Papua New Guinea has a rich endowment of mineral resources, including gold, copper, and nickel, which has attracted significant investment in the mining sector over the past few decades. The mining industry has played a significant role in the country's economy, with mining accounting for around 20% of GDP and over 80% of export earnings.
The mining boom in PNG began in the 1980s, with the development of the Porgera gold mine by Placer Dome (now Barrick Gold Corporation). This was followed by the Ok Tedi copper-gold mine, which began production in 1984. The development of these mines sparked a wave of exploration and investment in the country, with many other projects being developed in subsequent years.
However, the mining boom in PNG has not been without its challenges. There have been a number of environmental and social issues associated with mining activities, including the displacement of local communities, pollution of waterways, and conflicts over land and resources. There have also been concerns around the distribution of benefits from mining, with many communities feeling that they have not received their fair share of the profits.
Despite these challenges, the mining industry remains a key driver of economic growth in PNG, and the government continues to support investment in the sector. The country has significant untapped mineral resources, and there are many opportunities for further exploration and development in the years to come.