Monthly Archives: March 2014

MCC finally responds to gas pollution claims

Taro plant damaged by the gas

Taro plant landowners say was damaged by the gas leak from the processing plant

Miner denies claims

The National aka The Loggers Times

RAMU NiCo Management (MCC) Ltd, which manages the US$2.1 billion nickel/cobalt project in Madang, dismissed claims of gas pollution at its Basamuk refinery last month.

Landowners living near the Basamuk refinery claimed there had been unknown an gas leak from the refinery’s acid tank which was affecting food crops and plants in the area.

Spokesman Terry Kuning said that happened after an explosion at the refinery in the early hours of a Monday morning last month.

He said on the February 17, an unusual thick white smoke had advanced, via strong winds, southwards towards Mindre and Dein villages.

Kuning said what remained in its path was causing much damage on garden food crops and plants.

When queried yesterday, MCC yesterday denied any pollution at its Basamuk Refinery last month.

The company expressed concern about the manner in which certain media organisations had published reports and allegations.

In a statement, MCC said: “The company has its monitoring mechanism in place, both under its operation environment management plan (OEMP) and daily monitoring.

“In the event that any environment issues arise, the company’s health, safety and environment (HSE) and community affairs (CA) staff are informed so investigations are immediately conducted.”

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UK looks for huge profits from Pacific resource theft

Protesters against seabed mining plans off the Taranaki/Wanganui coast. Photo/File

Protesters against seabed mining plans

UK Government sponsors Pacific seabed mining scheme

Anglo

Through a new subsidiary, called UK Seabed Resources, LMUK has become the first commercial organisation to obtain an exploration licence from the International Seabed Authority (ISA).

Lockheed Martin UK (LMUK), in partnership with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, is predicted to have a high economic potential worth at least £1bn a year to the UK economy through the collection of valuable polymetallic nodules from the Pacific Ocean floor.

These polymetallic nodules are situated about 4 kilometres beneath the ocean’s surface and can provide millions of tonnes of copper, nickel, cobalt and manganese, as well as rare earth minerals, which could be used in the construction, aerospace, alternative energy, as well as other industries.

The seabed exploration area is approximately 1,500 kilometres west of Mexico and 4,000 kilometres south of Hawaii.

Current estimates predict that harvesting polymetallic nodules can contribute approximately £40 billion to the UK national economy, over a 30-year period.

UK Seabed Resources is collaborating with UK government departments and research institutions on environmental and industrial aspects of the project. It must be noted, however, that the firm is concentrated on harvesting of polymetallic nodules and not manganese crusts, which are found on hydrothermal vents.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The award of this exploration licence to UK Seabed Resources is excellent news for British companies and British scientists, and the Government is extremely pleased to have supported it.

“The UK is leading the way in this exciting new industry which has the potential to create specialist and supply chain jobs across the country and is expected to be worth up to £40bn to the UK economy over the next 30 years. With our technology, skills, scientific and environmental expertise at the forefront, this demonstrates that the UK is open for business as we compete in the global race.”

“Environmentally responsible collection of polymetallic nodules presents a complex engineering challenge, but our team has the knowledge and experience necessary to help position the UK at the forefront of this emerging industry,” said Stephen Ball, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin UK and UK Seabed Resources.

“We are offering British companies, research institutions and academia exciting opportunities to become involved in this cutting edge business,” said Stephen Ball.

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Women’s forum discusses Panguna mine

Winterford Toreas | Post Courier

womens forumWOMEN representatives from various organisations in Bougainville attended a two-day special mining forum in Buka.

The forum, which started on Wednesday and ended yesterday, was opened by President John Momis.

The special forum for women was held in response to requests by Bougainville women last year for a separate forum for them to attend and gauge their views regarding the future of the Panguna mine in Central Bougainville.

The forum was also organised as part of the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s ongoing consultative process on the reopening of the mine.

