Monthly Archives: July 2011

Watut River communities support Madang locals to appeal court decision

By Watut Reporter 

While many of the rural communities around Papua New Guinea are discussing and wondering about the National Court decisions to allow foreign owned MCC to dump its tailings into Bismarck sea, the Watut River Communities led by its Environmental Campaign Group, the Union of Watut River Communities (UoWRC) has thrown its support behind its colleagues in Madang as they appeal the Decisions in the highest court.

UoWRC President Mr Reuben Mete delivered this note to its members over the weekend. Watut River Communities under UoWRC will also sue Hidden Valley Operator – Newcrest Mining and Harmony Gold; also on Environmental Damage and loss of economy for rural communities. The case is expected to be registered next month at the National Court in Lae.

UoWRC has currently engage a Lae base lawyer to deal with all its criminal charges laid against them in the district court and will also appeal some of the district court decisions in Lae. It is now confirm that all criminal case charges against UoWRC will begun next Monday. Mr Mete describe the following months starting from August as the beginning of a new chapter for the Watut River Communities.

UoWRC is yet to confirm weather Tiffany Nonggorr will represent them in the National Court Case on Environmental Damage. Tiffany was mention often by the Bulolo District led by the local MP Hon Sam Basil but was later put into criticisms as the District now wants to divert its attention to other Land ownership issue involving both Hidden Valley and Waffi Mining. A meeting with the local MP and Lawyer Tiffany Nonggorr is expected next week to iron out all misunderstandings.

UoWRC is now supporting the call of a National Union of Landowners and will eyeing to push their Litigation to international Laws.

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Gold Anomaly to acquire 100% of Fegusson Island gold project in PNG

Proactive Investor is reporting that Gold Anomaly Limited will acquire a 100% interest in the Fergusson Island Gold Project in Papua New Guinea.

To achieve it, the company will issue 12 million shares and pay C$25,000 to acquire a 33% interest in the Project, bringing Gold Anomaly’s total ownership in the Project to 100%.

The Company is discussing with the Papua New Guinea Mineral Resources Authority an extension to a feasibility study deadline and the renewal or reissuance of exploration licenses EL 1025 and EL 1070.

Earlier this year the Company advised that following its requests to the MRA to grant an extension to the Fergusson Island Gold Project feasibility study deadline the MRA had refused to renew EL 1070.

Gold Anomaly is optimistic that it will, for the first time, have rights to 100% of the Wapolu and Gameta deposits on Fergusson Island.

The Project comprises two drilled gold deposits, Wapolu and Gameta, located 30 kilometres apart on the north Coast of Fergusson Island in PNG.

Since 1996, over $15M has been spent on the Project. Both properties are accessible by low cost water access due to their close proximity to the coast. Landowners are supportive of the Project and its potential commercial development.

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Marengo allocates A$5m to boost exploration ops

By Sinclaire Solomon

Marengo Mining, developers of the giant Yandera copper-molybdenum project in Madang, will spend A$5 million during the next 12 months to boost its exploration effort for both base metals within the broader project area.
This will be in addition to the current intense in-fill drilling programme at the Yandera central porphyry deposit, reports The National.

Marengo Mining chief executive Les Emery announced the latest developments on Wednesday, saying that various components of Yandera’s definitive feasibility study (DFS), with the exception of the process design and metallurgical test work, were progressing as planned and it would be presented to the government early next year.

He said they were confident that by early next year they would conclude a formal construction agreement – engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract – with the leading Chinese construction and engineering group, China Nonferrous Industry’s Foreign Engineering and Construction Co Ltd (NFC) and Arccon (WA) Pty Ltd), their Australian engineering partner. 
Emery said Marengo would appoint NFC as the principal contractor under the turnkey, lump-sum contract and also enter into a formal financing agreement under which NFC will finance least 70% of the mine development costs, through Chinese banks.

“The company is continuing to provide update briefings with the PNG Government and other statutory bodies to progress the permitting process for the Yandera project which remains the critical path item in terms of the overall project development schedule.

“The government has expressed interest in taking up a contributing interest in the Yandera project,” he said, adding that any interest acquired would be held by the state-owned Petromin Ltd, which holds state interest in other resource projects, currently in or near feasibility stage.

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Minister tries to reassure Ramu locals over marine dumping

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Yandera waste will be even worse than Ramu tailings

While the controversy over plans by the Ramu nickel mine to dump its waste into the sea in Papua New Guinea continues, scientists are warning the potential environmental destruction from the Yandera copper mine will be even greater.

The waste from the Yandera mine will be more toxic and greater in quantity than the tailings from the Ramu nickel mine, according to scientific experts.

The Yandera mine, owned by Australian company Marengo Mining, is expected to produce some 25 million tonnes of toxic sufide tailings per year once it enters production – five times the 5 million tonnes of waste expected from the Ramu mine.

Sulfide tailings are known to be rich in heavy metals as porphyry copper deposits often have mercury, arsenic and other metals in them.

The National court in PNG has already warned of the potential devastating impacts from the Ramu mine waste dumping which it found will constitute a private and a public nuisance and will breach the National Goals in PNG’s Constitution.

Like the Ramu mine, Yandera will be constructed and run by a Chinese company. For Yandera the developer will be China Nonferrous Metal Industries, a company with a very poor track record in mining in Africa.


