PNG Power Ltd

PNG Power Ltd (PPL) is a fully integrated power authority responsible for Generation, Transmission, Distribution and Retailing of Electricity throughout Papua New Guinea and servicing individual electricity consumers. PPL services customers in almost all urban centres throughout the country encompassing industrial, commercial, government and domestic sectors. Where possible, the services extend to rural communities adjacent to these urban centres.

PPL is also undertaking a regulatory role on behalf of the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC). These responsibilities include approving licenses for electrical contractors, providing certification for models of electrical equipment and appliances to be sold in the country and providing safety advisory services and checks for major installations.

PNG Power Limited (Company No 1-44680) was corporatised under Section 3 (1) of the Electricity Commission (Privatisation) Act 2002 as the successor company to the Papua New Guinea Electricity Commission (ELCOM). All of ELCOM’s assets, liabilities, rights, titles and personnel were transferred to PPL.

Company Profile

Company Ownership and Reporting

PPL is a State Owned Entity (SOE). The Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) holds the shares for corporatised state entities as trustee of the General Business trust. The IPBC acts as the sole shareholder on behalf of the Government. The Minister for State Enterprises appoints a Board who report to IPBC. PPL, through the Board provides regular financial and operational reports and a Five-year Business Plan to IPBC on an annual basis.

PNG Power Ltd Board

The PPL Board consists of 8 Directors appointed through IPBC. The Directors come from a diverse professional background whose task is to make policy decisions for the operations of PNG Power.

PNG Power Ltd Constitution

PPL was established under the Electricity Commission (Privatisation) Act of 2000 to be the successor company taking over all assets, liabilities and personnel of ELCOM. PPL is also governed by another Act of Parliament, the Electricity (Amendment) Act which established a regulatory regime for the Electricity Industry. PPL as a corporatised entity, operates in accordance with the Companies Act 1997. The Constitution of PPL has been established in compliance with this Act. The Constitution establishes the functions and responsibilities of the Board to the shareholders and the general administrative and reporting requirements.


PPL’s total number of customers is about 116, 242 including 85, 611 customers on Easipay.


PNG Power employs around 2050 employees. These staff operate under thirteen business units:

  • Asset Development
  • Project Coordination
  • System Operations
  • Performance Engineering
  • Operating & Maintenance
  • Inventory Management
  • Strategic Planning & Business Development
  • General Counsel
  • Human Resource Management
  • Finance
  • Rural Services
  • Corporate Services
  • Debt Management

Regulatory Functions

Regulatory Contract

The operations of PPL is governed by the Regulatory Contract signed between the ICCC and PPL in August 2002. ICCC is responsible for regulating competition, controlling prices and protecting consumers for a number of industries in PNG. As such, it is the regulating authority for the electricity industry.

The Regulatory Contract establishes a long-term formula for fixing tariffs, which takes into account the CPI, exchange rates, fuel prices and the capital expenditure program among other factors.

Under the Regulatory Contract, PPL is required to meet specified Minimum Reliability Standards for different defined service zones. The implication of the Minimum Reliability Standards is that various capital investments are required to meet the Standards.

Also under the Regulatory Contract, the ICCC has issued an Electricity Code which elaborates on the Customer Services to be provided by PPL and specifies the detailed requirements and standards for these service.

ICCC has also issued a series of operating licenses for PPL to operate under. They include:

  • Generation License
  • Transmission License
  • Distribution License
  • Retail License

Corporate Objective & Strategies

Corporate Objective

To enhance the economic and social development of Papua New Guinea through leading the development and expansion of electricity supply throughout the nation. This will be achieved through aligning, coordinating and utilising the resources of PNG Power, Government and the private sector.


PNG Power will be the primary provider of electricity to Papua New Guinea.

  1. PNG Power has extensive electricity infrastructure across the nation that can be extended or expanded to develop and improve electricity supply to Papua New Guinea.
  2. PNG Power will establish strategic alliances with the private sector to deliver improved and expanded electricity supply to Papua New Guinea.
  3. PNG Power will align its economic development plans and activities with Government development strategies and policies.
  4. PNG Power will expand its program to provide electricity supply to rural areas through the development and implementation of a five year Rural Electrification Plan.
  5. PNG Power recognises that the potential to provide low cost hydro electricity generation is a competitive advantage to the nation and will actively promote hydro power to the developers and operators of resource and industrial projects including possible expansion of downstream processing.
  6. PNG Power will actively participate in and contribute to Government policy development and planning activities in areas such as economic development, energy and electricity policy and Rural Electrification.
  7. In conjunction with Government and its agencies, PNG Power will promote the competitive advantages of hydro power to global investors.
  8. PNG Power will establish relationships and strategic alliances with international providers of donor and concessional funding.
  9. PNG Power will engage with other State owned enterprises, industry and community groups and other stakeholders to get input and feedback and to outline its electricity expansion and development programs.

