Wafi-Golpu project needs infrastructure

Infrastructure challenges continue to be major concerns for resource companies investing in PNG.

Bryan Bailie, executive project director of the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture, recently told the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Conference in Sydney that PNG presents infrastructural challenges.

He said many of the existing infrastructure needed serious upgrading.

“PNG presents a challenging environment in the design and operation of terrestrial tailings storage facilities, primarily due to mountainous terrain, the high rainfall, poor conditions for containment bores, and limited availability of land due to topography, the environment and social heritage concerns.

“Much of the existing Lae infrastructure, particularly hospitals, educational facilities housing, roads etc. will have to be substantially upgraded to support a long duration mine,” said Bailie.

He added that the Lae airport needed an upgrade to international standard as well as improvements in the marine port facilities for the shipping of concentrate.

Also, new access roads from the Highlands Highway to the mine site boundary are crucial.

Bailie said electricity is also another factor with a reliable low cost bulk power supply with a stable low outage and an electricity transmission system.

Developers of the Frieda River Mine Project, PanAust, also shared similar sentiments at the conference, saying the lack of infrastructure in and surrounding their project area would create a huge capital burden on them.

Cedric Patjole