Papua New Guinea - Country Commercial Guide
Minerals and Energy
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PNG has enormous mineral and gas reserves.  The government relies on its natural resources for revenue and export earnings.  Mineral exports from PNG include gold, copper, silver, nickel, and cobalt.  The largest mines in the country include Ok Tedi Copper and Gold Mine, Porgera Gold Mine, Lihir Gold Mine, Hidden Valley Gold Mine, Simberi Gold Mine, Tolukuma Gold Mine, and Ramu Nickel Mine.  The mining and quarry sector is projected to grow by 6.9 percent, a downward revision of 16.5 percentage points from a 2023 PNG Budget estimate of 23.4 percent.  This revision is attributed to delays restarting the Porgera mine.  The mine is now projected to reopen in the last quarter of PNG’s 2023 Calendar Year.

The oil and gas sector recorded moderate growth in 2022.  Higher LNG production was offset by lower condensate production.  Both crude oil prices and gas prices have steadily declined from their mid-2022 peak. Despite this trajectory, the price of most of PNG’s exported commodities remained high relative to historical standards, including crude oil and gas, according to the World Bank.

Against the backdrop of commodity price fluctuations, miners need to balance shareholder dividend expectations while maintaining an investment pipeline amid increasing operating costs.  Safety, environmental, and community principles shape the industry as miners look to achieve their license to operate and deliver on corporate social responsibility obligations.  Mining companies in PNG must deal with additional complexities, such as balancing the government’s desire for development, the needs of local communities and local resource owners, and environmental sustainability. 

Despite challenges, the opportunity for large-scale development is significant.  Major projects in various stages of development include the Wafi-Golpu and Frieda-River mines.  The Newmont Lihir Mine and Harmony Gold Mining each own 50 percent of the Wafi-Golpu Project through the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture (WGJV).  The Wafi-Golpu Project is an advanced exploration project located in the Morobe Province, 65 kilometers southwest of Lae.  Wafi-Golpu will be PNG’s first block caving operation and has the potential to make significant long-term economic and social contributions to PNG.  WGJV and the PNG government signed the Wafi-Golpu framework and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in April 2023.  The MOU allows all parties to proceed with the tier-one project, which is now subject to a permitting finalization process and then approval from the developer partners.  The Wafi-Golpu project is anticipated to commence in November 2023.


The Wafi-Golpu Copper and Gold Mine, Porgera Gold Mine, and the development of the P’nyang LNG project provide opportunities for U.S. exports in heavy machinery, trucks, and other mining and energy equipment.  PNG’s principal metal exports – cobalt, nickel, and copper – are all important to the renewable energy and battery storage markets.  There are opportunities for U.S. businesses to tap into the mining and energy industry as these large-scale projects come online.


Trade Events:  The PNG Resources and Energy Investment Conference is an annual event promoting investment in PNG’s resources and energy sector.  The 2023 conference will be December 10-13 in Sydney, Australia, and is expected to draw 1,500 plus attendees.

PNG Agencies/Departments in this sector:

  • PNG Department of Petroleum and Energy
  • PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum
  • Mineral Resources Authority PNG
  • PNG Chamber of Commerce & Industry