Monthly Archives: May 2016

Fiji: Father’s Wedding Plans For Son Crushed

Waseroma Lava (right), and daughter, Asilika Fisher yesterday. Insert is the late Floyd William. Photo: Peni Drauna

Waseroma Lava (right), and daughter, Asilika Fisher yesterday. Insert is the late Floyd William. Photo: Peni Drauna

Peni Drauna | Fiji Sun | 25 May, 2016

A father’s big wedding plan was ruined after his 29-year-old son died at the bauxite mining site of Xinfa Aurum Exploration (Fiji) Limited at Matasawalevu in Dreketi last weekend.

Nabavatu villager Waseroma Lava in Dreketi said his son Floyd William was the eldest of six siblings and was supposed to get married in August.

“He was working as a supervisor for his company for two years,” the 49-year-old father said.

“On Saturday, an employee of his company came to us with a message stating that William was crushed by a conveyor belt carrying soil containing bauxite.”

He was rushed to the Dreketi Health Centre but was pronounced dead.

“I was in shock and till today I do not believe the details revealed by the company over the cause of his death.

“I do not demand for compensation.

“Instead, I am looking for truth and a valid explanation.

“William was a much disciplined man, kind and friendly.

“He was financially supporting our family since my wife and I are unemployed.

“He was a very talented rugby player who played for Labasa Army and warden team.”

When Fiji Sun contacted Xinfa Aurum Exploration (Fiji) limited managing director Sireli Dagaga yesterday he said he could not comment.

“The Fiji Police Force, Department of Mineral Resources and Department of Labour are carrying out their individual investigations,” Mr Dagaga said.

“During the incident there was no eye-witness and it would take us a while to comment.”

Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Semi Koroilavesau said his northern team was informed yesterday of the incident at Dreketi last weekend. The team was there now to conduct investigations on the site.

Meanwhile, Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said this case was a work related accident and investigation continues.

The post mortem of the victim is yet to be conducted.

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New firm repairs Tolukuma mine

tolukuma

The National, aka The Loggers Times | May 24th, 2016

THE Asidokona Mining Resources, the new operator of the Tolukuma mine, is rehabilitating the mine, director Vincent Siow says. 
Siow said an independent mining consultant had been engaged to assist in the process. 
The mine was handed over by Petromin Holdings Limited (now Kumul Mineral Holdings Limited) last December. 
“A short five months have transpired and we have been busy trying to rehabilitate the mine,” Siow said. 
He said the mine was flooded because the previous owner had stopped dewatering it.
“Realising the gravity of the situation, and having being selected as the preferred bidder for the mine, we arranged with Petromin (previous owner) in September 2015 to allow us to commence dewatering the mine and we have been dewatering it since then,” he said.
“To date, we are yet to reach the areas where Petromin last mined.
“We expect to do so within the next couple of months. 
“We have engaged an independent mining consultant to assist with the mining programmes and will undertake some resource drilling and other works necessary to estimate the life of the mine for the mining lease.”
Siow said the company would then be able to make plans accordingly.
“Planning for production is dependent on the outcome of the resources ascertained and indicated from the resource drilling programmes,” he said.
“We expect to be in a position to ascertain the resources available to commence full scale production beginning 2017.
“In the interim, there will be test production runs to assess the equipment status and operational shortcomings which we need to address before commencing efficient production.”
Meanwhile, he said the company had over 238 employees and 150 contractors providing other services.
“A marginal increase is expected when we start full production,”  he said.
“We have also embarked on some exploration studies on a couple of our exploration leases and in the course of which created a road.”

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From the Pacific to London: Ban experimental seabed mining

pacific to london

LONDON: This morning, NGOs and civil society are outside the 5th Annual Deep Sea Mining Summit calling for a ban on a potentially environmentally destructive “frontier” industry. They are calling on the EU to stop funding such reckless development activities and are standing in solidarity with NGOs, churches and community across the Pacific.

Natalie Lowrey, from the Australian based Deep Sea Mining campaign stated, “The South Pacific is currently the world’s laboratory for the experiment of seabed mining. With over over 1.5 million square kilometres of ocean floor already under exploration leasehold the world’s first licence to operate a deep sea mine has been granted in Papua New Guinea to Canadian company Nautilus Minerals Solwara 1 project in the Bismarck Sea.”

