Mining Minister Johnson Tuke is seeking the establishment of an independent audit on all PNG gold shipments and offshore facilities where they are refined.
This has never directly been done and Mr Tuke said “neither the Bank of PNG nor Treasury Department has the technical capacity and instruments to authenticate such data provided by the industry.”
“This regards gold only and excludes other precious metals,” he said.
However, he will not be arbitrary about it and wishes to open up dialogue with all players in the mining industry.
The matter is one of two discussion papers the minister is initiating including the possible formalising of the small-scale alluvial mining sector to capture tax credits.
Mr Tuke said the discussion paper must be seen by all stakeholders as having elements of transparency and good governance in the provision of credible reports by mining companies.
Mr Tuke said the audit concept might be a disincentive but he prefers it “be seen to compliment or forms part of the transparency initiative currently supported by the mining industry and the PNGEITI Secretariat at Treasury.”
“This can be included as part of EITI structure, or to a certain extent, seen to compliment PNG EITI processes.
“The two discussion papers will be open to wider industry stakeholder consultations and I will stand to appreciate any pros and cons prior to any recommendation to the National Government,” he said.
Mr Tuke said the idea of these discussion papers came about after learning the industry has been challenged in the last ten years with fewer investors coming into the country with existing exploration tenements gone into recession.
He said this was largely due to the downturn in global metal prices.
“I would like to see investors and new players coming into the country and I’m sure our existing regulatory and policy framework provides the incentives which are economically sound and conducive,” he said.
He expressed optimism on the Wafi-Golpu and Frieda River proposed mine developments which he wants to see come on stream now.