Filed under Environmental impact, Papua New Guinea

Greens want crackdown on Australian miners overseas

Australia’s Greens Party is going to push for legislation preventing Australian mining companies from engaging in environmental practices overseas that they couldn’t do at home, reports the ABC.

This is a response to the recent legal decision in Papua New Guinea, allowing the Chinese owned Ramu Nickel Mine to dump up to 5 million tonnes of toxic waste into the Astrolabe and Basamuk bays off Madang.

The Greens Party holds the balance of power in Australia’s Senate at the moment.

Party leader, Senator Bob Brown, has visited Madang to see the area which would be affected, and he says Australia needs to take action because this legal decision is not just an internal matter for PNG.

Presenter: Bruce Hill
Speaker: Senator Bob Brown, leader of Australia’s Greens Party

BROWN: It’s a global issues because all our oceans are interlinked and the marine heritage and we’re talking here about some of the richest eco-systems in the world belong to everybody, as well as to the unfortunate locals who have tried so hard in the courts to stop five million tonnes of toxic waste being dumped into the ocean eco-system off the north coast of Papua New Guinea.

HILL: Is this a decision that would have taken place in an Australian court of a similar thing had been proposed?

BROWN: No, it simply would not happen in an Australian court and one has to doubt it would happen in a Chinese court. It’s a Chinese company of course working on the back of an Australian company which first opened up this venture. They’re both very happy with the outcome, because they can see the profits coming from the development of the Ramu nickel mine and the….. that comes with it. But put the toxic waste into the marine eco-system, as well as I understand the sewerage from the mine system and who knows what else. It’s an appalling indictment of modern technology being brought to Papua New Guinea without the safeguard that you would get in the home countries against this sort of destruction of marine eco-systems.

HILL: Well, this is a judgement about a tailings distribution system by a Chinese-owned company in Papua New Guinea. In what sense does this become an Australian issue?

BROWN: Well, of course, the mine was first mooted by an Australian corporation which still has that’s Highlands Pacific, which still has nine per cent of the holdings and I understand can increase that to over 20 per cent again as the mine gets underway and becomes profitable. It’s very much an Australian corporation and an Australian responsibility and of huge interest to Australia. It points again to the need for Australian laws which require corporations from Australia to behave overseas in exactly the same way they would be required to if they were operating here in Australia under Australian law.

HILL: Well, your party the Greens, holds the balance of power in the Australian Senate. Are you going to put pressure on the Australian government to do something about this and if so, what?

BROWN: Yes, I have asked, I was in Madang in May. I came back to the Senate and spoke about just this mine and warned about it in the Australian Senate. But of course the Greens are a minority there and the big parties are so far turning their back on their responsibility to speak up about what is potentially an underwater Ok Tedi exported again from Australia and an Australian mining company to the loss of the people who depend upon the environment, on this occasion a marine environment in Papua New Guinea.

HILL: So what is it you want the Australian government to do, what are you proposing?

BROWN: Well the Australian government should be firstly legislating to prevent Australian companies operating overseas from treating the environment in other peoples countries in a way that would be illegal home here in Australia.

HILL: If that happened though, wouldn’t that simply mean that companies from other countries with a less strenuous legislation would simply be able to come in and undercut Australian companies and make the environmental situation so much worse?

BROWN: Well no, that’s not what would happen. There is a limit to the capital and investment and certainly other countries might well do quite the reverse and adopt the Australian system of requiring their home grown companies to operate ethically overseas. You see what we have to do set a led in Australia and not put ourselves at the back of the row and not act in a way which the modern world requires that we should do so as the wealthiest resource-based company on earth. We should be setting the pace, not coming from behind.

HILL: In a judgement, the judge who made this decision said that he had to weigh up the needs of national development and the desires of the government for this to go ahead against the environmental wishes of the landowners. Do you take on board the need for a great deal of national development in a country like Papua New Guinea?

BROWN: Well, I would if the profits were going to go back to Papua New Guinea, but they’re going to flow to the Chinese Communist government, but the biggest stakeholder in this and to a smaller degree, to already wealthy people who are not struggling in Australia and elsewhere. The judge also said that it’s likely that this project will cause serious environmental harm and that directly points to the failure of the Papua New Guinea legal system to prevent serious environmental harm and I spoke to government officials when I was in Port Moresby about this particular mine and they seemed very relaxed about the fact that five million tonnes of toxic waste were going to be dumped into the sea canyon to the north of this mine as if somehow or other it was out of sight out of mind, but, of course, it’s not going to be.


Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Sea is not a dumping ground

By Mali Voi

I refer to the announcement by Environment and Conservation Minister Benny Allan that the “state is happy with tailings disposal option” [for the Ramu nickel mine]

Is he implying that it is safe to dump to­xic materials into the sea? According to the underwater heritage studies conducted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation in Kiribati (2003-07), humans do not know very much about life in the ocean floors.

Dumping waste into the deep sea is bound to have future consequences, which the Scottish Association of Marine Scien­ces will not know because the scientist­s will not be alive when disasters occur.

Nature has a tendency to create a domino effect, that is, whatever is done in one side of this planet will affect the other side. The Pacific Ocean that washes the shores of the islands in Pacific is the same water that circulates the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

Do not push nature into instability to the detriment of humanity and safety of its species through material greed.


Filed under Environmental impact, Papua New Guinea