Electricity Supply

PNG Power is responsible for the operation of 30 electricity systems at various centres throughout the country. Three of these systems are hydro based with generation capacity in excess of 10 Megawatts (MW). The other smaller systems are run by thermal or diesel generation.

PNG Power’s main source of generation is hydro, which accounts for 70% of the total electricity generation. Generation by light fuel oil is 14% and an Independent Power Producer (IPP) with 16%. Current annual generation is over 800Gwh. Demand for electricity has grown by an average of 2.2% over the last ten years and this trend is expected to continue in the medium term.

PNG Power has an installed generation capacity of over 300MW. Of this, hydro power stations account for 70% and thermal account for 30% of the total capacity. The transmission voltages are 132kV, 66kV and 33kV, while the distribution voltages are 11kV and 22 kV. The standard consumption voltages are 415 Volts and 240 Volts at 50 Hz.

Supply and Demand

The demand for electricity in Papua New Guinea is constantly increasing and PNG Power has established a Ten Year Plan to cater for this demand.
PPL recognises the need to meet the community expectations for reliable power supply. The improved financial performance enables PPL to make the necessary investments to improve supply to existing customers and to build the infrastructure necessary to meet future demand as the PNG Economy realises rapid growth.

PNG Power forecasts that in 2012, electricity production would be 1,104,255 MWh and would rise to 1,598,632MWh. Sales forecasts are for 2012 is 884 681MWh and 2022 is 1,279,221MWh. Sales growth in 2022 is predicted to be at 36,857MWh compared to 2012 which is 83,857MWh.
The final peak demand in production for 2012 is forecasted at 210MW and looks set to rise in the 2022 forecast up to 305MW. The generation capacity of PNG Power is expected to increase in the coming years as the company wants to improve service delivery to its customers.

The Easipay System

A part of PNG Power’s plan as a business entity is to introduce the Easipay system throughout the country so that consumers pay for the amount of electricity they use.

The rest of the consumers throughout the country who are on the credit meter system will have their credit meters replaced with the Easipay meters.

Easipay is a user-pay system where customers who buy power (kWh) receive a computer generated sixteen or 20 digit number, representing the information about the customer meter and the amount of power (kWh) purchased. The customer enters the digits on the meter, which has a keypad similar to the telephone keypad. If the numbers are entered correctly, the amount of electricity in kWh is registered on the meter.
A lighting system similar to the traffic light system will show green for sufficient power, amber for a week’s supply and red for three days supply. When the light is red, the customer buys another lot of units and if not, the meter switches off. With this system, the customer does not owe PNG Power any debt and PNG Power does not disconnect the customer.

Future Renewable Energy sources

A major emphasis has been put on the development of hydro power potentials in a number of provinces. Development of hydro power is important as this would replace thermal generation and thus reduce imported fossil fuel. Investigations of hydro power potentials in other areas of PNG is continuing.

Other indigenous sources of energy including oil and gas, solar, wind and bio-energy from sugar cane and oil palm waste will also be investigated to help reduce imported fossil fuels.

Independent Power Producers

The participation of private enterprise in the supply of electricity will also be assessed and if found to be beneficial would be implemented. Currently PNG Power purchases power from the Hanjung Power Ltd, which supplies 24MW of electricity from its power station at Kanudi to supplement the supply from PNG Power’s stations at Rouna and Moitaka for the National Capital District’s load demand.

Rural Electrification

About 90 percent of the population of Papua New Guinea live in the rural areas and less than 4 percent of the rural population have access to electricity.

The current Rural Electrification projects are mainly funded by Members of the Parliament and mainly involves the extension from the existing distribution network. In 2008 the National Government injected another K65 million into an extensive Rural Electrification expansion program.
PNG Power will continue to supply electricity and support the government in carrying out more rural electrification projects through out the country to assist in the development of the country.

