Category Archives: Mine construction

RTG Joins Landowner Backed Consortium Proposal for Copper-Gold Panguna Project in Bougainville

RTG Mining | Stockhouse | 26 June, 2017

RTG Joins Landowner Backed Consortium Proposal in Respect of the Copper-Gold Panguna Project in Bougainville – Announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange

RTG Mining Inc. confirms recent press statements that it has been nominated as the development partner with the joint venture company of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (“SMLOLA”) and Central Exploration Pty Ltd (“Central”) in their proposal with respect to the redevelopment of the 1.5B tonne Copper-Gold Panguna Project located in the Central Region of the island of Bougainville, within the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea (“PNG”). RTG has subscribed US$0.75M into Central for a minority position in Central.  The proposal being led by the SMLOLA is a landowner initiative and will be subject to the success or otherwise of the SMLOLA in securing a role in the redevelopment of the mine.

This proposal is also, ultimately conditional upon the support of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (“ABG”) and others. RTG appreciates the trust and support the SMLOLA has shown the Company, recognising the community engagement track record and the development experience of the RTG management team, having successfully developed seven new mines in five different countries. RTG makes no representation that the SMLOLA led consortium proposal will be successful.  Both the show cause notice issued by the ABG to Bougainville Copper Limited (“BCL”) in connection with the previous exploration permit, which expired in September 2016 and the application for extension of the term of the licence are still under review by the ABG.  The ABG has expressed its support for BCL

The members of the SMLOLA are the owners of the customary land which is the subject of the old BCL operated Panguna open pit mine area.  In implementing the Bougainville Peace Agreement, a change in the mining law in 2014 resulted in the PNG ownership of mineral rights being expunged and the customary landowners becoming owners of the minerals within their land.  Accordingly, the SMLOLA own the minerals of the old Panguna Mine and are in control of access to their land, namely the Panguna pit.  The SMLOLA has stated that it will not grant access to their lands to BCL, a position they have held and expressed for an extended period of time. The Autonomous Region of Bougainville has gone through transformative changes over the last couple of years and has recognised the reopening of the Panguna Mine is an important economic initiative for all Bougainvilleans, which is supported strongly by the SMLOLA.

RTG will fully respect any rights of BCL and has agreed to act as the development partner should the SMLOLA be successful in their proposal.  RTG believes that the SMLOLA led consortium could provide a constructive and valuable contribution to resolving outstanding issues between all parties, with their proposal including the development of Panguna on a staged basis, starting at an initial targeted 15Mtpa plant size before then optimising the processing plant, subject to completion of a Feasiblity Study.  This will enhance the prospects of a successful referendum on Independence for Bougainville and much earlier access to financial rewards for all Bougainvilleans. There are strong parallels between this proposal and the redevelopment of the Masbate Gold Mine in the Phillipines, which was successfully developed by the RTG Management team.  The proposal also includes a Bougainville Redevelopment Fund to assist the landowners and ABG in implementing much needed social and infrastructure programs to enhance the livelihoods of all those in and around Panguna.

RTG’s three largest long term shareholders, whose publicly reported parent company net worth is in the order of US$30 billion, have expressed support for entering into the Panguna redevelopment proposal should it be successful.

ABOUT RTG MINING INC

RTG Mining Inc. is a mining and exploration company listed on the main board of the Toronto Stock Exchange and Australian Securities Exchange.  RTG is focused on developing the high grade copper/gold/magnetite Mabilo Project and advancing exploration on the highly prospective Bunawan Project, both in the Philippines, while also identifying major new projects which will allow the Company to move quickly and safely to production.

RTG has an experienced management team (previously responsible for the development of the Masbate Gold Mine in the Philippines through CGA Mining Limited), and has B2Gold as one of its major shareholders in the Company. B2Gold is a member of both the S&P/TSX Global Gold and Global Mining Indices.

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Panguna landowners give big tick to mining but no to BCL

Radio New Zealand | 22 June 2017

The head of a landowners group controlling the site of the Panguna mine in Papua New Guinea’s Bougainville says it is keen to see a resumption of mining but will always be opposed to the return of Bougainville Copper Ltd.

BCL was the original operator of the mine and has been blamed for sparking the civil war.

Its former multi national owner, Rio Tinto, last year walked away, giving its shares to the PNG and Bougainville governments, rather face demands for compensation over the environmental and social damage blamed on the mine.

Last week this new look BCL was stopped by a protest march from signing a memorandum of agreement with the Panguna landowners – a move seen as the first move to re-open the Panguna mine and boost the region’s economy ahead of an independence vote in two years.

Not the least of BCL’s problems is that they were not dealing with the proper landowners and legal action has put a stay on the signing of the MOA.

The man they should have been talking to, Philip Miriori, the chairman of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association, says he will never back BCL returning.

Mr Miriori, who also heads the Me’ekamui Government of Unity, explained the SML’s thinking to Don Wiseman.

