Caution urged before Sepik industrial project in PNG proceeds

6:28 am on 17 January 2017

There's been a warning that land issues need addressing before a major industrial project can take place in Papua New Guinea's West Sepik province.

PNG's government has signed an agreement with Chinese investors to build two industrial parks in West Sepik - one to process local products such as timber, the other to process Chinese-sourced industrial products.

The investors said $US4billion would be spent on the project which, according to West Sepik Governor Amkat Mai, could create 30,000 jobs.

However the former governor, Simon Solo, said various questions of land ownership in West Sepik needed to be resolved first.

"It's a good plan, but the timing is not right now, because the people might use it as a political gimmick or political propaganda just to support him to retain his seat," said Mr Solo.

"We need to sort the land issues out before the actual implementing (of the project) can take place."

Export of round logs is the main economic activity in West Sepik, but the profits largely go abroad.

Export of round logs is the main economic activity in West Sepik Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades