Monthly Archives: November 2018

Govt will support coal power plant, says Basil

Peter Esila | The National aka The Loggers Times | November 29, 2018

THE Government will support any type of energy-producing sources developed in the country, including coal, says Minister for Energy Sam Basil.
Basil, one of the major proponents of the coal project in Lae together with Lae MP John Rosso, said this on FM 100 talkback radio yesterday in reference to that project.
Bulolo MP Basil and Ross have already encountered fierce resistance to the project in light of environmental implications.
This includes biomass energy project landowners in the Markham Valley of Morobe.
“We will continue to support all the different power-producing companies using different methods that are coming into PNG to operate, coal being one of them,” Basil said.
“The important thing that we must also look at is that when we start putting new power plants in districts and provinces, I’d like to look more into the landowners, the local level government, districts, towns and the provinces.
“What kind of benefits will we have in return for those people who may have their land and resources available for those projects to take stage?
“We should now be looking at more benefits rolling back into the host districts and provinces, and landowners.”
Basil is aware of resistance to him and Rosso.
“I would like to test new ideas, new ways of doing things because PNG has been neglected for awhile,” he said.
“Our neighbours Indonesia and Australia are heavily dependent – more than 50 per cent – on coal.
“We should be asking ourselves: How can we progress PNG forward? I think that one of the answers is having access to energy.
“We have a lot of raw resources to burn, to produce products for us, decapitating international prices by having access to our own energy here like gas, coal and others.
“It is one of the things that we should be promoting,”
Of solar energy, Basil said: “We are looking for solar places.
“For example, we are asking the DDA (district development authority) of Markham and other districts that have ample land, good sunlight, to make land available.
“Register with the Energy Department so that when people come and look around for putting up solar plants, we have got land there.
“We can also identify potential sites for geothermal.”
Basil said that the National Energy Bill, which would allow for energy investments, was in its final stages.

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Wafi-Golpu Could Be First To Incorporate EITI Provisions

Matthew Vari | Post Courier | November 30, 2018

The Wafi-Golpu Mine is set to be the very first gold project to incorporate the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative provisions included in the agreements for the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture projects set for the Morobe province.
PNG EITI National Secretariat head Lukas Alkan said this early this month when commenting on the push by government and the PNG EITI secretariat to ensure the initiative is rooted in current and future project prospects to ensure effective transparency on revenues in the extractive sector.
“Some of these projects are new projects where the forums are being conducted like Wafi-Golpu and the Freida River.
“The transparency mechanism has been, we are trying to build into those agreements. We started off with Wafi-Golpu project.
“The MoA negotiation that is ongoing there is a provisions there for EITI for reporting purposes in terms of disclosing project agreements,” Mr Alkan said.
He said the secretariat was also looking at the reviews being conducted with Pogera and the other mines.
“We also look at ensuring that transparency mechanisms are built into those revised agreements.
“This is the first time that we are trying to tie in the EITI mechanism into a project that is yet to start.
He said, on the same token, project agreements that have already been signed, the secretariat continues to have difficulties getting disclosure.
“The need for work on certain legislations and the requirements that prevent bodies such as EITI from having access will need to be done in order to have access,” Mr Alkan said.
A learning curve the secretariat will ensure the country maintain transparency with the country’s new major projects earmarked within the next decade.
“This time around we have been proactive to ensure that when the new project is coming on-stream we are making sure that EITI mechanisms are built into those MoAs or agreements so that triggers the disclosure of the agreements when they are signed,” he said.

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Governor Orders Probe Into Ramu Nickel Mine

Gorethy Kenneth | Post Courier | November 28, 2018

MADANG Governor Peter Yama has commissioned a team of environmental experts to immediately conduct an environment damage assessment on the Ramu nickel mine.

Mr Yama announced this yesterday after raising serious concerns on how the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) has handled the environmental damages surrounding the Ramu Nickel Project in Madang.

“It would be irresponsible for me as governor for Madang not to outline to my people the provincial government’s stand on the current and future operations of the US$2.1 billion Ramu Nickel project,” he said.

At the end of 2012, the company completed full construction and started full operations, and was now operating at its peak.

Mr Yama had noted the landowners of Ramu Nickel project’s concern over:

  • The environmental impact, Ramu Nickel project is having on their lives; and
  • The lack of infrastructure, and social inclusion in the sustainability of their lives.

“These issues are serious and the state of the environment is currently unknown, I am aware that Conservation and Environment Protection Authority has not been monitoring the discharge of deep-sea tailings for a couple of years, posing a major threat to our marine environment.

