Must we amend mining laws?

Prime Minister James Marape said in a recent parliament sitting that PNG laws have been personalised to attract investors.

“My reference towards investors meeting us at where our law is, refers to projects coming up for review. In my view, and I stand to be corrected, our laws are tailored to attract investors, and (PNG) is not green field in areas of mining and oil and gas. We produce world class mining projects,” said Marape.

The Prime Minister’s response followed a series of questions raised by Member for Rabaul Dr Allan Marat, with regards to the number of PNG owned companies who specialise in the determining process of minable non-renewable resources.

Dr Marat said: “How many one hundred percent citizen owned companies are there operating in PNG (that) specialise in the determining process of whether there is minable non-renewable resources and sufficient reserves of such non-renewable resources there are underneath the ground surface, or six feet.

“In the view of your answer, must we amend the appropriate laws? How many one hundred percent citizen owned companies are there in PNG, specialized in the initial physical profiling or putting together and putting up the bits and pieces of physical infrastructure frameworks of a mine before extraction of non-renewable begin?”

He also asked: “In terms of reviewing the laws governing the extraction of non-renewable, are we not a sovereign nation to amend our own extractive laws for greater benefit of the struggling majority?”

The Prime Minister admitted that the government statistics did not have the clearest of data to how many 100 percent PNG owned companies were participating in these highly specialized technical areas.

“But we can’t give excuse for not having capacity,” he said.

“We have enough mines in our country since Bougainville Copper, then Porgera, Ok Tedi, Lihir, Ramu and so forth. We will bring back to parliament the information on PNG companies in this sector, and also on PNG companies involved in data and profiling of assets.”

Marape stressed that PNG’s economy must be healthy and friendly for both its people and investors.

“If PNG was to amend its extractive industry laws, they must be tailored in a way that it does not defer from the intentions of its Constitutions, nor chase away investors.”

Salome Vincent