Speaking at the opening of the forum, Mr Momis said he was happy to share important views that ABG has in relation to mining in Bougainville. He said ABG wants to come up with a decision favoured by many people and stakeholders in Bougainville in relation to addressing pressing issues like mining.

“We believe that people’s participation, participation by all sectors, all stakeholders is very important,” Mr Momis said.

“People’s participation from bottom up is important so whatever decision that government makes must come through this consultative, concentual form of decision making.”

He said Bougainvilleans can achieve results if they all have the same vision and dream, adding that if there are important issues that need to be addressed then this should be addressed collectively.

“If there are some important things that need to be addressed, then we must let the people voice out. Inevitably we must reach a decision. We cannot go on and on and on, talk and talk and talk, and waste time,” Mr Momis said.

“Vision is important but pragmatism is just as important.

“Once we know what we want, once we what the what, we must know how to achieve our dream.”

Mr Momis said the staging of such forums was important in relation to transparency, adding it was for people from both sides of the debate regarding the status of the mine.

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MCC says Ramu mine production loss ‘huge’

Poor workmanship and shoody construction has hampered the Ramu nickel mine

Poor workmanship and shoddy construction has hampered the Ramu nickel mine

Ramu NiCo asked to hit 70% output goal

The National aka The Loggers Times

THE financer and major stakeholder in the Ramu NiCo project, the MCC Group, wanted Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Ltd to hit the 70% production capacity this year while aiming at 80%.

After reaching 50% output capacity last October, Ramu NiCo aimed at 70% this year.

However, the MCC-Group pushed the bar to 80% to compensate for the loss since the load commissioning of the project.

This was ahead of the target this year with 70% and 100% production targeted next year.

A delegation from MCC-Group, the China Metallurgical Construction (Group) Corporation visited the Ramu NiCo project in Madang from Feb 19 to March 5.

It comprised MCC vice-president Wang Yongguang general manager of MCC resource sector Zong Shaoxing, deputy general manager Wang Jicheng and deputy deneral manager mining group Wen Kuiwu.

Vice-president Wang said since the project load commissioning, the production loss had been huge and urged the management and staff to put all their efforts together to make improvements as this year would be critical.

“This year (2014) is critical to the survival of Ramu project. The fate of Ramu project is in everyone’s hand,” Wang said.

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Chan: Change will not affect resource owners

If the changes won’t affect resource owners or investors then what is the point of the amendments Mr Chan?

Post Courier

Resource owners want better environmental outcomes and better financial returns

Resource owners want better environmental outcomes and better financial returns

THE proposed changes to the Mining Act 1992 will not affect Papua New Guinean resource owners and investors.

The reassurance from Mining Minister Byron Chan comes as the Mineral Policy and Geohazard Department finalises the amendments to be passed in parliament this year.

“The Mining Act’s amendments is well prepared to be received by the legislative council to advice and consent.

“Major achievements have been done in the dramatic fight to make sure this legislation will never affect Papua New Guineans or averting investors’ confidence in any capacity.

“These changes will be our strength and sovereignty by making this crucial amendment the law of our land,” Mr Chan said.

This is in light of the recent mining review consultative forum which the minister welcomed a debate on how best to simultaneously safeguard the national Government, the mining industry and resource owners.

Mr Chan has taken various proactive steps to advance this debate, including meeting with the members of parliaments and all stakeholders.

He also directed the Mineral Policy and Geohazard Department, the Chamber of Mines to discuss the critical issues that will change with the people and the legislations.

Minister Chan urged all stakeholders to support the amendments and move forward with an approach that appropriately takes into account the need that can best secure Papua New Guinea.

He said though gold and copper prices are low in the stock market, the industry is taking a stance to cooperate with the amendments.

Chan has asked all stakeholders to take a united stand to provide extra leadership to clear up misconceptions and implement sound mining act amendments.

