News 6 Jul 2018
As one of the world’s most natural resource-rich countries, Papua New Guinea’s geology provides an array of natural minerals, oils and gas. The mineral sector drives the PNG economy and is the major contributor to the GDP.
Seeing how the mineral sector brought in foreign explorers to PNG, conducting multi-element discoveries, Moses Mondowa established Aiabba Minerals, a mining company led and owned by an indigenous community in the East Sepik Province.
As Executive Chairman and Managing Director, Moses stresses to PCF the importance of having an indigenous-owned mining company.
“Aiabba Minerals acts as a role model for all indigenous peoples here in PNG,” he says.
“For a long time, the indigenous community in East Sepik viewed the mining industry as too complex to understand in terms of finance and technology. But they’ve now realised the long-term benefits that come with investing in their own community projects. Hopefully, other indigenous groups throughout PNG will follow suit.”
Aiabba Mineral’s current major shareholders are 12 clans of the local indigenous community in the province. The company has an exploration license that covers 224.9km square kilometres of land south of the Sepik region, where the area is believed to hold deposits of gold and copper.
Moses is also preparing to share his company’s vision as a speaker at the upcoming PNG Investment Conference in August in Brisbane, Australia. The conference will promote the PNG economy to international business communities, showcasing a wide range of industry sectors.
It is just one of options that enables Aiabba Minerals to be listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. Moses makes frequent trips to the country to meet with potential investors. While the effort feels draining at times, he’s confident someone will soon see the value in his company.
“In every discussion that I’ve had with investors, the topic of PNG’s issue with corruption is brought up,” he says.
However Moses is adamant in the importance of the indigenous community to the company.
“Our company policy points out that the indigenous community are the shareholders and partners, which means they have full ownership rights in PNG,” he says.
“With the support of investors and having Aiabba Minerals on the Australian Securities Exchange, we’ll be able to raise enough funding to conduct exploration and develop a mine that meets international standards.”