Monthly Archives: May 2012

Gillard tells mining bosses ‘you don’t own the resources’

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has thrown down the gauntlet to mining bosses, telling them face-to-face that they don’t own the nation’s mineral resources and the Australian people deserve their share.

Watch the video on the ABC website

Ms Gillard delivered a feisty speech to the Minerals Council last night, one month out from the introduction of the carbon tax, telling them she is determined to stick to Labor’s plan to share the benefits of the boom.

Her frank challenge to the industry came after Opposition Leader Tony Abbott told mining bosses that she had caved in to union pressure to water down a deal to allow foreign labourers to build new mines.

Ms Gillard told her audience that she knew they would not like what she was telling them.

“I know that not all of you in this room are in love with the language of ‘spreading the benefits of the boom’,” she said.

But she said that with more than $500 billion of investment in the pipeline, there was no better place in the world to invest than Australia.

She told some of the industry’s major players that Australians did not begrudge them their success.

“But I know this too: they work pretty hard in car factories and panel beaters and in police stations and hospitals. And here’s the rub: you don’t own the minerals; they own it and they deserve their share,” she said.

“Governments only sell you the right to mine the resource.

“A resource we hold in trust for a sovereign people.”

But the mining industry warned the Prime Minister her plan to spread the benefits of the boom may not be sustainable.

Minerals Council president Peter Johnston called it the wrong approach, criticising the “endless dialogue about redistribution”.

“All governments need to shift gears from spreading the benefits of the boom through higher taxes, ad hoc spending and increased regulation to tackling the real challenges of fiscal sustainability productivity growth,” he said.

The Prime Minister made just the briefest mention of her controversial plan to allow mining companies to import foreign workers to help build new mines.

“For projects where there’s a real need for some temporary overseas workers, we will support that, we will join with you in making sure our first priority is to secure jobs and training for Australian workers,” she said.

Ms Gillard’s frank challenge to the industry came after Mr Abbott also addressed the Minerals Council.

He seized on Labor’s decision to form a new Caucus subcommittee to oversee future foreign worker deals.

“The unions spooked the Prime Minister and now the Caucus has rolled the Cabinet on these matters,” he said.

“You can be absolutely confident that as time goes by, these enterprise migration agreements will be more difficult to negotiate.”



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Yandera confirms it has dumped marine waste disposal plans

Marengo Mining yesterday confirmed that it has dumped plans to use the ocean as a sewer for its processing waste from the planned Yandera copper mine in Madang, reports The National. Marengo will instead use a land-based tailings system.

The announcement is a major victory for indigenous people living along the Madang coast who have been battling against the planned dumping from both the Yandera and Ramu mines.

Marengo Managing Director Les Emery said following a review of the tailings options for the completion of the feasibility study, and discussions with various stakeholders, it had been decided to go forward on the basis of a combined rock waste dump and tailings storage facility.

“The facility will be located in close proximity to the Yandera project and processing areas, with the copper concentrate being transferred to a coastal shipping facility by a small diameter pipeline which will where possible, follow existing infrastructure corridors to a coastal loading facility,” he said.

Marengo’s decision blows a big hole in the arguments of the MCC/Highlands Pacific owned Ramu nickel mine and its scientific ‘experts’ that marine dumping is the only feasible and best option for mines in the region.

Marengo also announced a substantial increase in measured resource at the Yandera, which it says is one of the largest undeveloped copper projects in the Asia-Pacific.


Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Greg Anderson in a twist over Mining Law changes

According to Malum Nalu, the ‘PNG’ Chamber of Mines – a lobby group for foreign mining companies – has finally admitted mines are not bringing real and tangible benefits to ordinary citizens in PNG – but it opposes changes to resource ownership laws.

The proposed changes may not be the right solution, but Greg Anderson, executive officer for the Chamber, is looking increasingly stupid and he says in one breath, look we know its not working but the current laws “ensure benefits for everyone” and the current system is “one of the most equitable in the world”.

Truth is Greg Anderson and the Chamber are perfectly happy with the current status quo in which only the foreign miners, and the politicians and bureaucrats they work through, benefit while they make lofty but worthless statements about improving governance and transparency.

And of course Greg never mentions the world class environmental damage caused at Ok Tedi, Panguna and Porgera or the thousands of lives lost….

