PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum executive chairman Albert Mellam, said the declining trend in exploration activity was of concern, especially when global activity had been rising strongly.
His remarks are contained in the latest Mining and Petroleum Review for April to June, 2019.
"PNG boasts of a very favourable geological environment for new mineral discoveries and the country needs to maintain an attractive fiscal and regulatory environment to ensure it remains a competitive global destination for mineral exploration activity.
"Exploration is the lifeblood of the industry and it contributes to employment opportunities in rural areas generally far away from the towns and cities," Mellam said.
The chamber said an international group of mining consultants, CSA Global, estimated that mineral exploration activity worldwide picked up by 20% last year to around $10 billion, the largest figure in several years.
The US financial services company, Standard and Poors Global Markets, said global spending on exploration for non-ferrous metals rose from $7.3 billion in 2016 to $8.4 billion in 2017 and that, by the end of 2017, exploration activity was at the highest level since 2013.
Meanwhile, exploration activity in PNG last year fell to K296 million just slightly higher than the K283 million expenditure level eight years previously in 2010, according to official data from the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA).
MRA stats show that exploration spending in PNG peaked at K596 million in 2013 and had fallen to below K400 million annually since then. Recent exploration expenditure figures showed that spending last year fell to a low of K296 million compared with K339 million in 2017 and K373 million in 2016.