Monthly Archives: April 2014

Crater Gold Mining unveils high grade broad gold hits, Papua New Guinea

Proactive Investors 

Bird of Paradise in the Crater Mountain WMA

Bird of Paradise in the Crater Mountain WMA

Crater Gold Mining should trade firmer after revealing initial high grade gold results from diamond drilling at its High Grade Zone project on Crater Mountain, Papua New Guinea.

Standout intersections included: 1 metre at 20.9g/t gold from 14.5 metres; and 29 metres at 3.39g/t gold from 43 metres.

The 29 metre hit also included higher grade sections of 2.5 metres at 16.53g/t gold from 47 metres, and 0.5 metres at 24.7g/t gold from 56.5 metres.

Further assays are pending.

As drilling progresses on dip and strike, the data will be assessed to determine when it can be modelled to delineate measured, indicated and inferred resources.

Importantly, results received to date highlight the strong correlation with the geology and grades encountered directly 40 metres above in the underground development.

Further strong results are all within the planned mining zone, where drilling confirmed a broad mineralised zone hosting narrow high grade structures over a strike of 60 metres, and 90 metres down dip.

The High Grade Zone project is earmarked to commence gold production subject to the outcome of a mining lease application, which should be known shortly.

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Filed under Exploration, Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

‘Leave sea at peace’ plea to NZ mine company

Laird Harper | Fairfax

Trans-Tasman Resources has come face to face with two South Taranaki iwi vehemently opposed to seabed mining.

The landmark hearing, run by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), has been under way in Wellington since early March, but yesterday submitters were heard in the affected region.

The hearing is the first to be heard under new Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) legislation, and the judgment by the five-strong panel would set a precedent for future seabed mining applications.

TTR was challenged from the minute they set foot on Pariroa Marae, near Patea.

During the powhiri, Archie Hurunui, who spoke for Ngati Ruanui and Nga Rauru, made it clear what he thought of the proposal.

“No. No. No,” he said.

“Leave the sea at peace.”

And there was no let up inside the marae. Te Runanga o Ngati Ruanui Trust spearheaded the push with a three-pronged attack targeting flaws in the company’s consultation process and gaps in the proposal.

Trust chief executive Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said TTR’s consultation was nothing short of poor and they had overpromised and under-delivered.

Ngarewa-Packer said TTR had not provided any certainty of the cumulative damage or shown they could deal with the long-term environmental impact.

“It would be remiss of me not to state that TTR have poor consultation.”

If given the green light the operation would cover an area of 65.76 square kilometres, near the Kupe oil rig.

TTR proposes to extract up to 50 million tonnes of sediment per year and process it aboard a floating processing storage and offloading vessel. About 5 million tonnes of iron ore concentrate would then be exported.

Ngarewa-Packer said every time they had asked for specific data they had only received a broad-scope reply designed to “placate”.

“This is unprecedented.

“How the hell are you guys going to put conditions around this?

“Because we can’t figure out how to do it and we have spent hours, and days, and nights, and weekends trying to do it.”

Ngarewa-Packer also took exception to two of the iwi submitters being called non-expert witnesses.

She said with 46 oil wells, the largest earth-based dam and the Fonterra outfall in their backyard they were well and truly experts.

“What we have been able to do is eyeball some of the best practising extractors in the country and some of the worst. We’ve been able to then use our neutral advantage to give the Crown advice to then get to know the sector.”

Nga Marae o Nga Rauru Kiitahi kaumatua Turama Hawira said the proposal transgressed customary tribal laws and the proposal was detrimental to all people of New Zealand no matter their race, creed or colour.

Another submitter, Karanga Morgan, challenged the EPA to do the right thing.

“You owe it to successive generations to reconcile this situation and to design a stronger future.”

The hearing continues today.

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Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, New Zealand

State of emergency declared in Porgera

Radio New Zealand

In Papua New Guinea the government has declared a state of emergency in the mining township of Porgera.

The Post Courier reports more than one-hundred policemen and soldiers from Port Moresby and Mt Hagen are already on the ground in Porgera.

It says the rapid increase in uncontrollable illegal mining activities within the mine lease area and other law and order issues in the valley has prompted the state of emergency.

The paper says illegal miners are extracting gold from the mine site which has continuously disrupted production and risked shutting down the Barrick-operated world class open cut Porgera gold mine.

 

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Filed under Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

St Barbara faced with issues at Gold Ridge

Esmarie Swanepoel | Mining Weekly

Gold miner St Barbara was facing a number of challenges as it continued the suspension of operations at its Gold Ridge operation, in the Solomon Islands.