“As such I have immediately commissioned a team of environmental experts including marine biologists to conduct an environmental damage assessment to better place me to seek redress.”

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PNG mine workers “benefit from FIFO lifestyle” claims industry

PNG Resources | November 26, 2018

A questionnaire by the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum has unearthed a range of benefits that the Fly-in/Fly-Out (FIFO) operating model delivers to PNG workers, their families and the broader community.

Distributed to mining projects with PNG employees engaged under FIFO arrangements, the questionnaire revealed inspiring stories and long-term benefits for employees from across PNG.

Thousands of workers within Papua New Guinea’s mining industry are employed on a FIFO basis, complementing the staff drawn from local communities and host provinces.

Respondents cited a number of benefits of the employment arrangement including:

  • Quality time to spend with their partners, children and extended families
  • Time to take part in community obligations, volunteer at their children’s schools and participate in church and community activities
  • Time to focus on achieving personal goals, including home improvements and starting part-time businesses
  • Opportunities to travel
  • Sufficient time to switch off completely and relax away from the pressures of work

Dr Albert Mellam, executive director of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, said the responses also highlighted the financial benefits that FIFO delivers, enabling workers to secure better opportunities for their families, including education and health.

FIFO workers will typically work on a roster such as 15 days at work, then 13 days off; or 21 days on site, followed by 14 days off.  Many PNG mine workers have been participating in a FIFO arrangement for 10 years or more, and express great satisfaction with the FIFO system.

“Our research shows that FIFO workers are in many instances able to achieve life goals in their home communities which would not have been possible in a traditional working arrangement,” said Dr Mellam.

“Importantly, the FIFO employment model provides the best balance of shared benefits to communities right across PNG.

“It enables employees and their families to remain within their own community, rather than permanently relocating to remote areas where the majority of the mines operate. By returning on a regular basis to their families, the economic benefits of mining are spread instead of being concentrated in a single area.”

Senior engineer Joseph Palei of Porgera Joint Venture says as a FIFO worker he is able to spend more time with his family in Lae and use his days off to relax away from the worksite.

“When I return to the gold mine after 14 days, I am more focused and can perform my job to a higher level of safety and diligence,” said Mr Palei.

“Being a FIFO worker has also allowed me to build a home during field breaks and provide better opportunities for my family, including health and education.”

Highly-regarded independent mining expert Richard Jackson recently presented at a Chamber workshop, in which he explained that building a project township for a mine does not necessarily deliver a better outcome for the local community.

“Even from a landowners’ viewpoint, building a project town has some disadvantages. Many of the economic benefits derived from such a township will not accrue to local people unless a great deal of effort is put into planning for them.

“Most resource projects are located in what were previously remote areas whose relative lack of access to the outside world placed very severe restrictions on their potential for trade and economic development. In many cases, despite the construction of roads, airports and other physical forms of communications and despite the arrival of telecommunications, once the project ceases to operate, the basic fact of geography re-asserts itself. They remain remote and at a disadvantage for economic development.

“Building a mining township will provide access to modern services, but only during the life of the mine.”

Mr Jackson said there were several other ways of providing sustainable benefits for local landowners including skills training throughout the life of the project.

“This form of FIFO has a major benefit,” Mr Jackson added. “It means that mine workers spend their earnings in existing towns and villages across PNG and thus spread mining benefits in ways that no government regulations or policies can do.”

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Deep sea mining is bad: Activist

Roselyn Erehe | The Sunday Bulletin | 25th November 2018

DEEP sea mining is a risk to the people’s way of life and a threat to the environment says activist Lucielle Paru.

The deep sea mining which covers 16 marine-time provinces in Papua New Guinea does not have laws governing the seas, said Paru.

“We don’t have any laws governing our seas and how they should be managed,” Deep Sea Mining Campaign- Papua Land Rights Council and activist, Paru said.

There is a high possibility of the deep sea mining running through New Guinea Islands – Manus, East New Britain, and New Ireland; the Momase region – East and West Sepik, Morobe and Madang province; and the Southern region- Oro and Milne Bay provinces.

She raised her concern on the issue of Deep Sea Mining in relation to Papua New Guineans not taking the issue too seriously by letting the government and foreigners mine their land at the helm of the recently concluded Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit.

“That is a very big issue in terms of how the sea should be mined and how to govern the ocean, and whose territory it is,” Paru said.

She called on the people to not only see the benefits of mining but to also see the disadvantages of mining operations in the country.

She said, “The world may be looking at technology and the world maybe looking at mining but how much does that actually benefits us? And we are actually destroying what belongs to us.”