PHILIP MIRIORI: It is the same legal company with enormous liabilities hanging on its shoulder and some much damage was done during their operations. So it is the same company.

DON WISEMAN: The thing here is of course that since Rio Tinto has walked away – it doesn’t have resources does it? In terms of that  environmental and social deficit that people like John Momis have talked about, this current version of BCL is never going to be in much of a position to do much about that is it?

PM: With BCL the ABG is saying it is a new company, but we don’t think it is a new company, it is the same company,, and the same management. People from Rio [Tinto] are still with the BCL arrangement, even now.

DW: Are there any circumstances under which the Me’ekamui Government of Unity and the SML Osikaiyang Landowners would ever accept BCL?

PM: I don’t think we will accept BCL to come back to Panguna. BCL has said it would attract development partners, but we don’t know this development partner, who is he? maybe it is the same Rio Tinto. They are looking to come back and work with BCL.

DW: So this protest last Thursday and Friday, the protest and the road block, did your people organise that?

PM: The people of Panguna especially the landowners and the women, our stand has always been clear – we don’t accept BCL to come back and with the protest march last Friday it is a common sense that the people have here in Panguna, that by not accepting BCL to come back they had to stand for their rights. So they [The ABG] can make any tricks under the sun but with the records that BCL have in the past it is just not going to work. The protest march was right, you know.

DW: last month you presented a petition to the ABG, more than 500 signatures. What has been the outcome of that?

PM: Well the outcome from the ABG was negative. I presented that petition myself to President Momis. The petition was signed by 550 people from Panguna – the SML [Osikaiyang landowners]. So no response from President Momis’s office, so these are the things that have brought the people together on the signing of the MOA.

DW: You are not opposed to mining are you? You clearly are interested in mining and you have linked up with this Australian miner called RTG. Why have you linked with them? Why have you chosen them?

PM: I am always for mining you know but not with BCL. We have this Australian company. We work with them for some time now and we built trust so we are not opposed to mining opening. We are for. We want the mine to open, to generate prosperity for our people and not with BCL. We don’t want BCL to come back you know.

DW: Let’s say RTG were to get an exploration licence, would you be keen for them to get in there and start doing the EL work, as it’s called, immediately and then the prospect of opening the mine as soon as possible.

PM: If we are given an exploration licence we will start immediately and also make clean up operations around Panguna.

DW: There are a lot of other landowning groups close by aren’t there and it would seem that you are at odds with them, or are you?

PM: Now I want to correct this. The other eight, or whatever, landowner associations – I think at this point in time they are irrelevant. They can come in when the mine is up running. They can make no decision on where the pit is, so right now, for me, it is irrelevant for those other organisations to make a decision over the SML [Osikaiyang Landowners]. The only entity, legal entity, is SML which I am chairman of.  

DW: Your message then to the ABG is that there is substantial opposition among the people who are on the land, or who have the land, around that enormous hole in the ground at Panguna, who are opposed to BCL coming in, but you are very keen on mining and you want to form an association with this Australian company, RTG.

PM: A proper awareness is what is needed now. To go right down to the people, you know, and tell them what is the advantage of re-opening the mine now, and the disadvantage of keeping that mine [shut] for ten years as BCL says. But to us I can see that we start the mine up now, so that we start generating the money and prepare for the referendum or whatever you know.         

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Bougianville Chiefs prevent ABG from signing deal

Chiefs, mothers and daughters at the roadblock

PNG Loop | June 18, 2017

On Friday, women from the ‘Seven Sisters’ areas of Bougainville put up a strong roadblock at the Morgan Junction leading up to the Panguna Mine site.

This was where the proposed signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was to be held between the Autonomous Bougainville Government and so-called Panguna landowners. The deal would see Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) return to reopen the Panguna Mine.

The impenetrable roadblock was led by women chief from the ‘seven sisters’ areas in Central Bougainville.

The mothers, together with their daughters, youths, ex-combatants and Bougainville Hardliners, set up the roadblock, which started on Thursday night throughout Friday; refusing to move for passing vehicles or negotiating team.

Their message was simple: ‘No BCL, No Mining’.

Woman chief from Guava Village, Maggie Mirau Nombo, and Chief from Arawa and Pirurari, Kavatai Baria, said their land is their Mother, who provides their everyday needs and no one is allowed to exploit her.

Chief Maggie, who is a former primary school teacher, said how can those wanting to sign the MOA conduct such an act of injustice?

She said this will never happen again because they have suffered enough from all the injustice that has been brought on by BCL when it was in operation.

She said God has heard the cry of the Bougainville women, and justice will prevail.

“As long as I am the Chief from Panguna and Guava Village and owner of my land, BCL is not welcome. This is the Company that has killed our sons and daughters. ABG has to stop ignoring the cries of the women and take note that BCL is never allowed to come back to Panguna, and this is final and it is not negotiable,” she said. 

Chief Kavatai also reminded everyone that ‘when God closes a door, no one can open it, and if God opens a door, no one can close it’. Panguna Mine was closed by God and if anyone was trying to reopen the Mine when it wasn’t God’s timing, then they better watch out because they are fighting against a big God.

