Ranging from the push from the Australian company Mayur Resources to start a coal industry in PNG to the news that UN rapporteurs have called into question the safety of the proposed Frieda river mine - several recent developments connect Papua New Guinea, extraction and Australian interests. At their heart they are all connected by a single thread: the on-going debate in PNG about whether large-scale extractive projects can improve Papua New Guineans lives. Our research shows that this is not possible and that PNG needs to put people at the centre of its policies.
Our report ‘From Extraction to Inclusion’ co-published with ACT NOW! PNG and The Oakland Institute analyses PNG’s economic and development performance since its independence in 1975. The main finding is that the PNG economy has relied on the large-scale extraction of abundant minerals and other natural resources, under the illusion it will improve the lives of its citizens. Yet, on most indicators, PNG is faring worse than its Pacific neighbours and any progress that has been achieved does not reflect the huge value of the resources extracted.
An extractive-based development path has failed to improve peoples’ lives for many reasons
FOREIGN COMPANIES BANK PROFIT OVERSEAS
The extractive industries tend to operate as enclaves with little connection to the rest of the economy. Foreign companies have externalised their enormous social and environmental costs while banking most of the profits offshore.
THE COMPANIES CONTRIBUTE LITTLE TO GOVERNMENT REVENUES
The companies contribute relatively little to government revenues. In 2018, 6.5% of the sales from the mining and petroleum sector went to government.
THE HEALTH AND EDUCATION SECTORS HAVE SUFFERED
The growth of these sectors has been accompanied by poor governance, theft of public money, and corruption, which all take much needed funding away from health and education services.
“From Extraction to Inclusion details the important policy shifts that the government needs to make to put people back at the centre of its economic and social development policies. These should start with a halt to the current attacks on customary land tenure, which is the basis of the village economy and the livelihood of most of the population”
- EDDIE TANAGO, CAMPAIGN MANAGER, ACT NOW! PNG.