New explosives facility in Papa

Orica, the world’s largest provider of commercial explosives and innovative blasting systems, has opened a first of its kind explosives production facility outside of Port Moresby.

Officially called the ‘Orica Konekaru Site,’ the facility is located in Papa, Central Province, and is a few hundred metres from the Papa-Lealea Road and opposite the PNG LNG Plant Site.

The opening of the site follows from an agreement signed between landowners and Orica five years ago.

Chairman of Konekaru Holdings Limited, Morea Geita, said he was happy with the outcome of the agreement, as it will put Konekaru on the world map.

The Iaro Gaha clansmen said the investment by Orica will be used to their advantage, for the betterment of his people.

“We are very happy to se that our land has been used to process something up to international standard and then sent away that will make us proud, because Konekaru is a land in PNG and through the exportation of this product, Konekaru will be on the world map,” he said.

“We look forward to expanding our business, and we would like to divert our business interest in other areas so that we can continue to grow because Orica has set the foundation for us.”

The opening coincided with the commissioning of the site’s AMEX production plant. AMEX is a trade marked and renowned explosive product suitable for use in dry and as a column charge in mining or quarrying, and for general blasting work.

Orica area business manager for Queensland, Pacific & PNG, James Kirkpatrick, said the AMEX plant will safely deliver finished products for local consumption in PNG.

“What this will actually mean is you won’t have stray explosives being imported into the country and distributed around the country as ammonium nitrate. There’s no need to do that anymore because you can get the finished product bagged, it’s also tagged with batch numbers and the manufacturing,” Kirkpatrick said.

He says the site has been established in accordance with the country’s safety and security requirements. This is by securing the site and establishing it far from communities and locals so they are not affected.

Already, 42 locals are employed by the company and the Konekaru Site is expected to provide many jobs in the future.

Orica has so far invested K2.3 million ($A1 million) in the site and will continue to finance its development.

The company currently provides explosives for companies such as Ok Tedi Mine.

Cedric Patjole