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PNG flights to boost employment opportunities for Townsville graduates

An air link between Townsville and Papua New Guinea will open new employment opportunities for the city’s tertiary students.

The direct flights will benefit dozens of students across Townsville studying in fields such as engineering and geology.

James Cook University College of Science and Engineering Associate Professor Zhaoshan Chang said there were lots of job opportunities for Townsville students on a fly-in, fly-out basis.

“It will give geologists living in Townsville a much more convenient way to get to PNG,” he said.

“PNG is rich in mineral resources. It has several big active mines with large resources, including the Lihir gold mine, the Porgera gold mine, and the OK Tedi Cu-Au mine.

“There are also many projects that are at advanced stage of exploration, including the Frieda River copper-gold project and the Wafi-Golpu copper-gold project. In addition, there are numerous projects at other stages of exploration.”

The flights are expected to make potential Townsville residents more attractive to FIFO employers who often cover the cost of transport.

Marama Kariko, who is from Papua New Guinea, graduated with a Bachelor of Geology degree from James Cook University last week.

She said she usually flew back to Papua New Guinea four times a year to visit family flying via Brisbane or Cairns.

Kariko said she will now study honours and wants to remain living in Australia even if that means she has to work on a FIFO basis in Papua New Guinea.

“I have been more looking at a research job which would be in a lab in Australia but Papua New Guinea is booming at the moment so I will also be looking for work in the mines over there as well.

“I think it’s great they have opened this flight to Papua New Guinea and it will increase the opportunities in Papua New Guinea for Townsville people.”.


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