Monthly Archives: April 2017

PNG Rape Survivors Confront Barrick Gold in Canada 

Joycelyn Mandi and Everlyn Gaupe in Toronto/VICE News

Barrick Gold has been accused by Porgera women, of being complicit in their rape by mine security. Corporate consultant Dame Carol Kidu has defended Barrick Gold before the UN, claiming the company has handled the matter appropriately. Survivors have gone to Canada to argue this is not the case!

Women from Papua New Guinea bring rape complaints to Canadian mining company’s door

Hilary Beaumont | Vice News | April 26, 2017

Two women from Papua New Guinea flew half-way around the world this week to tell their stories of sexual assault at a Canadian mining giant’s shareholders’ meeting — but when they arrived at the meeting, they say they were told they couldn’t speak.

Everlyn Gaupe and Joycelyn Mandi allege they were raped years ago by security guards employed by the Porgera Joint Venture mine, which is co-owned by Barrick Gold and Chinese company Zijin Mining Group. The company has compensated about 130 women, including Gaupe, although she says her payment was not enough. Mandi also sought compensation, but didn’t receive any. The women claim that rapes, beatings, and environmental contamination are still happening at the mine’s dumping site today.

Protesters gather outside of a downtown Toronto building where Barrick Gold held its AGM. Photo by Hilary Beaumont/VICE News

“They said no, they told us we were not going to speak, we don’t know why,” Mandi told VICE News inside the meeting. “We followed every rule to come in to speak. We don’t know. Something’s going wrong.”

Mining Watch Canada paid their airfare and arranged for Barrick shareholders to appoint the women as their proxies so they could ask questions at the end to the meeting. But as they entered the AGM, the women said they were told their proxy shares weren’t valid. Instead, a Mining Watch Canada activist read prepared statements for them.

Jacob Sternberg confirmed to VICE News that he appointed Mandi as his proxy holder so she could speak in his place at the meeting. Rachel Small confirmed that she appointed Gaupe as her proxy. That the women were given the impression they couldn’t speak was “disrespectful, to put it mildly,” she said. The company said while the women were told their proxies were invalid, no one told them they couldn’t speak. Barrick knew a week in advance that the women were coming.

Although they didn’t get to read their statements, the women said they felt proud and happy that their voices were heard inside the meeting. “I am feeling lighter now,” Gaupe said after the meeting. “Barrick and the world have heard us and we are satisfied.”

The women’s visit to Canada comes amid new reports of violence near the mine, and renews questions about the accountability of Canadian mining companies operating overseas — something the Liberal government is facing pressure to address.

Trade minister François-Philippe Champagne is “a little pre-occupied with Trump these days” so the mining file isn’t getting much attention, Liberal MP John McKay told VICE News. However the government is actively considering creating a mining ombudsman’s office that would investigate serious complaints overseas, he said. “I have a sense that they do want to get this done. I have a sense they don’t want to be answering these questions come next election.” 

Champagne’s office said the minister, who was appointed to his position in January, is engaged in the file. He met with Canada’s existing Corporate Social Responsibility Counselor to evaluate how to strengthen the counselor’s role, and has also met directly with the mining sector at the annual Prospector’s and Developers Association of Canada conference in Toronto in March, according to his press secretary.

On March 25, local police funded by the mine entered a settlement in Porgera, Papua New Guinea and burned down a number of houses. During the raid, police allegedly gang raped women and assaulted men, according to a local human rights group the Akali Tange Association. The company disputes that any sexual assault or beatings happened during the raid.

Days before the shareholders meeting, the ATA’s executive officer McDiyan Robert Yapari said he was arrested and charged with reporting false news about the March 25 raid. He said his phone was confiscated and he was accused of tarnishing the reputation of the police.

The company confirmed the raid took place, but said only 18 structures were burned down — not 150 houses as McDiyan had reported — and the whole operation was conducted legally with warrants. However the company did not provide those warrants when VICE News asked to see them.

In interviews with VICE News, Gaupe and Mandi explained that the mine has drawn a large population into the valley around it in search of wealth, and so the valley is crowded with people living in slum-like conditions, making it difficult if not impossible for them to farm and produce food as they used to. Instead, they say the only way to survive is to go to the mine dump site every day to pan for gold, which they can exchange for money to buy rice.

But Barrick security considers this illegal mining and trespassing, so they chase the miners off the site, threatening them with guard dogs and shooting them with rubber bullets, according to the women.

