
The directors were in the country last week on a familiarisation visit of the project. Their visit is understood to symbolise the company’s official entry into the PNG mining industry.
Earlier last week, they met with the project’s landowner communities at the project site.
The group acknowledged the government’s efforts to attend to issues arising from the project and expressed satisfaction on the progress of the project so far.
The Frieda Project ownership is jointly shared by PanAust 80% shareholding, and Highlands Pacific 20%. The PNG government has an option to acquire on sunk cost basis, up to 30% of the project.
Average annual production is projected to be 100, 000 tonnes of Copper and 160, 000 ounces of gold. Project development capital is estimated to cost US1.5 billion to US1.8 billion.