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PNG Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sounds Alarm on National Gold Corporation Bill

The Papua New Guinea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PNG Core) is raising red flags over the proposed National Gold Corporation Bill (2022), warning it could cripple the nation's mining sector and overall economy.

PNG Core argues the Bill paves the way for a gold monopoly, favoring a Singaporean company through a government shareholder agreement. The Chamber is particularly concerned about the Bill's potential to bypass the national mint and allow for gold refining and processing outside of Papua New Guinea, while simultaneously prohibiting any competing refineries within the country.

They express deep concern that the Bill could disrupt existing marketing arrangements for major mining operations, jeopardizing their financial stability. Additionally, PNG Core suggests the legislation would discourage future investment, hindering the development of new mining projects.

Small-scale alluvial miners are another potential casualty. PNG Core suggests they'll be forced to accept lower prices for their gold due to the National Mint's control over refined gold exports.

The Chamber questions the rationale behind granting such extensive control over the nation's gold industry to a foreign company.  They argue that a domestic refinery could be built for a modest sum and staffed by graduates of Papua New Guinea's University of Technology, eliminating the need for the National Gold Corporation's broad powers.

PNG Core further suggests the Bill overrides over two dozen existing laws and weakens the authority of crucial institutions like the Bank of PNG, the Mineral Resources Authority, and the Police.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry's stance against the National Gold Corporation Bill is likely to spark further debate and scrutiny as the legislation progresses.

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