Category Archives: Exploration

Mining exploration in Bougainville led by LOs

Cedric Patjole | Loop PNG | January 15, 2018

Landowners in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville are partnering with investors to conduct mineral exploration in areas sanctioned by the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

Prospecting has started since the introduction of legislation allowing landowners complete ownership of customary land, and the lifting of the moratorium on specific localities for mineral exploration.

However, the ABG is making sure the exploration is done in the best interest of the people.

ABG Treasury and Finance Minister, Robin Wilson, said currently there is a moratorium on Panguna Mine due to its history and sensitive nature, which is being carefully addressed.

However, exploration has been allowed in other parts of the island.

“So far we have lifted the moratorium on three areas in Bougainville. That’s Mt Ore, Isina in Central Bougainville and the Arawa-Panguna area,” said the Minister.

“So this are the areas where mining activities are going on, and it is driven by the landowners themselves. It’s not government-driven.

“It’s the landowners and the investors they found and have brought them over.

“We are just making sure the investors are genuine investors. We’re making sure that they are not coming up with contracts or agreements that will make the landowner suffer.”

The Minister said the lead taken by landowners follows legislation giving LOs complete authority and ownership over clearly de ned customary land.

He said by giving the power back to landowners, they can either accept or reject the prospects on their land.

“The landowner now owns everything. In terms of alienated land the government still owns the resources. But where it’s clearly customary land, it is landowner-owned.

“So we believe that by giving the power back to the landowners, the landowners now have a say in whether exploration happens or mining happens,” Wilson said.

“In that way we are not forcing the issue on them. The landowners have to accept the development prospects that happen on their land.”

Wilson revealed that currently the island has been tagged as a high risk area by many international observers.

However, he said with any successful explorations and discovery, this could trigger more investment in future, as the ABG aims to rebuild the island’s local economy.

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RTG Increases Its Interest in the Panguna Landowners Joint Venture Partner

ANNOUNCEMENT TO THE TORONTO AND AUSTRALIAN STOCK EXCHANGES

RTG | Stockhouse | 8 December 2017

The Board of RTG Mining Inc. is pleased to announce that through a further direct investment and conversion of loans in Central Exploration Pty Ltd (“Central”), RTG has increased its interest in Central to 24%. Michael Carrick is now Chairman of Central and Justine Magee has also been appointed a director of Central. In addition one of RTG’s major shareholders (interests represented by Mr. Richard Hains, who also independently provided early stage funding to Central), has a 32% interest in Central. 

As announced previously, Central is the joint venture partner of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (“SMLOLA”), being the owners of the minerals at the old Panguna Mine. The joint venture is held through Central Me’ekamui Exploration Limited who has applied for an exploration licence over the customary land of the SMLOLA members, being the old Panguna Mine. The SMLOLA has nominated RTG as their development partner for Panguna.

The Autonomous Bougainville Government (“ABG”) is currently considering all exploration licence (“EL”) applications, including the purported EL renewal application of Bougainville Copper Limited. Both the SMLOLA and RTG are committed to working with the ABG to ensure both the ABG itself, and all Bougainvilleans benefit from any redevelopment of Panguna.

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Crater Gold secures funding for PNG works programme

Megan Van Wyngaardt | Mining Weekly | 20 November 2017

ASX-listed Crater Gold Mining has secured a $4-million unsecured loan facility with major shareholder Freefire Technology that will enable it to continue to advance its flagship Crater Mountain gold project, in Papua New Guinea.

The loan will be used to restart exploration activities at the mine, including drilling, and also the restart of mining operations at the high-grade zone (HGZ).

The funds will also further exploration activities at Crater’s North Queensland polymetallic and graphite projects.

The first $1-million in funding is available at the option of the company, with the balance of $3-million requiring the consent of Freefire prior to a drawdown request being executed. Key terms of the loan facility include an interest rate of 12% a year, payable quarterly in arrears. The repayment of the facility will occur after the next equity raising or convertible note raising with the amount repaid to be determined upon the board considering the company’s financial position and future cash requirements.

Crater MD Russ Parker said on Monday the funding enabled the company to move confidently into 2018, well financed to continue working on its key priorities.

“The funding will also allow us to start a drilling programme at the mixing zone project during 2018 and to also explore the other significant exploration targets that exist on other licences the company holds at Crater Mountain.

“We are focused on putting this funding [to work] as productively as possible [toward] advancing our projects and generating positive results from our exploration and mininga ctivities, which we hope will put us in a good position to support future capital raisings,” he added. 

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Newcrest looking at marine waste dumping for Wafi-Golpu

Newcrest focusing on Wafi-Golpu

The National aka The Loggers Times | November 16, 2017

NEWCREST hopes to complete an update of Wafi-Golpu feasibility study by end of the March quarter next year, chairman Pater Hay says.
Hay said during the company’s annual general meeting on Tuesday that the company’s most advanced exploration project was the Wafi-Golpu project which he described as a “world-class copper-gold deposit in Papua New Guinea”.
Wafi-Golpu is an advanced exploration project located in Morobe and is owned by the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture, one of three unincorporated joint ventures between Newcrest (50 per cent) and Harmony Gold (50 per cent), formed in 2008.
Hay said Newcrest continued to progress work at Wafi-Golpu, with focus on:

  • Assessing external and internal generated power options, in the company’s search for greater reliability and lower operating costs;
  • Comparing deep-sea tailing placements options to terrestrial tailings storage options; and,
  • Re-assessing block cave panels, size and processing capacity due to increased knowledge as a result of ongoing drilling.