The Alliance of Solwara Warriors, which is made up of over 20 communities and organisations across the Bismarck and Solomon Seas, are making a stand to ‘Ban Seabed Mining’ in PNG and the Pacific.

Patrick Kaupun, from the Alliance of Solwara Warriors stated, “We call on Papua New Guineans and allies internationally to stand up and defend the Bismarck Sea and all other seas under threat from seabed mining. Our government and Nautilus Minerals have not got the people’s free prior and informed consent. The sea is our life. We exist because the sea exists. We will not continue to remain quiet and passive. We have a responsibility to those generations that come after us; to those yet unborn.”

Janet Tokupep, also from the Alliance of Solwara Warriors said, “Judging from the monster size of the machines that will be tested in our seas, there is no question that this new “frontier” industry will destroy our environment and communities in PNG and the Pacific. With such serious liabilities in the face of an untested and untried industry, including the fact that we currently have terrible track records of terrestrial mining, seabed mining is a disastrous investment.”

Joseph Lambert from London based organisation, The Gaia Foundation said, ‘This highly experimental mining is being rushed ahead with more concern for profit than the damage it will do to the environment and communities. Our oceans are already facing unprecedented warming and acidification; when we should be caring for it most, mining companies are devising new ways to pollute it.’

recent report from the World Bank stated that Pacific Island countries should take precaution over any plans for mining of their seabed’s due to a high risk of irreversible damage to their ecosystems. This calls into question EU funding towards the development of seabed mining in the Pacific, an industry which would be unacceptable in its own member countries. 

“This is 21st Century colonialism”, explained Lowrey. “By funding and endorsing this experimental extractive industry, the EU are complicit in continuing the ‘empire’ tradition in which it believes it should be free to rape and pillage the Pacific for its own profit.”

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

Ramu landowner asks MRA to relax cease order

basamuk mcc ramu mine

Post Courier | May 24,2016

THE Mineral Resources Authority has been asked to relax its cease order for the operations of the Ramu nickel and cobalt mine in Madang. Mathew Dengua, the principal landowner of Kurumbukari mine area in the Bundi LLG made this call following the ongoing month long cessation of operations since investigations commenced into the tragic accident that killed one employee and injured others there.

Mr Denguo said the cease order issued on April 15 is discriminatory, too harsh and causes unnecessary financial burden to the already volatile nickel and cobalt developer and its financiers.

“The order is totally discriminatory and we the landowners ask MRA to relax the order by allowing two HPAL to operate after necessary rectification,” Mr Denguo said.

He said incidents and fatalities do happen in any industries and asked the Mines Inspectorate to understand the economic repercussion of the cease order, not only on the project but its negative ripple effects on those that depend on it.

“The contractors to Ramu NiCo project are affected now with cuts in employment. Procurements of goods and services in the province and country are slowing down. “Taxes by employees and other benefits to the Government are cut and this is an economic concern,” he said.

“This project brought a lot of benefits to us and we are supportive of it. “The current problem needs all parties to solve and will take some time but we ask for the operation of two HPAL to commence soon so benefits to the landowners keep flowing.

“We must ensure this project operates soon. It is very important for the economy, our bilateral relationship with China and importantly demonstrating to foreign investors our acceptable and flexible standards or legal requirements and procedures for future investors.

“MRA must demonstrate some common sense and wisdom. There are mines and industries throughout the world that killed hundreds. With Ramu NiCo, we must minimise any fatality to the best of our abilities,” Mr  Denguo said.

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Filed under Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

JOIN THE CALL FROM ACROSS THE PACIFIC – BAN SEABED MINING

stop esm banner

Come down to the Cumberland Hotel in London (Great Cumberland Pl, London W1H 7DL) at 8:00am on Tuesday morning where the International Deep Sea Mining Summit will be taking place. Show your solidarity with the Alliance of Solwara Warriors – an alliance of over 20 communities and organisations from within the Bismarck Sea area of Papua New Guinea who are calling for a BAN ON ALL SEABED MINING.

The South Pacific Ocean is currently the World’s Laboratory for the Experiment of Deep Sea Mining. With over over 1.5 million square kilometres of ocean floor already under exploration leasehold the world’s first licence to operate a deep sea mine has been granted in Papua New Guinea to Canadian company Nautilus Minerals who will be at the Deep Sea Mining Summit.

