Prime Minister Hon. James Marape expressed his satisfaction today at the signing of a groundbreaking agreement between Chinese company Ramu Nico Management Ltd and Kumul Minerals Holdings Ltd. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signifies a significant step forward in fostering mutual trust and cooperation between China and Papua New Guinea, particularly in the realm of downstream processing of nickel and cobalt.
The MOU, signed by Ramu Nico Management Ltd Chairman Wang Zhou and Kumul Minerals Holdings Ltd Managing Director Sarimu Kanu, solidifies the collaboration to engage in the downstream processing of nickel and cobalt within Papua New Guinea. Ramu Nico Management Ltd, as the majority partner in the world-class US$1.2 billion (K4.12 billion) Ramu nickel-cobalt mine near Madang, is at the forefront of this transformative venture.
Prime Minister Marape, who witnessed the signing alongside Chinese Ambassador H.E. Zeng Fanhua, emphasised the historical significance of this development. He recalled his State visit to China last October, during which he met with President Xi Jinping, and highlighted the commitment made during those discussions to encourage Chinese involvement in downstream processing in Papua New Guinea.
“Our government has been resolute in its desire to transition from being a raw produce exporter to an exporter of finished products,” Prime Minister Marape stated.
“I am pleased to see this vision materialise through the swift response and commitment shown by Ramu Nico Management Ltd, following instructions from the Chinese Government.”
During his meeting with President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Marape received assurances that China takes seriously the practical needs of Pacific island countries, affirming that “China does not make empty promises”. He expressed gratitude for China’s prompt response and underscored the country’s readiness to engage in downstream processing across various sectors, including agriculture, fisheries, and forestry.
Prime Minister Marape extended his appreciation to Ambassador Fanhua and Chairman Wang, considering this agreement as the starting point for Papua New Guinea’s journey towards becoming a downstream processor of its raw produce. He urged more Chinese companies to join hands in this transformative endeavor.
“I thank the Chinese Government and Chinese companies for recognising the imperative for Papua New Guinea to build a robust and diversified economy through downstream processing,” Prime Minister Marape said.
“I extend an invitation to more Chinese companies to come and partner with us in the downstream processing space.”