PM Marape says his government is not split on the proposed National Gold Corporation Bill

Wednesday, 15 May 2024, 4:55 pm

Prime Minister James Marape (RNZ)

Prime Minister James Marape is adamant he has the full backing of his government regarding the proposed law to regulate gold mining in the country.

"The government is not split on the need to process gold in Papua New Guinea just like other resources like agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and petroleum," Mr Marape said, following reports of stiff division within the government regarding the National Gold Corporation [NGC] Bill.

"However, due to conflicting views on the present bill on parliament notice, the government feels that those views need to be heard. Hence, we have public consultations coming up [to be held today in Port Moresby], so we can ascertain from the public and concerned stakeholders what exactly are their areas of concern.

The prime minister is committed to his government's push to gain more from the nation’s resource sectors, “we will not divert from our goal to downstream process all our natural resources to export finished products so we can value add, create for jobs and account for resources produced.

"I will be participating in the public consultation hosted by the Mining Minister to indicate to all that it is a key priority, but we will do it with no intention to harm the gold business at present in PNG but to add value to the business," Mr Marape said.

The longest legislation ever to go before Parliament needs nationwide consultation: PNG Chamber of Resources and Energy

Anthony Smare, President of PNG Chamber of Resources and Energy (NBC News)

But PNG Chamber of Resources and Energy [PNG CORE] President Anthony Smaré has called for the state to conduct a 6-month extensive consultation nationally with all impacted stakeholders on the NGC Bill given its extremely negative consequences.

"The NGC Bill is extremely complex with 966 clauses and is the longest legislation the PNG Parliament has ever attempted to pass. It impacts over 26 important existing laws as it vests control of PNG’s monetary policy, gold industry, and banking industry in the hands of a foreign-controlled entity with limited capacity, capability, or resources in any of the sectors it impacts.

"To date, there has been a lack of detailed public statements explaining the benefits of each clause of the NGC Bill to Papua New Guineans. This has made it extremely challenging for stakeholders to provide informed feedback. Even the Department of Mineral Policy does not intend in its proposed consultation on 15 May 2024 to provide any significant presentation on the NGC Bill and their proposed four-hour consultation is woefully inadequate,” Mr Smaré said.