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China's big plans in, but not for, PNG


NAUTILUS MINERALS has confirmed Chinese interests are planning to take a controlling stake in the Solwara 1 undersea mine as China's expansion into PNG continues.

Solwara will be the world's first undersea mining operation and will produce both copper and gold.

The Chinese are also likely to fund the Yandera copper and gold mine in Madang Province. Like the Ramu nickel mine, Yandera will use marine dumping to dispose of mine waste.

China is also looking to expand its manufacturing capacity in PNG on its own terms.

The PNG government is currently negotiating a loan from the Chinese government for China to build the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone which will be the first Special Economic Zone in PNG.

Within the zone Chinese companies will be able to operate tax free and avoid local wage restrictions and health and safety laws.

This will provide an opportunity for the Chinese to process the gold produced from the Solwara and Yandera mines.

China's interests extend to other resource sectors.

Zhoushan Zhenyang Deep-Sea Fishing, a subsidiary of Zhejiang Hailisheng, is building a $20 million tuna processing factory in Lae. Other Chinese companies hold licences to fish in PNG waters.

China is the biggest consumer of unprocessed logs from PNGs rainforests, importing around 80% of PNG’s annual log production.

Australia’s Lowy Institute has pointed out that large-scale resource projects in PNG do not alleviate poverty as most jobs are taken by foreigners, profits sent off-shore and government revenues not spent on regional development.


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