“When they run and catch us, they do whatever they want,” Gaupe told VICE News. “They beat us brutally. …They arrest us too, and for the women we are likely to be raped.”

“It’s happening now, while I’m talking. They like raping us, the security guards,” she continued. “Two weeks ago, we heard three women were seized up by security personnels and they were raped.”

Company spokesperson Andy Lloyd told VICE News the company was aware of another rape report in the last two weeks, but that no claims had been submitted to the company.

“We absolutely condemn sexual assault, it’s a horrific crime and we don’t support it,” Lloyd said following the meeting. “It’s unacceptable and it’s not something we want to see happening on any mine or around any mine that we operate.”

“There is no question that sexual assault is a huge problem in this part of the world,” he added. “We’ve seen surveys where 80 percent of the women in the community have said they have been sexually assaulted by a family member, by members of the community, so it’s a pervasive problem, it’s not a mine problem.”

Mandi said she had submitted a claim to the company’s grievance process in 2014, but had not heard anything from the company since then.

Lloyd explained that the grievance mechanism takes a long time, and is not set up to address serious human rights violations like sexual assault. If someone does submit a sexual assault claim through the grievance process, it gets put aside into a legal claims process, he said. If it’s found to be valid, the mine “would discuss a remedy.” He was unable to say whether any sexual assault allegations had been resolved through this process.

He said there were a large number of claims submitted together in one batch, and there were “issues with documentation” of some of those claims. “I have no idea if her claim was one of those, but that may be a reason for why it has taken some time to actually pursue.” In 2015 alone, the company says it received 805 complaints through its grievance mechanism, although the company would not say how many of those were complaints of sexual assault versus resettlement requests, employment grievances and other claims.

In some cases, local human rights groups will bring grievances forward on behalf of people who say they were wronged by the mine, and Lloyd said the company must do its due diligence to ensure those groups are authorized to represent the complainant.

“The commitment from [President Kelvin Dushinsky] today was to follow up with her and to understand what her claim was, and whether there is anything we can do to help move it along, I think that’s something we’re happy to do,” he said of Mandi’s claim.

The company has no plans at the moment to re-open its remedy framework that previously compensated women for alleged sexual assaults.

Other than the grievance process, women can report sexual assault allegations to a human rights observer in the valley, or to the police, Lloyd explained, although police themselves have been accused of raping women.

Lloyd said the company “has tried to be a positive force” in the dialogue around sexual assault, training police and employees on human rights, funding a police sexual violence response unit and has brought the anti-gender violence NGO White Ribbon to several of its mine sites to raise awareness about the issue.

Gaupe said the company had promised to pay school fees for her children and medical fees, and set up business for women living in the valley. “Empty promises, it didn’t happen,” she said.

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Locals Call For Leaders To Stop Politicising On PNGSDP

Post Courier | April 28, 2017

LEADERS from the special mining Lease area in Ok Tedi in the Western Province have called on intending candidates to stop politicising the PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP).
They said they were making the call after concluding the signing of the heads of agreement for the transfer of 33 percent of the mine to them this week.
They said the road to the finalisation of the deal had been long and challenging after suffering years of neglect and marginal benefits from the mine.
They said this had been the status quo since closure of the Panguna which offsetting opening of OK Tedi which had been the country’s economic backbone for a long time.
“We particularly are very concerned that the matter of the Long Term Fund under the PNGSDP has been used as an issue for people with vested interest to score political mileage at the expense of the very people who are entitled to benefit from this fund,” CMCA region core group chairman Richard Zumoi said.
He also called for the immediate resignation of Sir Mekere Morauta as Chairman of the Board of PNGSDP to remove all possible political interference and influence on the organisation because he should not be politicising the issue in the elections.
He said outside of politics it was time for the people of Western Province to be in control of their own development destinies adding there should be two representatives from their people appointed onto the PNGSDP board.
“We are now demanding that there should not be any more statements relating to the PNGSDP issue unless there is a sincere intention and will to reform the program charter and rules to ensure that the people of Western Province receive full benefits in the form of tangible and sustainable
infrastructure and services because we the people gave the social license for the mine to continue to operate,” Mr Zumoi said.

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Nautilus boosts Mining Minister’s election campaign

With national elections just weeks away, Canadian mining company Nautilus Minerals has given a major boost to the re-election campaigns of Mining Minister Byron Chan and his father, New Ireland Governor, Julius Chan.

