National Planning and Monitoring Minister, Richard Maru, announced this during a visit to the plantation on the second day of the fact-finding mission to Sandaun.
The oil palm project and oil mill are expected to become a major revenue earner for Sandaun.
Minister Maru and his delegation travelled to Bewani to see firsthand the development of the plantation as well as the oil mill.
The first stop was the Sumomini Nursery where BOPPL Plantation Manager, Shuko Yussof, said more than 12,000 (12,790) hectares of palm oil have already been planted and around half are currently being harvested.
“6,000 hectares is already bearing fruit,” said Yussof.
“Currently we have around 200,000 to 300,000 seedlings in all estates. We are targeting 20,000 hectares to be planted sometime in 2019 or 2020.”
The BOPPL oil mill is currently undergoing tests before it is commissioned.
Mill manager, Clement Francis, said the mill has begun processing harvested oil palm fruits.
He however said once processed, they would need substantial land area and storage facilities at the wharf for export.
“Approximately 10 hectares around the main wharf will be required to put up our storage tanks, facilities to keep them warm, a boiler house, and that’s what we need,” Francis stated.
“Currently we are having difficulty getting a piece of land so we need assistance from the Government.”
Minister Maru said the Government has allocated K15 million under the budget towards that cause and designs for the wharf will be tendered soon.
The development of road networks will also be looked into.
“Our government has appropriated K15 million in the budget for 2018. Transport Department should by next week or the following week have a tender for the company that will do the feasibility study and design the new wharf in Vanimo,” said Maru.
“Our Government is absolutely committed in building a new wharf in Vanimo.
“We are hoping the designs will be done this year, incorporating your requirements, the requirements of other users, the requirements of the Frieda River Mine, and all the other users.”
The project was initiated by Bewani Palm Oil Development Limited in partnership with landowner companies of Ossima Yalamaki Limited, Momu Holdings Limited, Bulaulai Limited and Palms 21 Limited.
There are four main estates at Bewani, Imbio, Sumomini and Ossima.
Minister Maru has announced that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill will officially commission the BOPPL oil mill.