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Regency Mines “well positioned” for market recovery

Giles Gwinnett | Proactive Investors

Regency Mines said it wants to build on progress in 2014 and is well positioned for any recovery in the markets, as it posted its latest half year results

“In 2014, we hope to see further progress as our Australian interests are actively explored and the gradual recovery in the nickel price impacts our considerable nickel investments, both through the exploration joint-venture at Mambare in Papua New Guinea, where we have a 162.5 million tonnes indicated and inferred resource, and through our investment in the DNi nickel treatment technology,” it said in the statement.

In February this year, Regency’s partner Direct Nickel (DNi) announced the successful outcome of its demonstration programme for the DNi process from the test plant in Perth, Australia.

Regency, which owns a 7% stake in DNi, said the process validation report proves the safety and simplicity of the DNi process.

The firm said the proving of this nickel technology could not have occurred at a more “opportune” time.

“Among the advantages of this technology is the ability to install it in a scalable and modular way (reducing initial cost), and we believe that its environmental impact will be less than other alternatives, and the operating costs less.”

Regency chairman Andrew Bell said: “Despite difficult markets in the second half of 2013, we made significant progress in our three principal areas of operation: in Sudan, with Direct Nickel and with the sale of base metal and gold tenements in Western Australia to Ram Resources.

“The actions undertaken in 2013 have positioned Regency well for any recovery in markets. However, irrespective of the direction markets take, we will continue to build on the progress already made with our projects, as well as looking for further opportunities to add shareholder value.”

The loss for the period to end December was £1,059,653 – a narrowing from the comparable figure in 2012, which was a loss of £2,998,622.

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Nautilus reconfirms shaken PNG partnership

PROTEST 2 600 by 400

Justin Niessner | Mining News

JUST weeks after pledging to seek damages following a fizzled investment deal for its Solwara tenement with the Papua New Guinea government, Nautilus Minerals says the partnership remains committed to the project’s success.

Michael Joyner

Michael Joyner

Nautilus investor relations executive Michael Joyner walked Mines and Money Hong Kong delegates through the proposed undersea mine 40km off the coast of New Ireland, saying cooperation with the PNG government was ongoing.

“We have great relationships with the government of PNG at all levels,” Joyner said.

“We are currently negotiating with the government in terms of an amount they are going to put into the company.

“This has been dragging on for some time and it has slowed things down a bit, which I guess isn’t too uncommon in the industry as a whole today.

“But we’re working very hard with them over the last little while and we’re committed to getting this done.”

The comments follow the Toronto-listed explorer’s decision last month to terminate its agreement with the government after the state failed to pay $US118 million ($A129.9 million) for its share of Solwara funding.

This precipitated a selloff of Nautilus shares and fresh concerns about the viability of the world’s first ocean-bed copper-gold operation.

Joyner said yesterday, however, that recent issues with the government had allowed for a great deal of work to continue behind the scenes.

“A lot of people don’t realise just how far we’ve really come,” he said.

“I’d say we’re about 90% through the build of the equipment over all, and about 50% through the pump and the riser system.

Progress was also flagged to include a redesigned 70-tonne capacity production support vessel for which Joyner said the company was fielding several proposals.

A call for tenders is expected to be put out shortly, with a further update from the company in the third quarter.

Nautilus plans to extract high-grade seafloor massive sulphide systems on a commercial scale, using what is effectively a mobile mine based on oil and gas industry technology.

The project is hoped to open the door for future undersea prospects already being developed by the company outside PNG, including the polymetallic nodule exploration work being carried out in the Clarion Clipperton zone of the Pacific Ocean.

“In terms of the pipeline of projects moving forward, we’ve got about 500,000sq.km, that’s about the size of Texas or Chile, which makes us one of the largest landowners in the world,” Joyner said.

“At this point we’re probably given very little value for those projects or for the ground that we have – but as we’re able to see hat we can get the material off the seafloor successfully, I think we’ll see this having the potential to go up exponentially.”

 

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