10 Nov 2003

PNG confident of Chinese partnership in Ramu nickel project

4:18 pm on 10 November 2003

The Papua New Guinea government is confident that a Chinese state-owned business may become a partner in the 780 million US dollar Ramu nickel-cobalt venture.

The Petroleum Minister, Sir Moi Avei, says a Chinese delegation from the China Metallurgical Construction Corporation is in the country to look at investing in the project.

He says the group have visited the project in Madang province and are carrying out a feasibility study before putting together a proposal.

Sir Moi says he recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the corporation and their rapid response would indicate serious interest in the venture.

"Well the fact that they responded quickly after the signing of the MOU seems to suggest that they have a high interest in this commercial project."

Sir Moi says the Government also hopes to interest the Chinese in developing the country's vast untapped gas reserves following lengthy delays in plans to pipe gas to Australia.

China, as one of the world's fastest growing economies, has a huge appetite for minerals, oil and gas.