The Deep Sea Mining Summit is being held a week before Nautilus Minerals AGM in Toronto, Canada on 1st June. This a chance to let them know that there is an International alliance who stand with Pacific communities and the Alliance of Solwara Warriors.

The action is supported by the Deep Sea mining Campaign and the London Mining Network

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Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Pacific region

Nautilus: ‘Solwara 1 seabed mine is an experiment’

pacific nuclear experiment

The Pacific has been used before for experiments – with terrible human and environmental costs

Nautilus Minerals has finally admitted it will use Solwara 1 as the test site for an expensive and potentially destructive experiment in which the potential victims are the rich marine environment of the Bismarck sea and the indigenous communities living along its coastline.

In its 2015 Annual Information Form [pdf 1.2MB], submitted to Canadian regulators in March and available on the company website, Nautilus says it does not know if its plans for seabed mining are financially or technically feasible or what the environmental and social impacts will be.

There are ‘significant risks’ says the company and it can give ‘no assurance’, but rather than conducting further studies, it is pressing ahead with Solwara 1 to try and “demonstrate that seafloor resource development is commercially viable and environmentally sustainable”. (p24)

Nautilus warns ‘there is significant risk with this approach and no assurance can be given that the system will successfully demonstrate commercial viability’ .(p52)

Nautilus admits:  

  • It is going ahead with the mine despite ’not having completed and not intending to complete any preliminary economic assessment, pre-feasibility study or feasibility study’ (p52)
  • It does not know if its technology will work in the sub-sea conditions or if it will work with the materials to be mined or even if the different technologies will work together in a single application (p52)
  • “Performance, availability, reliability, maintenance, wear and life of equipment are unknown” (p54)
  • Its approach is ‘to first test the operational viability of the whole production system at Solwara 1 in order to demonstrate if these technologies can cut and recover the minerals’ (p52)

Amazingly, even if the mining equipment does actually work, Nautilus still doesn’t know if there are any commercial quantities of minerals to be recovered. In the Information Form, Nautilus admits it has not even drilled the seabed, the resource ’has only essentially been surface sampled’. Without proper testing by drilling, the published results “should be considered of low [sic] confidence” (p46).

Perhaps even more damning, Nautilus admits it does not know what the actual impacts of the mining operations will be on the environment (p61).

Given these startling and damning admissions, will the Papua New Guinea authorities now step in and stop this giant experiment with people’s lives, livelihoods, culture and environment?

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

Foreign miners don’t want changes to PNG laws

ramu mine highlands pacific

Highlands Pacific is the company behind the marine dumping of waste from the Ramu mine

‘New acts can be risky for mines’

Post Courier | May 20, 2016

NOW is not the time to introduce more risks tampering with the legislative regime governing PNG’s mining industry.

This warning by Chairman of Highland’s Pacific Limited Ken MacDonald is in light of pressure already being imposed onto the industry by depreciating prices.

He noted legislative reform among external challenges which posed the potential impact on companies operating in PNG.

“I refer in particular to the MRA Amending Act 2015 and proposals for a new Mining Act.

“The amendments to the MRA Act include doubling the rate of a production levy, giving the MRA control over the proceeds of that levy and removing the industry from any representation on the MRA Board.

“Perhaps more importantly a review of the Mining Act is being contemplated and while the situation remains fluid, it is important that care be taken to ensure that the new Act does not, because of lack of full consultation with industry and a full appreciation of the issues and ramifications of proposed changes, end up with legislation that discourages further investment in PNG,” he said at the annual general meeting yesterday.

Mr MacDonald noted that in the last year the Papua New Guinea Chamber of Mines and Petroleum reported a number of major players in the industry pulling out of joint venture farm-in deals and relinquishing of many exploration tenements.

Further the Chamber reported that grass roots or preliminary exploration had declined markedly since 2011 and it expects that further contraction will take place this year.

“In any reforms of the existing legislative scheme, it is vital that the PNG Government makes sure that whatever is done we set the scene for growing the pie, for it profits no one to be bickering over shares of a pie that is diminishing as we argue,” he said.

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