By Sam Jay Kaupa
There is a question that people need to ask. Why can’t the Central Bank of PNG buy gold to curb smuggling and also build the reserves to stabilise the plummeting Kina?
The mining sector accounts for about 9% of the GDP and the overall resources sector contributes about 26% of the GDP. This will continue to rise with the current demand for cobalt which as a by- product of the mix hydroxide precipitate from the Ramu Nickel.
Copper is on the rebound with nickel and so is gold which is now hovering above $US1,300/oz. Gold price will continue to go up according to analysts and from graphical representations from Kitco (where I get most of my data from)
Currently gold is stolen on a massive scale in PNG Mines. Gold production from mines are under reported. This is a massive scam. For example – 20 million ounces were mined from the giant Porgera Gold Mine and bullions shipped off-shore by helicopter to Mt Hagen and by private jet to Perth almost every few days over the last two and a half decades.
Who from the IRC, Customs, Treasury or the MRA checks the exact amount of gold that is shipped out?
NO ONE – I MEAN NO ONE.
The MRA gets a little piece of paper called Form 25 where minerals exported are recorded from the Registered Mine Manager (who are all expats for the big mines)
That information is not enough. It is criminal to accept as gospel unverifiable sales records especially for gold shipments.
Then the Treasury department relies of this MRA record of sales to project future revenues and plug that into the budget. The same info is shared with the BoPNG and other agencies.
For God’s heavenly grace – why can’t we have some of these fat lazy public servants at point of exits like the helipad in Porgera to physically weigh, record and sign off on all gold shipments? Guess we caught the late bus. Tough luck now. 20 million ounces out the back door.
The other mines like Lihir and Ramu Nickel are doing the same thing. The PNG government does not have people on the ground like what I used to see everywhere in Africa where I used to work. They are everywhere. They are everywhere because that’s where the money comes in from. It’s not rocket science. You don’t collect revenue for the government by sitting in air conditioned offices and pray for God’s interventions? Get your fat bums out and get your smooth fingers dirty.
So the bottom line is gold is stolen everywhere. It’s prevalent.
Why on earth does the BoPNG even give licences for companies to export gold?
“Bank of PNG should buy the gold instead and put the money there (in gold) instead of reserving the dollars alone. They should reserve dollars and gold together to stabilise the Kina starting with the artisanal gold market.
As an example the Tanzanian government has a prolonged spat with Barrick fully owned subsidiary Acacia over a $190 billion tax bill for its mining operations in the East African nation. Exactly the same thing they were doing in Porgera until the Government found out and back calculated the tax owed to them. So what I’m saying here is doable if the PNG government is serious in recouping lost revenue.
In 2017, that government passed laws to reform their mining sector that the industry complained would be costly and onerous.
In PNG when such laws are proposed, the industry backed by the PNG Chamber of Mines bitterly contests because they want PNG to continue to become an impoverished nation. And this is strongly supported by PNG government agencies (you know who they are).
But I tell you, one day, one friggin day this will change and the people of PNG will take back their resources and develop it with decent developers so that the benefits will trickle down right to the doorsteps of the people whose faint cries are always ignored by greedy people.
Don’t mess with God’s people. One day they will rise and the stealing will cease.