PNG mining meet "showcases destruction "
The Pacific Network on Globalisation says the Papua New Guinea Petroleum Conference in Sydney this week is encouraging investment in destruction.
The NGO, Pacific Network on Globalisation, says this week's Papua New Guinea Petroleum Conference in Sydney is encouraging investment in destruction.
About 1,400 delegates, including investors, analysts and government leaders, have met to discuss prospects, exploration and future mining projects in PNG.
Mary Baines reports.
PNG's Chamber of Mines and Petroleum executive director, Greg Anderson, says after a decade of strong growth, the industry is facing pressure because of a downturn in commodity prices. He says despite this, there has been a strong interest in future projects, including that of Canadian company Nautilus, which plans to extract minerals from the seabed off New Ireland. And he says it is likely new mining projects will come out of the conference.
GREG ANDERSON: We have some wonderful new projects that have been advanced considerably, and the prospects that have been advanced in recent years, we will see those go forward. At a slower rate perhaps in the coming years, but they will definitely be moving forward. Two of our best mining prospects are going forward and we hope that they will catch the next cycle in the turnup of copper gold price.
The Pacific Network of Globalisation coordinator, Maureen Penjueli, says the conference is showcasing opportunities for destructive investment, and highlighting PNG's status as the first country to try seabed mining.
She says the community is against mining plans, as she says it destroys ecosystems, land and culture.
MAUREEN PENJUELI: There has been increasing vocal opposition by not just customary land owners, non-government groups, churches have taken a significant role, and also environmentalists and scientists. One of the things that we are concerned about is that government has gone ahead to issue both exploration licences and commercial licences without the consent of customary land owners.
Ms Penjueli says past mining projects have not translated into real benefit for the people.
MAUREEN PENJUELI: A country that has been so heavily dependent on extraction of minerals, PNG has very poor services in terms of basic health, education, water services. So you can see there is a direct correlation between revenue and from mineral projects, and the fact that it doesn't trickle down all the ways to community.
But Greg Anderson says mining projects are largely supported by communities, and are not done without consent.
GREG ANDERSON: Anyone who knows the business in PNG knows that nothing goes ahead without the support of the community. There's more community involvement, there's more grassroots involvement in Papua New Guinea than probably any other country on the globe. At the event you'll see that all community groups are present.
Mr Anderson says the industry is aware there have been challenges in bringing benefits directly to host communities. He says Nautilus will provide benefits to local communities and the government.
GREG ANDERSON: They will provide the normal streams to ther national government. There is already an agreement for the project that provides royalty benefits to adjacent provinces as well as the stream going to some of the coastal people, and community projects will be implemented. We are aware of the challenges in bringing benefits directly to our host communities.
Mr Anderson says the industry is looking forward to developments over the next few years.
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