“We are targeting completion of an update of the Wafi-Golpu feasibility study by the end of the March 2018 quarter. We will likely submit an amendment to the special mining lease application depending on the outcome of the study update,” he said.
“The timing of the first production is dependent on study outcomes and grating of the special mining lease.
“More broadly, brownfield exploration, brownfield expansions and de-bottlenecking offers some of the lowest-cost, lowest-risk and highest-return growth opportunities in our business.
“As has been stated in our annual report, we are currently pursuing initiatives and projects to add extra process capacity at Cadia and to increase mill throughput at Lihir.”

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No decision made in Bulolo licence application

Bulolo township

The National aka The Loggers Times | November 15, 2017

THE Mineral Resource Authority has clarified that a decision is yet to be made on the application for an exploration licence in Bulolo.
Managing director Philip Samar was responding to the claim by Bulolo district administrator Tae Gwambelek that an exploration licence (EL2544) had been issued.
Gwambelek had supported the objection by business houses, Papua New Guinea Forest Products and town residents over the alleged issuing of the exploration licence over existing leases near the town.
But Samar said no licence had been issued.
Samar said the MRA would conduct a wardens-hearing to allow the public and stakeholders to discuss their concerns and raise objections against the application.
After that, he said the warden would table a report with the mining advisory council for consideration.
“There will be no need for a township relocation just because an EL application has been lodged,” he said.
He also clarified that the MRA “does not issue tenements”.
“It recommends (it) to the minister or the head of the state,” Samar said.
Gwambelek said the application would be opposed.
“Bulolo residents are prepared for the scheduled hearing on November 28 to tell the warden that Australia has done enough damage to land in Bulolo,” Gwambelek said.
Morobe acting Governor Waka Daimon said that the land from Golden Pine Bridge to McAdams Park across to Manki Tower and along the Watut River down to Pine Top was owned by the National Forest Authority.

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Canadian courts decide fate of Misima islanders?

Way cleared for Misima restart

THE Supreme Court of British Columbia has granted final approval for the merger between Kingston Resources and WCB Resources.

WCB’s key asset is the Misima gold project on an island of the same name in PNG’s Milne Bay Province.

Historically, Misima has produced more than 3.7 million ounces of gold. It holds a recently completed NI43-101 resource of 2.3 million ounces.

Kingston managing director Andrew Corbett said the merger represented a transformational step for both KSN and WCB shareholders.

“We would like to take the opportunity to thank the WCB management and shareholders for their support during the merger process. The KSN board and management team welcomes the new KSN shareholders and we look forward to starting  work on Misima this month [November].”

The court approval follows overwhelming support from WCB shareholders for the merger with KSN. The process is under way to delist WCB and to issue new KSN shares to WCB shareholders.

“We are immediately starting work on Misima which includes completing a JORC resource, and re-establishing a field team incorporating current and new operational personnel who will be restarting geochemical field work shortly.

“Historical data completed on Misima has enabled Kingston to rapidly identify priority drill targets on Misima. The KSN management team aim to submit drilling approvals in the new year with a target of mobilising a drill rig in the fourth quarter of financial year 2018,” Corbett said.

Kingston said it was already working with the established field team to restart exploration work on the island.

A review of historic data has highlighted four key target areas. Each of these areas has been underexplored in the recent history of Misima as exploration work subsequent to the 2004 mine closure has focused on deep copper targets.

“Kingston is excited to return the focus to these anomalies, the initial aim will be to add shallow, higher grade tonnes to the existing resource,” the company said. The four target areas are:

  • Umuna East: Mineralised structures on southeast side of Umuna that are up to 1.8km in strike with evidence of high grade, shallow mineralisation. 
  •  Misima North: Which has more than 3km untested strike open to the north supported by historic mining and geochemistry.
  •  Umuna extensions: The existing resource is open along strike and down dip, with additional potential from both shear-hosted and skarn mineralisation which may add to the resource with drilling.
  •  Quartz Mountain: To the west of Umuna, Quartz Mountain is an area of higher grade mineralisation where the average hole depth to date is only 90m. The mineralisation remains open at depth. 

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Meetings to determine Panguna’s future

Cedric Patjole | PNG Loop | November 11, 2017

Two meetings have been identified as key events that may determine the timeline to rebuild the Panguna Mine in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

According to Business Advantage, Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) chairman, Rob Burns, says the meetings, to be held in November and December, include a mediation as well as a wardens’ hearing.

The first meeting on November 23 and 24 is the third round of mediation talks to settle a dispute over the chairmanship of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (SMLOLA).

SMLOLA is one of the nine landowner associations in the project area.

A dissident landowner, Philip Miriori, is at the centre of the dispute, along with his cousin Lawrence Daveona, who both lay claim to the chairmanship.

The second event on December 11 and 12 is the wardens’ hearings on the five-year renewal of the mining exploration lease, currently held by BCL.

Under the Bougainville Mining Act 2015, the Autonomous Bougainville Government needs to hold wardens’ hearings as part of the process for a five-year renewal of the lease, before recommendations then go to the Minister.

“I’m optimistic it will be renewed. The landowners have agreed because they want a better life and see this as the way forward,” says Burns.

The timeline for building the mine is estimated to cost K12 to K18 billion, and could take up to 10 years.

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