Since its independence from Australia in 1975, Papua New Guinea's economy has relied on the large-scale extraction of its natural resources. This was meant to improve the lives of its citizens, but in reality, the country has fared worse than its Pacific neighbours.
The value of the resources extracted is huge – and unmatched by the standard of living for most of PNG's people.
The real beneficiaries are foreign mining, oil and gas giants, as well as major players in the logging and oil palm industries. Meanwhile, Papua New Guineans are the ones who have beared the brunt of the resulting environmental destruction.
We published these findings in our joint report with Act Now! PNG and the Oakland Institute, 'From Extraction to Inclusion'.
RESOURCE EXTRACTION HAS FAILED TO IMPROVE LIVES. HERE'S WHY
COMPANIES BANK PROFIT OVERSEAS
The extractive industries tend to operate with little connection to the rest of the economy. Foreign companies bank most of their profits offshore, leaving local communities do deal with the social and environmental costs.
COMPANIES DON'T GIVE MUCH BACK
Fossil fuel companies contribute little to the public purse. In 2018, 6.5 per cent of sales from the mining and petroleum sector went to government.
HEALTH AND EDUCATION SUFFER
The growth of resource extraction sectors has been marred by poor governance, theft of public money and corruption, taking away much needed funding from health and education services.
EXTRACTION CREATES VERY FEW JOBS
About 90 per cent of Papua New Guineans work in the informal economy, mostly growing and selling food crops. The mining, oil and gas sector only creates jobs for 0.3 per cent of the workforce.
“What we would need to do is think more strategically, think more innovatively, about what we can do that does not end up destroying our forests and our way of life and our waterways.”
—GARY JUFFA, GOVERNOR, ORO PROVINCE