Find Mining expertise in Papua New Guinea
The country is richly endowed with mineral and hydrocarbon resources. Since commercial gold mining began in 1989, mining and oil and gas production have made a significant contribution to GDP. Mineral deposits account for more than half the country’s export earnings; the highest contributors in terms of value include oil, copper and gold, though silver and nickel are also being exploited.
The principal copper mine at Ok Tedi in Western Province was developed and operated by an Australian company and then abandoned. The mine was one of the primary producers of copper and gold in the country. Another important mine on the island of Bougainville closed in 1989 at the outbreak of political instability and, after political resolution in Bougainville, rehabilitation needed huge investment. The Porgera gold mine in the Enga Province is regarded as one of the largest in the world. In 2012, Papua New Guinea was the world’s 12th largest producer of gold. Lihir, Ok Tedi and Porgera are the largest industrial gold mines.
There are substantial reserves of nickel and cobalt at Ramu in Madang Province. Nickel and cobalt exports – from the new plant at Ramu – started in November 2012. In 2007 Nautilus Minerals Niugini (Nautilus) became the first company to commercially explore the seafloor for high-grade massive sulphide deposits. The company aims to produce copper, gold and silver.
The mining and petroleum industry is estimated by the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum to employ more than 30,000 permanent workers. Further substantial employment takes place in the sector, although numbers have not been estimated, including those employed on a casual basis and those involved in traditional mining activities. Exploratory mining is a significant provider of jobs across the country, employing large numbers of villagers, albeit often on a temporary basis.
Mining sites and drilling camps also offer added benefits for those in isolated communities nearby, often providing much-needed access medical services.
Stone, gravel and sand are quarried in Papua New Guinea for use as building supplies. Quarrying of clay also takes place in the country for the ceramic and refractory industries.
The Mineral Resources Authority of Papua New Guinea is a government agency established by parliament through the enactment of the Mineral Resources Authority Act 2005. The Authority is responsible for overseeing the extractive minerals sector in the country, and is divided into the following four divisions including a Development Co-ordination Division, which ensures that exploration and mining activities in Papua New Guinea are done in accordance with regulatory and policy framework; and a Geological Survey Division which is responsible for carrying out research to assist with exploratory work in the mineral sector.
Acts of parliament that legislate on extractives include the Mining Act 1992, which regulates the law relating to minerals and mining; and the Mining (Safety) Act and Regulations 2007, which provides for regulation and inspection of mines and works.
Legislation regarding specific mining activities includes the Geothermal Policy 2012, which provides a guiding framework for the exploitation, development, production and use of geothermal energy resources.
Papua New Guinea has been a candidate of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative since 19 March 2014.