Nautilus invited both politicians to be the key speakers at the opening of a new bridge in New Ireland. What a beautiful way for a foreign company to buy the favours of two key politicians… 

Seabed Mining Company Nautilus Minerals Unveils New Bridge In PNG’s New Ireland

Miner yet to begin seabed mining in the Bismarck Sea off New Ireland coast

Rosalyn Albaniel | Post Courier | April 27, 2017

Canadian miner-Nautilus Minerals, this week delivered to the people of West Coast of New Ireland province, an all weather bridge worth K3.1million [US$953,000].

The Pubanom bridge spans 30 metres and has the capacity to take up to 40 tonnes at any one time.

This vital link, situated in ward six along the west coast of Namatanai at Rabehen village, was officially opened by Mining Minister and Namatanai Open MP Byron Chan on Monday.

Those also set to benefit from this bridge are the people of Central New Ireland as well.

Among the dignitaries that had attended this event were New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan, Nautilus Minerals PNG Social and Corporate Responsibility and Security Manager Stanley Komunt, acting Provincial Works Manager Solomon Pela, the managing director Aloga #42, Geraldine Gee, Ward six member Raphael Los.

Mr Komunt had stood in for the chief executive officer Mike Johnston at this event.

He had from the outset conveyed Mr Johnston’s apologies for not being able to attend this important event

He said the CEO was in England attending a board meeting relating to financing matters pertaining to the Solwara 1 project.

He said this event was an important one for the company and had come about as a result of an agreement which Mr Johnston and Sir Julius had signed off back in July 2013.

Mr Komunt said under the agreement, the parties had agreed that the first bridge would be delivered immediately after the signing while a further two after the company had begun production.

He had on behalf of the company, apologised that this had not happened and that this project was now being delivered four years on.

Nevertheless he said he was happy that this project had been completed on time and on budget and would be long lasting long lasting.

Both the New Ireland governor and mining minister had thanked Nautilus for this and the other projects the company has delivered especially at a time when the company had not yet commenced its operations in the province and is yet to make a return.

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Gold Ridge Mine miting long Honiara

Delegesen blong gavman, Gold Ridge CLC an GRML i miting long Honiara ( SIG photo)

Sam Seke | ABC Radio | 26 April 2017

Solomon Islands gavman, Gold Ridge Community and Landowners Council (GRCLC) and kampani blong hem, Gold Ridge Mining Limited i gohet fo expresim strongfala tingting fo maen hem stat baek moa.

Gold Ridge Mine long Central Guadalcanal wea hemi only gold mine olsem long Solomon Islands kamkasem distaem, hem bin klos daon bihaen bigfala flad long 2015 wea hem spoelem tailings dam.

Australian Mining company St Barbara wea hem onam maen long taem ia, hem salem kampani ia long lokol landona kampani Goldridge Community Investment fo 100 Australian dollar nomoa an olketa i lusim Solomon Islands.

Long yestede, gavman hem holem miting wetem olketa evri grup we i involv long maening ia fo talem aot olketa plan an aweanes long plande eria  bae olketa i karem aot long olketa komiuniti. 

Chairman blong Gold Ridge Mining Limited, Walton Naezen hem se kampani hem hapi wetem kaen aweaness fo mekem evri waka fo openem bae maen hem gohet gud.

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Lion One Will Be The Next Gold Mine In Fiji

Fabio Herrero | Seeking Alpha | April 27 2017

Lion One is exploring for gold in the Fiji, and the main project is in the financing phase.

Summary

  • The Tuvatu gold project sports an after tax $86.5m NPV5 with an IRR of 52.3% and a payback of 1.5 years. Moreover there is high-grade exploration potential nearby..
  • Management is experienced and is gearing up for construction by adding new capable mine builders.
  • Project construction will be easily financed and the company has cash on hand to pursue both development and exploration.

Lion One Metals Ltd. owns 100% of the fully permitted Tuvatu Gold Project on the island of Viti Levu in the Republic of Fiji. This project is currently in development and the company is in the financing stage. I am convinced that Lion One is undervalued and could rise substantially in a flat or rising gold environment.