By Malum Nalu

The key resources issue in PNG today is the challenge in converting benefits into real and tangible improvements in the lives of everyday citizens, according to the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, The Nationalreports.

This is the industry view on the current Mining Act and the proposed Mining (Amendment) Bill being mooted by North Fly MP Boka Kondra, and most recently Western province Governor Bob Danaya.

Chamber executive officer Greg Anderson said its stance was related to the growing corruption and mismanagement issue which could only be addressed through increased governance and transparency

“Changing ownership will not address this problem,” he said,

“It requires a fundamental shift in the way that governments and landowner leaders manage, utilise and distribute resource benefits, and the way they report on this to their respective constituents.

“It all comes down to effective management, transparency and integrity, and a dedication to serve the people.”

The chamber says the current Mining Act ensures that the development of extractive resources was for the benefit of all citizens, now and in the future [er, but Greg you just said this is NOT working…]


Filed under Corruption, Environmental impact, Financial returns

New Guinea Gold Corp mining leases and exploration license renewed

By Malum Nalu

New Guinea Gold Corporation (NGG) chairman Ces Iewago yesterday welcomed renewal of its mining leases and exploration licenses at Sinivit in East New Britain, The National reports.

Pursuant to the recommendation of the Mining Advisory Council, Minister for Mining, Byron Chan has now executed formal instruments renewing the company’s expiring mining leases and mining easement (ML 122 and ME 70) and its exploration license (EL 1140).

The ML 122 has been renewed and extended for a further 10 years with a new expiry date of Feb 15, 2022.

ME 70 has been renewed for a period of eight years and now expires on Feb 15, 2020.

The exploration license (EL) has been granted for a further two years as is standard in Papua New Guinea and now expires on May 10, 2013.

“This is a great outcome for New Guinea Gold and reflects well on the relationship that has been fostered with the PNG authorities,” Iewago said.

“The company now has certainty of tenure and a great basis for moving ahead.

“We look forward to working closely with all of our stakeholders to maximise the value and benefits deliverable from the Sinivit mine and the surrounding high-potential exploration acreage.

“The possible addition of the state as a stakeholder in the project would be welcomed and the expression of interest confirms the belief the PNG government has in the potential of the project.”

The renewal of the MLs contained several ministerial conditions, which reinforce the ssState’s and company’s obligations under the applicable legislation.

Two of those conditions are material in nature:

  • •The company is required to change its processing method within 24 months from the date of approval to a “new and more efficient ore processing system”. This is consistent with the company’s current strategy and plans are underway to accommodate such a change should the definitive feasibility study (DFS) produce a positive economic outcome; and
  • That the company enter into discussions with the state’s representatives to assess the state’s participation in the mining lease.

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Namosi landowners staying firm to no mining!

Landowners of Newcrest’s proposed billion dollars copper and gold mine in Fiji says pressure is intensifying for them to drop their opposition and allow mining to proceed.

And executives of the landowners are saying in spite of what officials of government and Newcrest are saying or doing, they will hold Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama to his word at their last meeting in January.

“The PM told us that when Newcrest had completed rehabilitating land that was damaged by their exploration, it would be up to us to decide whether mining should go ahead,” said landowners. NJV timeline of rehabilitation is for 1 month. This one has been going on for over 2 months.

“So even though his senior officials are telling us that we drop our opposition to mining, we, the Landowners remain adamant with our demands – WE DONT WANT OUR LAND TO BE MINED. FULLSTOP.”

A survey was done by landowners and 92% of Namosi and Nawaidina do not want SPL 1420 to continue. 8% were for mining.

May be one day our land will be mined…but we will own it, we will monitor our own environment & its negative effects, it will boost the Fijian Economy instead of some multinational corporation getting all the benefit and live us with the toxic waste and a devastated environment like in some countries. Even if the NJV packs up and live, a Chinese company will come in. We will be even readier to face them.

Landowners confirmed that PM’s permanent secretary, military colonel Pio Tikoduadua has visited them on several occasions to ask them to allow Newcrest and its two smaller Japanese investors to finish off their exploration work, and then allow for full scale mining proceeding.

