All gold produced in the country must be sold to the Bank of Papua New Guinea to be refined into bullion, says Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape.
He said during the launching of the PNG National Gold Bullion Policy in Port Moresby on Friday that the Government would establish a competent domestic gold bullion programme to refine high-grade gold through a national gold refinery to be set up.
“Gold to be processed and refined to 99.99 percent pure gold, we can ensure that our country receives fair compensation for its gold resources and that all gold produced is accounted for,” he said.
In 2019, the mining industry generated a production value of K14.2 billion (US$4 billion), a share of total exports of 40 percent, contributed 17.2 percent of gross domestic product, and created 13,314 employment positions (according to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Report 2019), and was a major source of foreign exchange.
“This policy establishes a streamlined process for the export of gold and will make it easier for legitimate exporters to operate within the law and reduce smuggling and illegal activities,” Marape said.
“This process will also provide greater transparency and accountability in the gold industry, enabling the government to regulate the industry more effectively.”
He said an important aspect of the policy was the establishment of the Gold Reserve Bank which would be responsible for managing the country’s gold reserves.
“This will ensure that our country’s economic growth is sustainable and that we are not reliant on the volatile international gold market.
Marape said in the absence of a dedicated policy to regulate economic activities relative to the downstream processing and manufacturing of gold bullion, PNG had forfeited a significant amount of economic opportunities from tax revenues, job creation and foreign direct investments.
“We cannot continue to allow to continue unabated in our economy.
“All our gold and precious minerals are exported abroad and refined in offshore refineries, even though, we have one or two local refiners who smelt at the alleviate level many of our gold products are being shipped out for refining.
“It is a standard provision in all mining development contracts that one-third of all gold products must be processed and stored domestically, if there is a refinery onshore meeting London Gold Bullion Standards.
“This establishment will provide for the State to build and hold gold reserves, and to eventually enter into gold trading in the world market,” he said.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS