Environment Act queried by Lihir landowners


Gedion Timothy Lapan | The National aka The Loggers Times 

THE Londolovit community on Lihir Island, New Ireland, whose water reservoir supplies the operations of the gold mine there, has expressed disappointment over the Environment Act of 2000.

Community spokesperson Roselyn Arau said the provision in that law denied (them) the right to be paid for the use of their water. She said the laws recognised their water as “property of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea” and therefore payments for the use of their water were made to the State and not the traditional owners.

“In the case of Londolovit River where Lihir Gold Limited is extracting water under Environmental Permit WE – L3 (143), only K380, 160 is paid annually to the State at a permitted rate of 4400 cubic metre per hour or 38,544 cubic metre per year,” Arau said.

She said in the absence of a formal arrangement with the State, Londolovit completely missed out on payment for water use and queried where thee monies had been kept by the State since. Arau was reacting to findings in an environmental audit report on Londolovit River by an Australian consultant  which was commissioned by the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) between May-August this year.

It was claimed that CEPA among other Government departments and agencies were in receipt of a K113 million claim by Londolovit water resources owners for water extraction “over and above” permitted rates.

Last month, a Government delegation led by CEPA was on the island and presented the report to all stakeholders including landowners and LGL officials.

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Namosi landowners lay out their terms to government

spl 1420 namosi

The Tikini o Namosi landowners have written to the Minister for Lands to reiterate they did not support or endorse the renewal of Prospecting Licence SPL 1420 – despite the claims of the Permanent Secretary and Minister.

The Licence is controlled by Newcrest Mining through its proxy NJV in which Mitsubishi and Nittetsu Mining also hold minority stakes,

The landowners say the government must now ensure a compensation agreement is in place before any exploration activity on their land.

They also say they will no longer deal with either the Namosi Provincial Office or the Newcrest mining Community Relations Office as both are unethical and unprofessional.

The landowners are also demanding all future meetings with the government or the mining company are held in the village so people can freely participate and express their concerns.



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Fifty years of mining but all the wealth has disappeared into foreign hands leaving Bulolo with nothing

bulolo dredge 1


Bulolo was a major centre for Australian gold mining companies for 50 years from the 1930s. But the profits were all exported leaving Bulolo today in the same state it was when the first foreign miners arrived.

The gold in Bololo was so enticing, eight giant dredges were made in Australia and then broken down into small parts and flown to Bulolo. It took two-years for all the parts to be imported and reconstructed on site.

The giant dredgers, driven by hydro power, dug down 60 meters creating water filled lagoons that still remain.

bulolo pond

More than 40 tonnes of gold was extracted worth some US$7 billion in the period from 1930 to 1960.

But the sad part of this story is Bulolo itself – still the same today, roads unsealed and no hospital, just a small clinic –  after contributing so much wealth into foreign hands…


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Appeal to Canadian miner to clear mess it left behind

The National

POMIO MP Elias Kapavore is calling on the Canadian developer of the abandoned Sinivit gold mine in East New Britain to come back and clean up the mess it left behind.

Landowners during a meeting last week raised their concerns over the damage to the environment and pollution from the mine leaking into the rivers.

Resource owners moved into the mine site recently and tampered with cyanide-filled vats and vandalised the camp buildings, after New Guinea Gold left abruptly in July 2014.

According to the Mineral Resources Authority, under the Mining Act, the company still had mining lease licence at Sinivit, which had not been cancelled.

The company there must ensure that regulations are in place and safety measures followed.

“This is a clear example of a company that is allowed to come in and do everything it could and get whatever it wanted and then gone leaving our people like this,” Kapavore said.

“This is a good lesson for ENB and especially Pomio district to seriously consider in future when allowing similar companies to come in.

“The NGG is given until the end of October to return and clean up the mess.”

He urged the provincial government to act on the recommendations compiled by the Department of Environment and Conservation last November.

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Alluvial mining a sleeping giant

Govt seeks to design mining best practice

Pisai Gumar | The National

ALLUVIAL mining is a sleeping giant that has captured Mineral Resource Authority’s (MRA) attention, managing director Philip Samar said.

He said as the Government mining regulator, MRA would design best practices to protect the sector, he said.

Samar said the goal was to encourage and promote alluvial sector to meet Governments’ medium and long term development plans because the bigger mining companies could not deliver alone.

