The Government of Papua New Guinea has signed a landmark agreement with one of the world's biggest companies to venture into 'green energy' in a partnership that is likely to revolutionise power generation and supply in the near future.
In another bold move to "Take Back PNG", the Government today signed the 'Deed of Agreement' with Australian company Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), the world's fourth largest producer of iron ore.
The instrument was signed by the Minister for State Enterprises Hon. William Duma and Founder/Owner of FMG Dr. Andrew Forrest; and witnessed and co-signed by Prime Minister Hon. James Marape and Fortescue Future Industries CEO Julie Suttleworth.
Prime Minister Marape called the signing "historic" as it paves the way for FMG through its industry company Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) and PNGFFI to explore and later look into developing renewable energy sources that will cover hydro, solar, wind and geothermal power.
He said this was the "most appropriate and relevant way to go" as the world moves toward green energy and tries to cut down its carbon footprint.
PM Marape added his Pangu-led government was keen on generating clean energy utilizing the country's natural resources - solar, wind, gas and geothermal hot springs.
FMG Owner Dr. Forrest is the second richest man in Australia with a net worth of A$27.25billion, according to the Australian Financial Review.
PM Marape thanked Dr. Forrest for his "personal choice" to invest in PNG in this frontier sector, calling him "a friend of PNG closer to home".
Through a virtual video link, Dr. Forrest explained his personal affinity to PNG in that he had lost an uncle in PNG during World War II, one other reason he has chosen to invest in the country.
Already the investor is eyeing sites in Gulf and West New Britian provinces to investigate and study hydropower and geothermal potentials respectively as it continues to explore other sites in PNG, especially geothermal, hydro and solar.
PM Marape said Dr. Forrest had revealed during one of their earlier meetings that his company is able to produce over 25 gigawatts (250 billion watts) of power from PNG in renewable 'green hydrogen and green ammonia' energy - sufficient for both domestic use and export to overseas markets.
The partnership is frontier-breaking and adds great value to the work the Marape Government is doing nationally in managing the country's natural resources better, and in the region and globally in reducing the impact of climate change through more environmentally-conscious projects.
With the recent set up of the National Energy Authority, such projects would be better streamlined and properly operated through the Ministry of Energy, the Prime Minister said.
PM Marape then invited Dr. Forrest to join him to advocate on green energy at the United Nations conference on climate change, COP26, later in the year.
The signing now allows the company to begin work on acquiring relevant licences to progress work.
Minister Duma said a timeframe of no more than three years was being looked at before the first project could be operated.
Today's signing event was spearheaded by the Ministry of State Enterprises and its body, Kumul Consolidated Holdings. It was witnessed by government representatives from relevant departments and state bodies.