- 11 cases of the Delta variant have now been reported in Papua New Guinea.
- There are 94 known active cases of COVID from a cumulative total of 17,832 known cases. There have been 192 known COVID-related deaths. These numbers are likely to be substantially lower than what is occurring on the ground due to limited testing and other factors.
- Approximately 94 people have received at least one dose of vaccine and over 25,000 have received their second dose.
- PNG has signed a Deed of Agreement with Australian producer of iron ore, Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) that will enable FMG to explore and develop renewable energy sources, such as hydro, solar, wind and geothermal power. Gulf and West New Britain provinces have been eyed by FMG for hydropower and geothermal investigation respectively. PM Marape noted that the partnership will promote green energy and invited Dr Forrest to join him at the UN conference on climate change, COP26 later in the year to advocate on green energy. The signing should pave the way for FMG to start obtaining the relevant licenses to start work. [More]
- The Mineral Resource Authority (MRA) has said that PGK 17 billion (NZD 7 billion) in export revenue was delivered in 2019 from the mining sector, making it the highest export revenue by commodity. And they are currently looking at potential new capital investments for new projects valuing PGK 45 billion (NZD 18.75 billion): Frieda River (copper-gold); Wafi Golpu (cooper-gold); Woodlark (gold); geothermal; and others. [More]
- Oil Search has recommended to shareholders they accept an offer from Santos for merger, which will create a USD 16 billion entity, whose major asset will be the PNG LNG If it occurs, the merger is expected to ease negotiations on that project, (since the merged entity would become the largest shareholder, taking over ExxonMobil and create a deeper pool of cash for investments, reducing reliance on equity and debt investors who are increasingly worried about the climate crisis. [More]
- The Pasca A project is expected to go into the Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) stage in the third quarter of this year, with the Final Investment Decision (FID) in the fourth quarter of next year, and first production in the third quarter of 2025, with a project lifespan of 12 years. [More]
Bougainville economic summit
- The Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) has been talking for a long time about holding an economic summit, and the supplementary budget agreed last week includes funding for it. Economic development is a major focus of the ABG’s on being “independence ready”. They are seeking international investors in such sectors as agriculture and tourism.
Ease of Doing Business
- An assessment of the impacts of the Coral Sea Cable system, launched in 2019, on mobile internet pricing in Papua New Guinea has found there has been no perceptible effect on pricing so far, whether Digicel, bmobile or Telikom. The regulator continues to negotiate with the sector. [More]
- The High Commission is following up on a request from a New Zealand company for support regarding bills unpaid by a public body. Such issues have arisen in relation to national government departments as well as provincial governments. We wish to remind New Zealand companies that, although we are prepared to try to address these situations, we assess it is unlikely to be successful at this time while government revenue is affected by the economic impacts of the pandemic, and by the renegotiation of benefits sharing from resources projects.
Dr Nathan Ross, Deputy High Commissioner,
New Zealand High Commission Papua New Guinea