Operational Systems

Port Moresby System

The Port Moresby system serves the National Capital District, the commercial, industrial and administrative centre of Papua New Guinea. The Port Moresby system also serves surrounding areas in the Central Province.

The main source of generation is the Rouna system consisting of four hydro stations on the Laloki River, controlled water storage in the Sirinumu Reservoir and a small generating set at the toe of Sirinumu dam. The total generation capacity from the Rouna Power Stations is 63MW.

PNG Power also operates a thermal power station at Moitaka, outside of Port Moresby which is used to supplement the supply from the Rouna Power Station and has a generation capacity of 30MW.

PNG Power also purchases electricity from a privately owned power station at Kanudi. The Kanudi Power Station completed in January, 1999 is owned and operated by an IPP, selling power exclusively to PNG Power. Kanudi adds another 24MW to the Port Moresby system generation capacity and is being utilised as base load. The load demand for the National Capital District is 96MW in 2011.

The Port Moresby hydro generation is transported by three 66kV lines and a 33kV feeder and the Moitaka thermal generation output is delivered to the system at Boroko via a single and a double circuit 66kV lines which also supplies the Waigani Substation. There is also a 66kV circuit line from Moitaka to Kanudi to improve the security of power supply.

Ramu System

The Ramu system serves the load centres of Lae, Madang and Gusap in the Momase Region and the Highlands centres of Wabag, Mendi, Mt Hagen, Kundiawa, Goroka, Kainantu and Yonki. The economy of the regions supplied by the Ramu system is based on mining, oil, gas, coffee, tea, timber and industrial productions.

The main source of generation is the Ramu Hydro Power Station with an installed capacity of 75MW, comprising of five units of 15MW each. This station which was previously a run-of-river scheme, became a storage scheme when the Yonki dam was commissioned in February, 1991. Additional hydro energy is supplied by Pauanda, a run-of-river station in the Western Highlands Province with 12MW.

Yonki Dam Facility

Power is also purchased when required from the privately owned Baiune Hydro Power Station at Bulolo, Morobe Province and varies between 1-2MW depending on availability.

Transmission line outages, energy and peak demands are met by diesel plants at Madang, Lae, Mendi, Wabag, Kundiawa and Goroka. These plants serve as stand-by units.

Three radial lines originating from Ramu Hydro Power Station switch yard serve Lae, Madang and the Highlands centres. Currently Madang and the Highlands Region are supplied at 66kV and Lae at 132kV. The Highlands line interconnects with Pauanda hydro station and supplies the townships of Kainantu, Goroka, Kundiawa, Mt Hagen, Wabag and Mendi.

Gazelle Peninsula System

The Gazelle Peninsula system serves the townships of Rabaul, Kokopo and Keravat to service Gazelle’s economy based on copra, coconut oil, cocoa, timber and fishing.

The Gazelle Peninsula system is powered by a 10MW hydro power system at Warangoi, Ulagunan Diesel Power Station with 8.4MW, and 0.5MW from Kerevat Diesel Power Station.

A 66kV line linking Warangoi to the Rabaul, Kokopo and Kerevat zone substations delivers hydro power from Warangoi Power Station to these load centres.

Other Centres

The Kimbe system is supplied by the Ru Creek Mini hydro system and the Bialla system by the Lake Hargy mini hydro scheme, while the other centres are served by diesel generating stations. PNG Power continues to take over the supply of electricity to district centres as its Rural Electrification program expands to connect these centres.

Nautilus Minerals Inc.

Last updated: September 2019

Nautilus is a Canadian company that is endeavouring to become the world’s first successful DSM multinational corporation. The company was founded in 1987, yet no information can be found of Nautilus’ interests or operations prior to the beginnings of Solwara 1 in the early 2000s. Nautilus has two major shareholders, MB Holding Company LLC and Metalloinvest Holding (Cyprus) Limited, who respectively hold 30.4% and 19.2% shares (Nautilus Minerals Inc, 2018). It is unclear exactly what groups constitute the remaining minor shares of the company, however Anglo American, one of the world’s largest multinational mining corporations, were former shareholders. They withdrew their share in May 2018, citing that their investment in the project “was inconsistent with its commitments to sustainability, human rights and environmental stewardship” (Radio New Zealand, 2018b). This is an absolutely crucial point to consider, and begs the question as to why a mining corporation is more concerned with the environmental risks of Solwara 1 than either Nautilus or the national government.