Pio Tikoduadua has been lying to the people of this nation through the media that rehabilitation is very successful. In fact it’s not, because there have been spillages every day.

There has been talk about “Sustainable mining”. In fact there is no such thing in this world as sustainable mining. When trees are uprooted, a 1 km hole is dug in the ground with 2 km width…..massive soil erosion occurs, destruction to the habitat of native birds species and plants. How can that be sustainable? Land has ears and eyes and a soul.

And contrary to a media report last week, landowners say they have yet to meet with PM Bainimarama.

They also confirmed receiving from Newcrest an offer for an office space and a vehicle to help with their work with landowners in the proposed mine site, up in the mountain ranges of Namosi and Naitasiri provinces, 100km west of the capital, Suva.

The spillage in Waisoi cannot be controlled. It continues every day. Landowners continue to be proactive and document evidences of destruction to their environment

Newcrest reportedly wanted to pay rent up to $3000 a month, and a 4 by 4 vehicle which landowners can use to seek the views of its members about the future of mining in their province.

Landowners said they had to decline the Newcrest offer.

Our future generation will depend a lot on our decision today. If we have struggle for years to save our environment for our future generation – so be it. NJV will pack up and go and whether they live behind good or bad – the decision is on us now to make. One thing is clear to us landowners though, we will never live behind the rot for our children to bear its burden in years to come.


Filed under Corruption, Environmental impact, Fiji, Human rights

K67 trillion lost to the mining and oil industry over the last 37 years: Danaya

By Malum Nalu

Western province governor Dr Bob Danaya has accused the mining and petroleum sectors of siphoning out of the country at least “K67 trillion” over the last 37 years, The National reports.

Danaya has claimed that these sectors were responsible for the country’s loss of K67 trillion over that length of time.

This is the reason why the ownership of minerals, oil and gas should go to the landowners, he says.

Under the Mining Act, and Oil and Gas Act, all minerals, oil and gas existing on, in or below the surface of any land in PNG are the property of the state.

Danaya said he would change these two laws if his PNG Labour Party formed the government,

He told an emotionally-charged press conference on Sunday that the bill to change both the Mining Act and Oil and Gas Act was overdue, after having failed to pass in the last parliament term through what was known as the Boka Kondra Amendments.

Danaya was flanked by lawyer and East Sepik Regional candidate Alois Jerewai as well as other PNGLP candidates.

“This is the bill that should have been passed,” Danaya said.

In 2009, North Fly MP Boka Kondra gave notice in parliament that he would introduce amendments to the Mining Act and the Oil and Gas Act to vest ownership of minerals and oil and gas in customary landowners.

“I’ll take it back again to parliament and I’ll make sure that it is passed.”

He claimed 80% of earnings from PNG resources were taken by foreign developers with only 20% coming to PNG, bulk of which was “stolen in Waigani”.

“This is what we are trying to change,” Danaya said.

“This is what’s been happening for the last 37 years.

“How many millions have been taken out of Lihir, how many millions have been taken out of Ok Tedi?

“I say 60/40: 60% for landowners and 40% for developers.

“This is not going to scare investors.”

Jerewai said the exploitation of PNG resources was a form of “neo colonialism” imposed on the people of PNG.

“We (PNGLP) will take the bold step to stop this,” he said.

“We have been sub-servient on our own land.”

The PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum is strongly against the proposed mining amendment bill, which seeks to transfer mineral and petroleum ownership from the state to the landholders.

The chamber is concerned that transfer of mineral and petroleum ownership from state to landholders would be to the detriment of all concerned, including tangible benefits such as money.

“Papua New Guinea has one of the most-equitable benefit sharing systems in the world for mining and petroleum developments,” chamber executive officer Greg Anderson told a recent media workshop.

“It includes the national government, affected provincial and local level governments, and the impacted communities.”


Filed under Corruption, Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

China eyes the Pacific and Indian oceans for experimental seabed mining

By Tuo Yannan and Wang Qian

Experimental deep-sea mining by China of polymetallic nodules that contain copper, nickel and cobalt among other key minerals, can begin as early as 2030, according to the former head of the State Oceanic Administration, reports China Daily.

“With the improvement in deep-sea technology, metal resources under the ocean can be explored and mined within 20 years,” said Sun Zhihui.