“Why are we allowing other countries to come into our country and destroying what makes us proud”.

Paru will be the first Papua New Guinean to represent the country and bring the ‘deep sea mining’ issue to the United Nations (UN) attention during the UN conference in Geneva- Switzerland from the 26th – 28th November, this year.

Her aim is to ask the UN to ban the deep sea mining in PNG and hopefully in the Pacific as well.

Issues she’ll be raising at the UN meeting are;

  • Mining Territory Claims
  • Environment and Climate change, especially when Papua New Guineans are depending on sustainable living, like fishing.

And basically how all these issues are linked to deep sea mining and how the people of PNG will be affected if its operations take place in PNG and in the Pacific Ocean.

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No power deal to use coal, says Blacklock

“Why should PNG that has all these beautiful water running through its rivers, is sitting on an ocean of gas, rush down the path of dealing with salesmen from other countries who want us to buy a coal-fired power station?”

Helen Tarawa | The National | November 23, 2018

PNG Power Limited acting managing director Carolyn Blacklock says the company does not have any power purchase agreements that involves coal.

She told The National that a proposal for a purchase agreement using coal-fired electricity supplies was “unsolicited”.

“This is not something we went to market for competitive bidding,” Blacklock said.

The Mayur Resources Enviro Energy Park project to be built in Lae has received support from Morobe and Gulf provincial governments, and the endorsement of the Conservation and Environment Protection Agency.

Mayur had agreed to a K125 million funding package for Morobe over 25 years. But it is awaiting the green light from PNG Power.

Energy Minister Sam Basil recently wrote to PNG Power chairman Peter Nupiri stating that Mayur’s response to a solicited request from Blacklock should be presented to the board for consideration.

He requested PNG Power to give Mayur, “being a genuine investor”, a fair chance by taking his response to the board. But Blacklock said “we are not scared about the fuel source”.

“Coal is not something that PNG Power worries necessarily about doing.

“If we have to do coal or gas or hydro, we do it on a basis that it is built around PNG Power’s plan which says we need this much generation at this time in this location.

“We don’t go into market to do that. So why should PNG that has all these beautiful water running through its rivers, is sitting on an ocean of gas, rush down the path of dealing with salesmen from other countries who want us to buy a coal-fired power station?

“They don’t have a balance sheet and they have never worked in PNG. I’m not Papua New Guinean but I’ve seen enough of this nonsense. We need to be building power stations based on true planned demand not on what somebody else thinks is our demand.

“We’ve got to get this right otherwise we end up with other power projects with other power projects that are costing us too much money or are not in the right place or too much power.

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Landowners want Ramu mine to shut down

The National aka The Loggers Times | November 23, 2018

LANDOWNERS of the Ramu Nickel mine in Madang have petitioned the government to shut down mine operations following the signing of a K5 billion extension programme last week.
Landowner association chairmen representing landowners of project impacted areas in Bundi, Usino and Raicoast petitioned the Government through Mining Minister Johnson Tuke to shut down mining operations within seven days.
Their reasons were that Ramu Nickel management and Government did not take into the account interest of landowners before they signed the agreement for mine expansion.
They said they did not know the content of the agreement.
The copy of the petition was presented to Ramu Nickel yesterday.
Kurumbukari Landowners’ Association chairman Tobby Bare said signing of the K5 billion mine expansion took them by surprise.
Bare said there were a lots of issues that needed to be raised and captured in the agreement before signing.
The landowners raised several issues related to unfair distribution of spin-offs, rising social problems, and equal participation in project development in the petition.
The petition also included concerns about delay in the mine’s memorandum-of-agreement review.
Bare said landowners felt they were marginalised on their own land.
Raibus Group of Companies chairman Steven Saud said the K5 billion expansion was like “erecting another mine within the mine”.
He said over the last 13 years since the company started operations, landowners had learnt a lot.
Saud said there were certain things the company and Government should have done to meet expectations of landowners but had failed to do so.
Ramu Nickel management yesterday said the MOU signing done on Nov 16 in Port Moresby was “a high level understanding to demonstrate commitments by both PNG and Chinese governments to support the company’s expansion plan”.
“It is obvious that there is gross misunderstanding among ourselves that led to landowners issuing such threats, and making baseless allegations against the company,” the management said in a statement.
“However, we are committed to engaging with landowners in a mature and responsible manner and respond to each allegation levelled against the company.”
The management said the MOA review for the mine would take place once all stakeholders prepared their position papers. The MoA review would be due on December 13.

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