The ASX-listed St Barbara suspended mining operations at Gold Ridge at the start of April, and subsequently temporarily evacuated the mine site following torrential rains that caused significant damage to infrastructure.

A force majeure was declared under certain of the mining and supply agreements, but St Barbara was adamant that the company had not abandoned the mine.

A site rehabilitation plan has been provided to the government, detailing measures to reduce water levels in the tailings dam, as well as work to secure the processing circuit and remove hazardous materials. The gold miner has also continued to pay its employees and suppliers, while keeping in contact with government officials.

However, St Barbara noted that while a team had been ready to undertake remedial work at the mine since April 14, the Solomon Islands government has advised that a number of the company’s expatriate officers and managers were not allowed to return to the Solomon Islands until further notice.

Director Tim Lehany said that the government had given no reason for this order, with Lehany adding that the inability of certain personnel to travel to site would cause a delay in the assessment and stabilisation of work at Gold Ridge.

“We continue to engage with the Solomon Islands government in an effort to return to the mine, but cannot return personnel to a situation where their safety and security may be under threat,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Gold Ridge operation has also been subjected to illegal mining in the absence of mining personnel on site.

Lehany expresses his concerns regarding the safety of the illegal miners, who re-entered the openpit mine areas.

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Filed under Environmental impact, Solomon Islands

Is Barrick Gold’s chairman stepping down or was he shown the door?

Canadian business legend Peter Munk bows out, kills merger in the mix

Christian Pena | Now Magazine

Munk Barrick web-11_large

In a crucial moment for Canadian mining royalty Barrick Gold Corporation, its legendary founder and chairman Peter Munk steps down this week at its annual shareholder meeting in Toronto.

Munk’s departure has been the talk of the mining industry this year. His retirement will leave a legacy at the company and in the sector itself, but whether that’s a legacy for success or environmental degradation in Chile and Papua New Guinea, as well as alleged serious human rights violations, remains to be seen.

The Hungarian-born mining mogul leaves a handpicked successor John Thornton at Barrick’s helm.

Few details have been made public surrounding the circumstances of Munk’s departure, but the company has also been through perhaps its roughest streak yet.

Until this morning, it was in the midst of merger talks with its chief rival Newmont Mining. Newmont chairman Vincent A. Calarco sent a letter addressed to Thornton saying that Munk, referred to as co-chairman, had killed the deal, calling it “dead.” In the letter, the company says, “That unilateral declaration made us question whether we actually shared the vision and values that are necessary to forge a successful new company.” The letter says they have unanimously decided not to pursue the deal.

Clearly, Munks retirement will leave a noticeable absence of audacious leadership. At 86, still donning his classy fedoras and neck scarves, the man is noticeably frail. But if this letter is any indication, he’s still the same man known for his bold business decisions.

More than three decades ago, Munk, then the founder of oil and gas company Barrick Resources, held his first annual meeting announcing the unorthodox switch to gold extraction following huge financial losses in oil and gas.

It was a decade before the company became Barrick Gold Corporation. Today, Barrick is worth about $22 billion, and with more than a dozen mines globally, it is the largest gold company in the world.

As Munk gives his final address at this week’s meeting, the question remains: is the business legend stepping down or being shown the door?

The company is currently trying to recover from one of its worst years on record with numerous write-downs (a reduction in the net income) making the overall value US$10.37-billion.

The largest culprit in these losses is its flagship Pascua-Lama mine project that is currently suspended for failing several environmental regulations.

Also, its acquisition of Equinox Minerals mining company for US$7.69 billion has been disappointing and forced the company to write-down US$4.2 B.

Both investments have seemingly hurt the company and plunged it further into debt and contributed to the loss of its AAA Credit rating.

“Rising costs, poor capital allocation and the pursuit of production growth at any cost in the industry have led to declining equity valuations across the sector,” CEO Jamie Sokalsky said in a release to shareholders last year.

Many of Munks long-time supporters and critics were expected to be on hand for the milestone meeting this week.

One of Barrick’s most outspoken critics, Sakura Saunders, said that while Munk can be linked to some of the more negative business decisions, his departure has little impact on the direction of the company.

“He has done a horrible job, their share prices are down. But the company is not resolving the issues I care about, whether he is in power or not,” she said.

According to a report by Human rights Watch, private security guards employed at the Porgera Gold mine owned by Barrick have been implicated in alleged gang rapes and other violent abuses.

The Norwegian Pension Fund investigated whether riverine tailings disposal from the Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea caused severe environmental damage. It established that the mining operation at Porgera created enough pollution that the fund excluded Barrick Gold on ethical grounds in 2009.

