Plans mooted for small scale bullion industry

Feasibility studies will be undertaken to set up a gold bullion industry for the K300 million small scale alluvial gold mining sector.

Mining Minister Johnson Tuke announced that he will be introducing a discussion paper seeking advice from all relevant agencies “if it is feasible to establish a gold bullion industry right here in the country capturing small-scale alluvial mining.”

He said he will need the opinion of the Department of Minerals Policy and Geohazards, Mineral Resources Authority, Treasury Department, Bank of PNG, Kumul Holdings Limited and industry players including alluvial gold buyers and exporters.

Mr Tuke said given the high revenue earnings, the alluvial mining sector needs to be regulated in order to bring exporters into the government tax revenue stream.

“Alluvial miners’ component of mine export revenue is an estimated K300 million per annum and we must devise a plan for more government input into this untapped sector,” Mr Tuke said.

“The K300 million per annum forms part of the base case in setting this specific gold bullion industry and I would like it to happen on commercial terms with government-private business arrangement on a 50-50 pro-rata basis.

“This will not only increase productivity and export revenue in the alluvial sector but to also justify future undertakings for 100 percent downstream processing of gold here.

“We need to link up with the alluvial mining communities and provide necessary assistance to them.

I would like to see alluvial mining being regulated at an export level with a view to bringing alluvial gold exporters in the government tax revenue stream.”

Mr Tuke said the discussion paper on building a gold bullion industry is consistent with the current Government’s focus to grow the economy and must be seen as part of revenue-generating measures for stakeholder consultations and input.

“I must state clearly here that this will not affect established mining operations or companies which I understand are tied down by overseas contractual obligations,” he said.

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