This article will be structured as follows: first, a detailed analysis of the Tuvatu Gold Projec, before mentioning current exploration efforts and the other assets in the company portfolio. This is will represent the core part of our valuation. In the second part of the article we will have specific chapters dedicated to management, capital structure and Fiji as a mining jurisdiction in order to help us get the big picture surrounding the company. Finally, a valuation chapter will provide an out-of-the-envelope valuation of Lion One Metals, before the conclusion that will consist of a buy recommendation and a short cautionary statement about the risk of investing in small caps -always a good exercise before deciding to trade.

The Tuvatu Gold Project

Tuvatu Gold Project is located on Viti Levu, the main island of the Republic of Fiji, and is only 17 km from the Nadi International Airport.

The project is in a caldera setting, and it is located along the ring of fire, that stretches from Japan to The Philippines to Fiji. It is along trend with the caldera-situated Vatukoula gold mine, which has produced 7m oz Au in the last 82 years and is owned by Vatukoula Gold Mines. Incidentally, this is also one of the ten largest epithermal gold systems ever discovered according to a 2012 report by WH Ireland Research.

To read the rest of this article: https://seekingalpha.com/article/4065987-lion-one-will-next-gold-mine-fiji

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Julius Chan drops opposition to experimental seabed mining

With National Elections looming, New Ireland Premier Julius Chan has dropped his opposition to experimental seabed mining – despite community fears.

Is Nautilus helping his re-election campaign?

Post Courier | April 27, 2017

THE New Ireland provincial government has expressed some reservations about the impact that the world’s first ever deep sea mine will have on the future of the people and the province.
However, it acknowledges that this is a national government project.
It is now opting to take a neutral stance on this project and in doing so to work with the project developer and Canadian miner to ensure there are benefits for those who will be impacted and the province at large.
These sentiments were expressed by New Ireland governor Sir Julius Chan during the opening of the Pubanom Bridge project opening at Rabehan village, West Coast Namatanai, early this week.
Sir Julius told guests and the villagers of the west coast and Central New Ireland who had attended this event that he had from the start not agreed to this project.
He said this is for the simple reason that the sea remained the mainstay for the people of island province.
He said given that this project was the first of its kind not just for PNG but the world and he feared the sea which he termed as ‘the people’s garden’ may be destroyed by the mining activities.
However, he said as the leader of the province he was faced with a dilemma.
“As the head of the province the question that hangs in the balance is? What if this project is good for the future generation and for the province and in taking the hardline on the project I stop this and close the door on it.
“In retrospect what if the project is bad and in saying yes I kill the future of our young generation and our province? I am at a crossroad as the head of this province.
“The future is unpredictable and we cannot predict it so I am strongly urging the developer that it must help me and my people and in doing so we must work together to ensure that if this project goes ahead that we donot destroy the future of this province,” the governor said.
Sir Julius had acknowledged the concerns by Cardinal John Ribat on the project however, at the same time had acknowledged also that there was new technology, science and know how also available and this could not stop the project from going ahead.
“ I have chosen to be neutral so if they can convince us that it is good then let us be the first but there with the agreement signed and because we will be the first of other similar projects we must ensure some benefits come back to the province,” Sir Julius said.

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K50 Million Dividends Paid To Landowners Of Western Province

Post Courier | April 25, 2017

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has presented a cheque of K50 million in dividends to the OK Tedi landowners of Western Province.
Mr O’Neill made this presentation following the heads of agreement signing for the transfer of 33 percent equity interest in OTML to the Western Province group yesterday.
He also clarified at the signing that his government has always had the best interest of the people and it was their initial desire to give back the mine to the people including all funds that belong to them.
He said the story of the mine and the people of Western Province is a sad story because the people have been let down by many developers and previous governments.
He said that was why the current government has taken a bold step in correcting all those mistakes and one step was to have full custody of the mine.
“I have made a commitment in 2013 with a desire to return ownership of the mine therefore the heads of agreement signing is the conclusion of this commitment.
This is the time to develop resources and maximise it and there is no doubt that we still need developers however we still need to fix issues that has been prolonged for a very long time such as having all the funds fixed and returned to the people.
All funds from the sustainable development program are still parked and this government has not approved one project under these funds as they are before the court therefore we have not utilised a toea of those funds,” he said.
“I am satisfied with the agreement that is being signed because, the mine can now be managed by the landowners and this has achieved our desire as government to return ownership back to the people.
“We want to give benefits back to the rightful owners, transfer of CMCA back to people, see conclusion of court cases and give money back to the people as well as turning the mine into a profitable project for the benefit of everyone,” he said.

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