China and PNG sign deal for giant industrial park

11:10 am on 14 December 2016
Logs in West Sepik ready for export to Asia.

Logs in West Sepik ready for export to Asia. Photo: Johnny Blades RNZI

China has agreed to spend nearly $US4 billion to build a giant industrial park in Papua New Guinea.

PNG's Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch said investors from Shenzhen had signed a memorandum of understanding to build a series of processing and manufacturing plants at two industrial parks in West Sepik province.

The plans involve large-scale processing of timber products, fisheries, cassava and tropical spices at one park.

An adjacent park will tailor to Shenzhen-based companies that want to produce steel, cement and other industrial products.

The projects are to be developed in phases at a final cost of $US3.8 billion.

A spokesman for the treasurer says the government hoped to see construction starting next year, but the plans at this stage were "very long term."

Metallurgical Corporation of China, which built a $US2 billion nickel mine in Papua New Guinea in 2012, is expected to be the main construction contractor.

The spokesman said the projects were a part of China's "One Belt, One Road" policy, even though the initiative is aimed at connecting Asia to Europe and Africa via a 21st century version of the ancient Silk Road east-west trade route that didn't include the South Pacific.

Another agreement between Papua New Guinea and business interests from Fujian Province, which is also looking at major investments, including the idea of starting a "furniture city" in the country, is close to being signed, the spokesman added.