The two main shareholders of Nautilus have formed Deep Sea Mining Finance (DSMF), which is tasked with securing the funding for Solwara 1 (BankTrack & Deep Sea Mining Campaign, 2017). As of June 2018, Nautilus had borrowed a total of US$11,250,000 with a further US$22,750,000 available under the loan agreement with DSMF (Nautilus Minerals Inc., 2018).

Due to the nature of Solwara 1 as being a ‘world first’ venture, it is sensible to examine the history of Nautilus Minerals and whether the corporation’s past can help predict the outcome of this particular mining project. In particular, it is important to observe that many members of management have previously been involved in mining projects that caused environmental and social harm in PNG such as Lihir, Porgera and Panguna (Nautilus Minerals Inc., 2015, p. 66-67).

Nautilus in the Pacific

In addition to PNG, Nautilus is also interested in other areas of the Pacific. The company holds exploration licenses in Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the eastern Pacific off the coast of Mexico. In all of these locations (including PNG), Nautilus is concerned with extracting the same type of mineral, seafloor massive sulphides (SMS).

Nautilus’ Areas of Interest in the Pacific

It is unclear exactly how Nautilus is currently involved in these Pacific nations, as for the majority of these projects, the most recent information accessible is from 2012. As of 2012, Nautilus had applied for a total of 17 prospecting licences (PL), for the purposes of locating, evaluating and sampling mineral material in Fiji and were granted 14. The company also held 41 PL in Vanuatu, and 92 PL in Solomon Islands. In Tonga, Nautilus held 16 PL and has applied for a further 30. In this case, however, it is known that Nautilus began its exploration during 2008 (Matangi Tonga Online, 2008) and employs a country manager (Nautilus Minerals Inc., 2015, p. 67). In relation to prospective mining in Tonga, a report prepared for Nautilus explicitly states that the “tenements do not include any habitable land or coastal waters; there is no requirement to negotiate access rights with local landowners” (Jankowski, 2012, p. 31). This mirrors Nautilus’ stance regarding Solwara 1, and will be discussed further below. From the information available, it would seem that Nautilus has a solid grip on DSM operations in the Pacific, and will be a big player in the industry going forwards.

There is greater detail available surrounding Nautilus’ involvement in the CCZ, which is likely due to the level of importance and mineral potential the area holds for the company. The CCZ venture is not being operated through Nautilus itself, but its subsidiary, Tonga Offshore Mining Limited (TOML). TOML is ‘sponsored’ by the Tongan government (note there is no information that details their involvement any further than this) (Nautilus Minerals, n.d.-b), and perhaps foreshadows the direction the Tongan government will take in DSM within their own country. This move also demonstrates the willingness of the Tongan government to participate in transnational capitalism, which values economic gain over environmental or social damage (Schultz, 2014).

Nautilus has projected that the CCZ has a mineral resource base of 685 million wet tonnes (natural state of extracted material before processing) (Jamasmie, 2016). Due to its significant mineral wealth, the CCZ has attracted a lot of world interest. Other companies who hold various licences in the CCZ are from Germany, Korea, Russia and the United Kingdom amongst others (Nautilus Minerals, n.d.-b). Unlike Solwara 1 and other potential DSM project sites, the CCZ is unique in the sense that it falls outside of Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) and is thus bound by different regulatory bodies and frameworks. The International Seabed Authority is the body that has the authority to govern and issue licences in this area (Vella, 2015).

Nautilus has also applied for an exploration licence along the Kermadec Arc within New Zealand’s EEZ, an area totalling 50,000 square kilometres (Clark, 2015). No comment can be found on the state of the application. In past years, New Zealand’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has declined applications for DSM due to the significant environmental threats posed (Jamasmie, 2015). The EPA have, however, granted an application for the mining of iron sand off the Taranaki coast, which will still be permissible irrespective of a recent decision to ban offshore oil and gas exploration in NZ (Young, 2018). The ban does not include DSM for minerals. The area that Nautilus is interested in is also the proposed site of the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, which would render 620,000 square kilometres of sea as one of the world’s largest marine reserves (McCormack, 2018), and prohibit mining activity.

