Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Geothermal Country Notes
Papua New Guinea
Positioned as it is in the same tectonic region as Indonesia and the Philippines, exploration has been undertaken to establish the geothermal potential of Papua New Guinea. To date, 27 wells have been drilled and since 2002 activity has focussed on the island of Lihir, off the northeast coast. In June 2002 a 6 MWe back-pressure unit was approved by Lihir Gold Ltd, the owner of the island's gold mine, one of the largest in the world. Commissioning of the plant came just 10 months later and provided the mine with 10% of its power needs.
At end-July 2005 the plant was expanded with the addition of a 30 MWe unit. A further 20 MWe are due for installation before end-March 2007. At 56 MWe the plant will satisfy current electricity demand. However, the company announced during fourth quarter 2006 that an expansion to the gold-processing facility had been approved. In order to meet the subsequent increased power demand in 2010, funding for further geothermal exploration drilling had also been approved.The power from the Lihir Gold plant not only provides electricity to the mine and associated buildings but also to housing and local villages.