“By 2020-30, the alluvial mining sector would double the revenue for the Government coffers,” Samar said.

The participants of the alluvial mining convention in Lae travelled as far Maprik (East Sepik) and Oksapmin (Sandaun), Madang, Pogera, Port Moresby, including other parts of the country that are involved in alluvial activities.

“MRA is taking interest in the sector 40 years later, but it is not too late …  we have started elsewhere, and here we are today together to set the footpath to progress,” Samar said.

Samar highlighted the challenges how MRA would make happen (applications), how to reach the inaccessible … the blue print of conversion method tested by Niugini Gold Mining will be used to work in collaboration with tenement lease holders.

“What MRA was unable to do during the past 20 years can now be done in two years, based on ideas and information shared in the conference among regulators, miners, buyers and interested public and private sectors”.

“It’s critical for MRA and those involving in the sector to ask: where do we go from here, what are the mechanisms available for us to get there,” Samar said.

Samar praised companies and agencies for their partnership in support to the sector’s second convention held in Lae on Tuesday and Wednesday with the theme “Panning for Alluvial Prosperity.

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Nautilus stung into response on latest criticism of its experimental seabed mining plans

Nautilus has resorted to some unseemly mudslinging as it tries to defend itself against the latest attack on its experimental seabed mining plans – an attack which has resonated around the globe with media coverage on every continent…

Nautilus shrugs off activists’ critique as ‘unscientific’ 

Henry Lazenby | Mining Weekly

Deep sea mining pioneer Nautilus Minerals is making light of an environmentalist attack on its flagship Solwara 1 copper/gold/zinc/silver project, in the Bismarck sea, earlier this week, characterising a critique released on Monday as being unscientific and full of errors and misunderstandings.

As steel cutting for Nautilus’ production support vessel started in China last week, environmentalists on Monday ramped up the ideological battle against the sea floor mining project by publishing a critique entitled ‘Indefensible Flaws’, at the Asia Pacific Deep Sea Mining Summit, held in Singapore.

“Their critique is highly flawed and it is clear that they only partially understand what it is they’re criticising. For instance, to criticise the assessment because it didn’t include gold, had no bearing on the overall mining operation,” Nautilus CEO Mike Johnston told Mining Weekly Online from Brisbane, Australia, in an interview.

He explained that independent natural capital accounting firm Earth Economics did not include gold in the environmental and social benchmarking analysis (ESBA), released in June, as it was not a critical part of the mining operation, while it had the potential to polarise opinions.

“The reason Earth Economics left gold out was because gold is a little bit contentious with most environmentalists. Gold is one of these things that polarises people’s opinions. However, if one included it, it would only improve the economics for Solwara 1,” Johnston said. He questioned the credentials of the people were criticising the report, noting that the company who undertook the field also serviced top tier clients including the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation and the US federal government.

Another criticism was that there was not enough information available for the deep ocean ecosystem to evaluate it. “It’s true that there had not been natural capital accounting assessments made of those ecosystems, but what economists did was to take the highest comparable land values, so that the values assigned to the ocean floor environment would be very conservative,” he stated.

Another critic bemoaned the fact that Earth Economics’ assessment did not provide adequate surface current data for the project, prompting Johnston to waylay the concern by saying that the person obviously failed to grasp that the whole ore extraction system was designed not to disturb the upper layers of the water column.

“We did four water column current measurements, and we have all the data. The reason for not including it is because it’s irrelevant – we don’t impact the surface waters,” Johnston stressed.

Nautilus planned to use three huge robots to mine the sea floor. The machines would cut into the seafloor with 4-m-wide claws, break the rock and collect it in a slurry that would be piped to a support vessel. The remaining water and rock would be sent back down another pipe nearly all the way back to the ocean floor.

Johnston added that certain individuals in the environmentalist lobby were fighting an ideological battle against mining, saying that all mining should end, while others would see no mining happening in the oceans. “We’ve always had an open relationship with environmental lobbyists. We’ve invited them to our annual general meetings, and have always had an open-door policy,” he said, stressing that the world increasingly needed copper to develop.

The company was bullish on the base metal’s strong medium-to-long-term fundamentals that would support the Solwara 1 project, with the added upside when gold was also accounted for.


Johnston noted that there was, however, a strong case to be made for marine mining, arguing that several studies had shown that the majority of marine pollution was coming from land-based mines and industries through the rivers.

