The Foreign Investment Climate for Mining and Exploration in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea from an Australian Perspective

Gillies A D S,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 0
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1994
The active history of foreign investment in the mining industry has resulted in Australia emerging as a major world producer of a range of mineral commodities. The current contribution to the national economy represented by mineral production and export revenues would not have occurred without both capital and expertise provided by foreign investors in the past. The initial foreign investment has led to the formation of Australian majority owned and controlled multi-national mining groups such as BHP Limited, CRA Limited and MIM Holdings Limited. These Australian companies, and others, are playing a significant part as foreign investors in the mining industries of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Indonesia. The study examines issues of importance in foreign investment in each of the countries. It concludes that in Indonesia, the nationalisation of the Dutch mining industry in 1957 did much to deter foreign investment. The remarkable degree of policy stability brought about by the Contract of Works system since 1967 has gone a long way to restoring that confidence. The level of investment in the Indonesian mining sector is steadily increasing. Its attraction to Australian investors is a combination of policy stability, favourable fiscal terms, geological prospectivity for a range of commodities and proximity to Asian markets to the north. PNG has a stable policy regime which until recently has been free from political interference at the administrative level. As such, investors were developing confidence in the system and investment was progressively increasing as evidenced by growing exploration expenditures up to 1988. The 1989 Bougainville revolution caused a re-assessment of PNG's investment and country risk. The recent Mt Kare incident has further raised concerns over the government's ability to guarantee internal security. Foreign investors are faced with weighing concerns with the risks of operation in PNG against the undoubted geological prospectivity of the country. The fiscal regimes of Australia, Indonesia and PNG were compared by means of a simulated open pit gold mine in each country. The effect of taxation is examined by reference to the relative change in project internal rates of return (IRR). The comparison of the relative differences between pre-tax and post-tax IRRs provides a measure of the relative attractiveness of each fiscal regime.
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