That was the view expressed by Chamber of Mines and Energy president Gerea Aopi in one of the opening addresses on the first day of the PNG Mining and Petroleum Conference, which began in Port Moresby yesterday.
In recent weeks, he said, prices had improved for key export commodities such as copper, gold, nickel and cobalt.
"The petroleum sector has survived an especially tough few years with weak demand and low prices. Although there are signs of recovery, these improvements will probably be slow, and very unlikely to reach the sorts of prices PNG has witnessed in years before 2014," Aopi said, adding that analysts believed oil prices may rise a little more in the coming year and LNG would follow a similar trend.
Aopi said that the Mineral Resources Authority Bill, if passed in its current form, would have a big impact not only on the MRA but the mining industry.
"The final outcome of the review of these legislations will be critical to future investment in mineral exploration and development. It is and will always be the Chamber's desire to work closely with your Government to ensure that our shared aspiration of world class industry operations impacting positively on the development of PNG is sustained," Aopi said.
Aopi stressed the need for a favourable and stable investment climate, and internationally benchmarked legislation is of the utmost importance to future industry growth. This, he said, would give confidence to investors in large projects, such as Wafi-Golpu and Frieda River.
"In the medium-term PNG's second LNG project is expected to move closer to project sanction and two major mining projects will move forward significantly, and therefore it is imperative that mining and petroleum regulators are fully equipped to administer the next generation of projects and optimise these developments for all stakeholders.
"Unless a balance is maintained between risk and reward, the viability of many resource projects, current and future, could be jeopardised. These are projects that can generate rapid economic growth and underwrite PNG's economic prosperity through education, health, and agriculture," he said.
He also said that it was expected that PNG would be endorsed as a full member of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), which would help provide clarity on payments made by petroleum and mining companies to the various tiers of government and other stakeholders, including landowners.
"This provides for a heightened sense of scrutiny and accountability," he said.