Lo­cally owned

The min­ing en­ter­prise owned by 12 clans

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Peo­ple in the coun­try must learn to move away from a cash cul­ture and, in­stead, see the long-term value of buy­ing shares.

Ai­abba Min­er­als is a min­ing com­pany fully owned by an in­dige­nous com­mu­nity in Pa­pua New Guinea. Such an own­er­ship model could be­come a best­prac­tice model for the fu­ture de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try’s re­sources, ex­ec­u­tive chair­man and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Moses Mon­dowa, says.

Ai­abba Min­er­als’ cur­rent ma­jor share­hold­ers are the 12 clans of the lo­cal in­dige­nous com­mu­nity in East Sepik Province, which in­vested in the com­pany through the Malau­manda De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (MDC).

The min­ing ex­plo­ration com­pany was ini­tially a joint ven­ture between Afro­can Re­sources Gold (PNG) and the MDC. An ex­plo­ration li­cense was granted to the ven­ture in May 2016.

The en­tity was then in­cor­po­rated as Ai­abba Min­er­als (Aust) Pty Ltd in Aus­tralia, with the aim of cre­at­ing a port­fo­lio of PNG ex­plo­ration prop­er­ties. That com­pany is seek­ing to raise fi­nance, both lo­cally and over­seas.

The ex­plo­ration li­cense cov­ers 224.9 square kilo­me­tres of the south­ern parts of East Sepik Province.

It is be­lieved the area holds po­ten­tial for gold and cop­per de­posits, por­phyry cop­per­gold-molyb­de­num de­posits and struc­turally con­trolled gold lode de­posits.

The com­pany claims that there is the po­ten­tial for “more than one mil­lion ounces of gold, or gold equiv­a­lent”.

Mon­dowa says that for PNG’s re­sources and in­vest­ment sec­tors to be suc­cess­fully de­vel­oped, it is im­por­tant for the lo­cal com­mu­nity to in­vest in lo­cal com­pa­nies and their pro­jects.

“Peo­ple in the coun­try must learn to move away from a cash cul­ture and, in­stead, see the long-term value of buy­ing shares,” he says.

“I think peo­ple are start­ing to un­der­stand the po­ten­tial value here.”

Mon­dowa be­lieves that buy­ing shares to earn a div­i­dend rep­re­sents a sound op­tion in PNG’s cur­rent dif­fi­cult eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment.

“It’s vi­tal that peo­ple are in­vested in these pro­jects with strong po­ten­tial and profit from the suc­cess of busi­ness in their re­gion.”

Mon­dowa hopes Ai­abba Min­er­als will act as a best prac­tice ex­am­ple of a PNG com­pany on how to en­gage with the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

Ai­abba Min­er­als is plan­ning to raise fi­nance of PGK5.1 mil­lion to pur­chase a drill rig, fund the drilling pro­gram at the Malau­manda project and pay for com­pany ex­penses this year.

“Work­ing with lo­cal share­hold­ers and for­eign cor­ner­stone in­vestors to list on the Aus­tralian Se­cu­ri­ties Ex­change will be fundamental to the com­pany’s suc­cess, he ex­plains.

While the lo­cal com­mu­nity is sup­port­ive of the project, Mon­dowa says the com­mu­nity must con­tinue to ed­u­cate lo­cal peo­ple on the long-term value.

“We need to work with for­eign in­vestors to sup­port us in the de­vel­op­ment of these pro­jects, but it is also im­por­tant that the lo­cal com­mu­nity is prof­it­ing from the project’s suc­cess.”

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