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Exploration bailout

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    NEW Fiscal incentives will be introduced under the 2003 budget to bail out Papua New Guinea’s almost nil-minerals exploration activities.
    A special inter-departmental working committee headed by mining experts is already fully involved in finalising details of the new incentives.
    This major breakthrough for the struggling mineral exploration sector was announced in Madang on Sunday night by Mining Minister Sam Akoitai.
    Mr Akoitai was guest of honour and opened the 2002 Mining and the Community II conference.
    The conference is being attended by 200 delegates including international guests speakers, NGOs, government departments, resource project landowners and key project executives.
    Minister Akoitai’s announcement brought a sigh of relief to both the mining and petroleum sectors.
    The sectors have being struggling to attract new exploration dollars over the last 10 years amidst almost non existent incentives following what was once a flourishing activity.
    This is due to the fact that exploration activities over the last decade have dramatically dropped from a high K200 million a year to a meagre K50 million.
    “It is my aim to make PNG once again a competitive, attractive and stable environment for all investors,” Mr Akoitai said. “I realise mining is a risky and capital intensive business.
    “I intend to continue the present dialogue with appropriate colleague ministers to deal with deterrents to foreign investments relating to uncertainty in the local environment and the fiscal regime.
    “I am pleased to announce that the Minister for Finance and Treasury has given me support to review the present fiscal regime and we have tasked an inter departmental committee headed by the Department of Mining.”
    “The committee is to review and recommend special fiscal incentives for encouraging mineral exploration in PNG and to have these incentives included in the 2003 budget to be handed down in the November session of Parliament.”
    Mr Akoitai also reiterated PNG’s enormous geological prospectivity. He said the paramount concern was to examine ways to redress the present low mineral exploration activity.
    Additionally, he said the effort was also to address the current low investor perception of PNG to that of a stable and a safe place for investment.
    “I look forward to your contributions so that we can work together to find meaningful and practical ways to deal with the problems we face today,” Mr Akoitai said.

 
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