Timor-Leste (East Timor) has other oil deposits with potential for commercial exploration in the Greater Sunrise field, which will guarantee production over the next few decades, the Timorese Prime Minister said at a conference in the Australian city of Perth.
Mari Alkatiri said there are "visible signs of underground oil systems in the whole island," with more than 30 locations with oil and gas identified in various parts of the country, during the opening session of the Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific, which attracted more than 1,000 delegates from dozens of countries, including several members of the governments of Australia, Germany and several nations from Asia and the Pacific region.
"Beyond Oil, there are also non-metallic minerals and metals, with metallic mineral deposits identified to date including manganese, chromium, copper and gold, silver and iron sand (sand with a high concentration of iron)," he said, according to Portuguese news agency Lusa.
Alkatiri, after pointing out that some license had started being awarded in this area, said "the government is eager" for more mining companies to start prospecting to determine the commercial viability of deposits and start extraction.
One of the biggest investments in this sector – estimated at over US$600 million – is the project of a cement plant near Baucau, whose product will reduce domestic production costs and supply markets in Australia and in the region.The development of the south coast, to support the oil sector, investments in the transport network – including the new port of Tibar, on the outskirts of Dili – are other ongoing investments.
Highlighting the impact that natural resources, especially oil, have played in the development of Timor-Leste, Alkatiri said the country has avoided "the dangers of abundance" and that the mineral resources were "a blessing, not a curse" as they had been in other countries.
After the benefits of the Kitan and Bayu Unda fields – whose total revenues amounted to about US$20 billion – Timor-Leste is now preparing for the development of the Greater Sunrise field. (macauhub)