THE FINAL session of the 13th PNG Mining and Petroleum Conference was dedicated to highlighting the social and economic development programs facilitated by industry players.

Highlands Pacific managing director John Gooding spoke on the importance of industry promoting education in PNG and representatives from the PNG Malaria Initiative spoke on their work to eradicate the disease.

Later, Chamber of Mines and Petroleum president Greg Anderson discussed the benefits the resource sector tax scheme was bringing to the country.

Mr Anderson told PNG Resources after his speech that the conference was about striking a balance between promoting economic opportunities and helping communities grow.

“We look at some of the very topical social issues and the contribution we are making socially which is very, very substantial in education and health,” he said.

Stephanie Copus-Campbell discussed her work with the Oil Search Health Foundation, recalling her first meeting with Oil Search managing director Peter Botten in 2000 at Tari Hospital, where she noticed his genuine commitment to development.

“I remember how distressed Peter was to see the state of Tari hospital and how concerned he was about the community,” she said.

“I am pleased and proud to see how far Oil Search has come in making a real difference in the lives of Papua New Guineans.”

Ms Copus-Campbell said Oil Search’s involvement in the PNG community was a natural extension of their presence and their work with HIV/AIDS programs was something the whole country could celebrate.

“It is a mark of everyone’s collaborative efforts that we haven’t seen the doomsday outcome in terms of HIV/AIDS… luckily that hasn’t come to play.”

PNG LNG occupational health manager Andry Nowosiwsky also spoke about ExxonMobil’s community health programs and the success the company had achieved in boosting health outcomes in their communities.