Last year, China was among the first group of countries approved by the International Seabed Authority to look for polymetallic sulphide deposits, a recently discovered mineral source, in the Southwest Indian Ridge, a tectonic plate boundary on the bed of the Indian Ocean, he said, adding the country is applying to explore for cobalt in a new area in the Pacific Ocean.

Sun said many countries are developing technologies for commercial mining, but a low-cost method of mining polymetallic nodules has not been found yet.

China has explored more than 80,000 square kilometers of the floor of the Pacific and Indian oceans, Sun said.

Xiang Jianhai, researcher at the Institute of Oceanology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said:

“When we can carry out commercial mining depends on technological development, financial support and the price of key minerals on the market.”

Xiang added that current exploration, such as that carried out by China’s manned deep-sea vessel Jiaolong, will provide the technology and geological information for future mining.

He added the extent of the country’s deep-sea exploration was catching up with that of advanced countries. Scientists estimate that about 480 million to 13.5 billion tons of polymetallic nodules can be commercially mined, Science and Technology Daily reported.

Polymetallic nodules are rock concretions, mostly about the size of a potato, on the seabed containing metals such as cobalt, manganese, iron, nickel and aluminum, which have huge economic potential.

Xiang said the deep-sea environment was much more difficult to mine compared with land, because mining equipment has to endure high underwater pressures and marine corrosion.

Feng Xisheng, deputy director of underwater robot research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the Jiaolong has dived to 6,000 meters. According to China Ocean News, the nation will conduct a 7,000-meter test dive later this year.

For Jin Jiancai, secretary-general of the China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association, another obstacle to commercially mining polymetallic nodules is its effect on the deep-sea environment and ecosystem.

Nodule regrowth can take millions of years and that would make such mining unsustainable.

People have little knowledge of most deep-sea species and environments, making environmental assessment almost impossible, Jin told Science and Technology Daily. He added that a law on deep-sea environment protection should be established to avoid potential harm during exploration and mining.

Improving the legal system relating to deep-sea mining and exploration was the key work of the State Oceanic Administration, Liu Cigui, administration director, said at the administration’s annual conference in December.

An official of the administration, who did not wish to be named, told China Daily that regulation of deep-sea resources exploration and mining is under discussion, with an aim to protect the ocean.

The total output value of China’s marine-based industries was 3.2 trillion yuan ($508 billion) in 2009, accounting for 9.5 percent of the country’s GDP, according to the administration’s website.

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Another international report highlights ‘serious environmental and social harm’ caused by mining industry in PNG.

PNG has struggled to capitalise on its natural abundance, and in some cases has ”suffered serious environmental and social harm in the wake of resources development”, says a team of international researchers in an authoritative new report on the impacts of the Exxon-Mobil LNG project to be launched today.

Despite its bountiful resources – PNG is an island of gold, floating in a sea of oil, surrounded by gas, so the ritual boast goes – in terms of exploitation the result over the years ”has at best been mixed, with few long-term benefits being passed on to the wider population”, writes Jo Chandler, quoting from the report in todays Sydney Morning Herald.

These failures are due to a mixture of factors, foremost among them failures of governance – ”the absence of good institutions and sound economic policy” – and the fragility of vulnerable indigenous populations, many of whom struggle with the social fallout of the roller-coaster rush to modernity that comes in the wake of mining and logging operations.

Read more in the Sydney Morning Herald.

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Filed under Corruption, Environmental impact, Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

DEC failings allow Newcrest and Harmony to escape sanction for Hidden Valley cyanide poisoning


Filed under Corruption, Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Call for new PNG government to stop experimental seabed mining

There’s been a new call for the incoming government in Papua New Guinea to stop the Nautilus Experimental Seabed mining project going ahead.

Listen: Call for new PNG government to stop deep sea mining (Credit: ABC) 

The National co-ordinator of the environment group, Mas Kagin Tapani Association, Wenceslaus Magun says just about every mining project in PNG so far has been an environmental disaster.

He says with weak legislative controls and poor infrastructure and the experimental nature of the Nautilus project, he fears the worst.

Presenter: Brian Abbott

Speaker: Wenceslaus Magun, the national co-ordinator of the PNG environment group, Mas Kagin Tapani Association

Listen to the interview

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