Papua New Guinea is rich in gold, oil, gas, copper, silver, timber and is home to abundant fisheries. Although it has a population of only 7.28 million, its people are strikingly diverse, organized in small, fragmented social groups and speak over 800 distinct languages. The economy is highly dualistic consisting of an enclave based formal sector that focuses mainly on large-scale export of natural resources, and an informal sector dominated by the subsistence and semi-subsistence activities of the majority rural population.
The country is located in the South West Pacific between latitudes of 1° and 12° south and, at 463,000 square kilometres, is the largest of the Pacific island states. It occupies the eastern half of the Mainland Island of New Guinea with three additional Islands (New Britain, New Ireland and Bougainville) and over 600 lesser islets and atolls to the North and East. The main islands are volcanic in origin with rugged interiors up to an elevation of 4,496 meters.
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