Nautilus in Papua New Guinea

Solwara 1 is the primary focus of Nautilus (Nautilus Minerals Inc., 2015, p. 5), but the company has a wider interest in PNG. Solwara 1 is effectively only a small part of a greater area within which Nautilus holds, or have applied for, a large number of exploration licences (Lipton, 2012, pp. 1-2). The map below demonstrates that Nautilus’ sights are not only focused near the coast of New Ireland, but almost the entire expanse of the Bismarck Sea. Within this area are a further 18 sites of interest, which the company has labelled Solwara 2 through to 19 (Lipton, 2012, p. 2). Exploration and testing has occurred in all of these sites, with Nautilus directing particular attention towards Solwara 12 due to promising levels of mineral deposits (Lipton, 2012, p. 7).

Extent of Nautilus’ Exploration Licences within the Bismarck Sea, as of 2012

One of the main reasons Nautilus cite for their interest in PNG is the high grade of minerals found during exploration. The average grade of Solwara 1 gold deposits is four times higher than terrestrial deposits, and the copper grade is ten times higher (Clark, 2015). High grades of minerals result in less effort required in extraction as the mineral percentage in each tonne of ore is greater (Lioudis, 2018). The high grade of minerals found at the bottom of the Bismarck Sea, as well as the numerous licences held by Nautilus to explore this area, suggests that Nautilus will likely maintain its presence in PNG long after the mining of Solwara 1, should it go ahead successfully.


  • Phillips, Hayley. A Sea of Voices: Deep sea mining and the Solwara 1 Project in Papua New Guinea. Diss. The University of Waikato, 2019.

Highlands Pacific Limited

For more than 20 years Highlands Pacific Limited has been successfully operating in Papua New Guinea (PNG). It is now arguably PNG’s premier minerals explorer, developer and producer, advancing some of the country’s most important copper, gold and nickel assets. The PNG incorporated company, listed on the ASX and POMSoX Exchanges (under the code HIG) provides investors with leverage to the country’s significant mineral resource endowment. Approximately 30% of Highlands Pacific share register is held by the PNG Government and PNG based funds with the rest by international investors. Highlands Pacific is a joint venture partner in the massive Frieda River Copper-Gold project in the East Sepik Province, holds exploration ground 20km north of the Ok Tedi mine in the Star Mountains which is prospective for copper-gold, has an investment in the producing US$2b Ramu Nickel-Cobalt Mine near Madang, and exploration ground on Normanby Island targeting nickel laterites.

The Company’s current share of the resource base reported for its projects and joint ventures is:

  • 4.1 million ounces of gold
  • 2.6 million tonnes of copper
  • 238 million pounds of nickel; and
  • 24 million pounds of cobalt

Frieda River Copper/Gold Project

The Frieda River Copper-Gold project is located 175km north-west of the Porgera gold mine and 75km north-east of the Ok Tedi mine. The project owners are PanAust Limited (manager) 80% and Highlands Pacific 20%. The Frieda River Copper-Gold project is PNG’s largest undeveloped copper-gold project and one of the top 10 undeveloped open pit copper mines in the world. The resource inventory of the project consists of 11.5Mt of copper, 20Moz of gold and 49Moz of silver.

Ramu Nickel Cobalt Mine

The Ramu Nickel-Cobalt mine is located 75km west of the provincial capital of Madang, PNG. Highlands 8.56% interest in Ramu will increase to 11.3% at no cost to Highlands after repayment of its share of the project debt. From commissioning, Highlands has access to its pro-rata 8.56% share of Ramu’s post-debt servicing, net cash flow. Highlands also has an option to acquire an additional 9.25% interest in Ramu at fair market value, which could increase the company’s interest in the mine to 20.55%, if the option is exercised.

Star Mountains Copper-Gold Project

The Star Mountains exploration tenements, which include Nong River EL1312, Mt Scorpion EL1781, Munbil EL2001 and Tifalmin EL1392 have been expanded to include EL2467, are located approximately 20km north of the Ok Tedi mine, in the West Sepik Province, PNG. They lie within the highly prospective New Guinean Orogenic Belt, which hosts the Grasberg, Ok Tedi, Porgera and Hidden Valley mines, as well as the Frieda River deposit.

Nenatec Process

The Nenatec Process, co-owned with Glencore Xstrata is a patented process designed to treat concentrates produced from refractory base metal and precious metal ores. The process offers Highlands potential access to new projects and/or royalty streams.