Marine mining was also much better than land-based operations, because there were no long-term liabilities of tails dams or waste dumps. “We just mine high-grade ore and send it to China and that’s it.”

The Solwara 1 project would also not impact fresh water sources, such as on land, which could sometimes be in short supply and get politicised owing to the potential long-term impact on the natural resource.

“These kind of critiques are not science based and are merely an example of free speech in practice. It cannot impact the company’s progress on Solwara 1 to production. Our PNG-based partner Eda Kopa is fully on board with us as we progress wok on the environmental management plan,” Johnston said.

Work was currently progressing on the Solwara 1 project’s environmental management plan, in collaboration with the PNG government. The company expected to submit the completed plan to the PNG government at east six months before it would be able to start mining. The plan would deal with some 80 conditions attached to the 20-year mining licence awarded by the government in January 2011.

Johnston described the Eda Kopa partnership as working well. The relationship seemed to have struggled under an earlier hiccup, when the PNG government wanted more say in the project, since they were paying for their 15% interest in the venture.

Meanwhile, Johnston was participating in the International Seabed Authority’s efforts to draft guidelines for seabed mining, which would probably be published “in a few years time”. “But in the mean time, we work in the PNG government’s territory, whose guidelines we follow. We take on board everybody’s inputs, and while we would try to implement best practice, we are pioneering a mining method, so we would try to set the bar really high,” he said.

One of the pitfalls of developing legislation for such ocean floor mining operations was that it could be ambiguous, such as was the case in New Zealand, where current legislation presented many trapdoors for miners to be taken to court.


Nautilus was aiming at recovering high-grade polymetallic seafloor massive sulphide (SMS) deposits at 1 600 m below the surface, within the Western Pacific Ocean’s Rim of Fire.

The planned to produce ore at a rate of more than 1.3-million tons a year, with the capacity to ultimately ramp up to 1.8-million tons a year of dewatered ore, which would be delivered to the PNG Port of Rabaul.

The Solwara 1 project team in 2007 reported the world’s first SMS resource statement after it drilled a National Instrument 43-101-compliant resource using newly developed, remotely operated drills.

As of November 25, 2011, the Solwara 1 project had an indicated mineral resource of one-million tons, grading at 7.2% of copper, 5 g/t of gold, 23 g/t of silver and 0.4% of zinc. Its inferred resource comprised 1.54-million tons, grading at 8.1% of copper, 6.4 g/t of gold, 34 g/t of silver and 0.9% of zinc.

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Momis wants a Chinese future for Bougainville

For a decade, Bougainville fought foreign exploitation so it could join the world of nations upright and proud and independent.

As the people began to build that dream in the aftermath of the war, President Momis was living in China building a different dream, one which would see Bougainville become a Chinese colony in everything but name.

Momis returned to Bougainville with visions of bustling Chinese metropolises operating outside local laws, in what are known as special economic zones (SEZ). As the NGO Act Now! has warned ‘SEZs are tax free enclaves where businesses are also exempted from normal labour, immigration and environmental laws’.

Momis openly declared that in return for economically annexing the island via the SEZ mechanism, China would be offered all Bougainville’s rich resources. Here is how Momis put it to the ABC:

‘You need, I presume, a lot of money (for an SEZ) and I think chinese capitalists, or Chinese investors, would have that kind of money. We would provide as partners the rich resources that we have’.

There is one problem, the people of Bougainville are the slaves of no one, regardless of their power or ethnicity. An ‘angry Momis’ [see story below] is now calling on his compatriots to bow down to the Chinese, who he claims are the most ‘powerful country in the world’.

Powerful they may be, but powerful enough to dispossess Bougainville?

Many have come, and many have failed already…

Tom Kathoa | New Dawn

The President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, Hon. Chief Dr. John Momis has issued a stern challenge to people who continually criticize the presence of foreign investors in Bougainville. 

In particular, the president was referring to the Chinese Investors in the region who face stiff challenges and oppositions from people both in the region and outside of Bougainville. 

President Momis says, China is the most powerful country in the world in terms of business. 

He said America is doing nothing to compensate Bougainville for its damage done during the Second World War and here we have the Chinese to help us raise our economy being criticized for this. 

The president was supported by his Economic Development Minister, Hon. Fidelis Semoso who challenged the people of Bougainville to create a conducive economic climate to entice foreign investors into the region. 


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