One of the more controversial projects under Munk’s leadership has been the Pascua Lama project under development for the past 20 plus years in northern Chile.

It was considered a feather in the company’s cap because it would be a low-cost gold, silver and copper mine. The project, located almost 5,000 metres high on the border of the Chilean-Argentine mountains poses many risks. The project would use large amounts of water and chemicals such as cyanide to separate the gold. If even a small amount of waste drained into the rivers it would have devastating effects for the community living in the valley already suffering from low water levels.

The project has hit several roadblocks with communities protesting the mine, several lawsuits filed against Barrick and paying millions of dollars in environmental fines.

Barrick spent $6.7 B on the mine site before the shut down last October, however its cost have increased to an estimated $8-$8.5 B.

To top it off, just last week it was reported that a multi-billion dollar securities class action suit had been launched on behalf of shareholders against the company and several of its senior officers, including Munk, over the losses on Pascua Lama.

It is one of several lawsuits filed over the years against the company’s production of the site, including others by indigenous communities claiming illegal use of their ancestral lands, and others claiming a share in mining rights on the land.

The law firm representing the shareholders is expected to file a more detailed statement of claim in the next 30 days. But, if past cases are any indication, the powerful company will likely put up a vigorous fight.

Many will be wondering this week if Munk’s departure will lead to a turnaround for the company, or if the damage has been too great to be undone. Saunders, who also edits the site Protest Barrick and often leads the group of protestors outside of Barrick’s annual meetings, called the lawsuit a sign of the company’s demise. “While I much prefer Barrick’s money to go toward the communities whose lives it has hurt and whose environment needs repair, there is some sort of poetic justice to Barrick’s own demise being the greed of their own shareholders. And it’s really important to note.”

Representatives from Barrick Gold were contacted for this article but did not provide comment.

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Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Raped by the International Seabed Authority

VPA

Vented topsoil nation
1500m below the sea
A Bismarkian mystery
Raped by the International Seabed Authority.

Yeah, I know
We weren’t even there
To say aye or nay
But we’re gonna fuck it anyway.

“Inevitable environmental damage”
Plays backseat to the real “need”
And the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea
Gives the poor folks some of the proceeds…
Yippee.

“We are at the threshold of a new era of deep seabed mining.”
Knowledge well worth having
But not executing
Not on this planet.

The Clarion-Clipperton Zone
An entire alien race’s home
They think they have it all mapped
But it doesn’t depict their head up their ass.

“Proper controls equals proper sustainabilty.”
Are bold words for someone with no accountability
It’s just a paycheck
For someone who doesn’t give a shit.

Soil Machine Dynamics
Accomplishes the fantastic
With seafloor mining tools
Never before used.

We rise up
As we fall down
Choking on our own failures
With eyes to the sun.

Children protest against experimental seabed mining plans

Children protest against experimental seabed mining plans

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

World Bank having to fund projects for Mining Women

Mining Women Associations receive funding assistance

EMTV

womeninmining

Up to K135, 000 has now been made available to each woman association in all mining affected areas in the country.

The Mineral Resources Authority, under the second World Bank’s Mining Sector Institutional Strengthening Technical Assistance Project, has made this possible.

This program is run only for the 8 producing mines of Ok Tedi, Porgera, Ramu, Hidden Valley, Tolokuma, Simberi, Lihir and Sinivit.

The mining sector in Papua New Guinea has contributed over 9% to GDP since 2005. Mineral deposits, including oil, copper, and gold, account for about 72% of export earnings each year.

Women leaders for the various mine affected areas today, revealed that they and their children do not benefit much from the various mining initiatives and activities in respective provinces.

Participants included associations from Sinivit mine in East New Britain, Ok Tedi mine in Western Province, Tolokuma in Central, Simberi and Lihir in the New Ireland Provinces.

They shared their experiences with other women leaders and representatives of MRA and facilitators of the workshop, GRM International. For many it was a first time experience.

Under the women in mining small grants programme, the range of grants to be disbursed will range between K13, 500 to K135, 000 per project. Each women will be assisted by their respective environment officers, to write project proposals to receive this fund.

The women have been urged to utilize these grants wisely so that in the near future, or when the mines are closed, they can support other women and youths programs. They expressed interest in establishing agricultural projects, poultry, pot plants, and child care just to name a few. The women were told to demonstrate leadership roles, build capacity, and always be accountability.

This funding assistance is available to women associations or groups in the 8 producing mining areas; Ok Tedi, Porgera, Ramu, Hidden Valley, Tolokuma, Simberi, Lihir and Mount Sinivit.

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Filed under Financial returns, Papua New Guinea