Because of the strong opposition by the women, youths and Bougainville Hardliners, the high powered ABG delegation, led by President John Momis, returned to Buka on Friday afternoon without signing the MOA.

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Women protest against Panguna reopening

Women marching around Arawa Town to say ‘No Mining, No BCL!’

Loop PNG | 15 June, 2017

Mothers in Central Bougainville yesterday protested against the reopening of the Panguna Mine.

The women, supported by youths, men and children, were disputing the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), proposed to take place in Panguna tomorrow (June 16), between the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and Panguna landowners. This will see Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) return to reopen the Mine before June 2019.

Panguna landowner, Mrs Bernadine Gemel Kama, said they have voiced their concerns to the former Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (SMLOLA) chairman and his executives because they are the ones who want to sign the MOA with ABG. However, they have done this without the consent of the womenfolk, who are culturally the true landowners.

“If the ABG leaders are wise, they will not talk about reopening the Panguna Mine because a lot of bloodshed has happened because of the mine,” she stated.

“As a landowner in Panguna, I want everyone to know that it is only a minority of people, especially men, who want to reopen the Panguna with BCL. All of us do not want BCL to ever come back to Panguna and mine. If they want to talk about mining, talk about it after independence, not now,” she said.

Youth representative, Robert Baranangko, said he and other young men supported the women because they were not aware of the MOA.

He said Bougainvilleans should have been informed about the decision that the ABG was doing to reopen the mine.

He said the ABG was treading on dangerous waters to talk about reopening the Panguna Mine with BCL, when everyone knows that the blood of 20,000 plus people are on its hands.

He urged the leaders to hear the voice of the women, who are owners of the land, and as a young man, he does not want to see a second crisis happen again in Bougainville.

The peaceful protest march saw the crowd carry a big banner stating ‘No BCL, No Mining,’ and smaller posters reading ‘Do not dig my land’, ‘Women own the land’, ‘Don’t create another bloodshed’, ‘BCL not welcome in Panguna’, ‘Agriculture is the way forward for Bougainville’ and ‘We own the land’.

The march ended at the office of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association in Arawa, where they voiced their grievance to the former SMLOLA chairman, Lawrence Daveona. 

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Proposed Panguna mine reopening protested

A GROUP of women in Central Bougainville, supported by men and children, staged a march to protest the planned reopening of the Panguna mine.

The signing of an agreement is to be between the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the Panguna landowners. It will pave the way for the Bougainville Copper Limited to reopen the Panguna Mine. The deadline is before June 2019.

The women are members of the Panguna landowners. They marched to the office of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association in Arawa where they met former chairman Lawrence Daveona and his executives.

Panguna landowner representative Bernadine Gemel Kama said they raised their concerns with Daveona and his executives because they were the ones who wanted to sign the agreement with the ABG without consulting the women.

She warned that the Panguna issue would cause division among the people of Bougainville.

“As a landowner in Panguna, I want everyone to know that it is only a minority of people especially men who want to open the Panguna mine,” Kama said.

“All of us do not want BCL to ever come back to Panguna and mine.”

Youth representative Robert Baranangko, who joined the march with the women, said they were not aware of the agreement to be signed.

He said there was obviously a lack of consultation.

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Tolukuma Mine Begins Full Production In July

Tolukuma Gold Mine, In Central Province, Will Begin Full Production Next Month.

Rosalyn Albaniel | Post Courier | June 13, 2017

Tolukuma gold mine, in Central Province, will begin full production next month.
This is under the management of the new operator, Tolukuma Gold Mines Limited, a subsidiary of Asidokona Mining Resources Pty Limited.
Tolukuma Gold Mines Limited executive director Vincent Siow said the firm had taken over from Petromin after they had been approached.
He said for the past year and a half, the company had been preparing for the production phase.
He said while the mine still had a lot of potential, the firm acknowledged with it would come with challenges as well.
He said unlike in the heydays of the mine, staff strength had been reduced from 600 plus, and it would be going into production with levels between, 300-400 workers, while production from the 9,000 ounces to just 1000-2000oz, with plans to ramp up.
“Production will not be full scale because equipment is a bit old.”
“We are expecting there will be some stress points. We may have to buy new equipment after we indentify the stress points, but we have everything all planned,” Mr Siow said.
Commenting on the revised the Memorandum of Agreement, which had been signed off yesterday by all except one of the parties, Mr Siow expressed relief on the part of the company.
He said when the firm took over from Petromin, they had agreed to take on all the commitments that had been agreed on by their predecessor.
“The board in Singapore had agreed because to disagree would only mean further delay,” he said.
“By and large, this MOA is a very important document. It identifies the role of all parties; if we all stick to it, I believe we will have a very good working relationship. I hope to see that good cooperation among all parties,” he added.

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BCL Working Closely With ABG

Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) Has Been Engaged In Planning And Implementing Agreed-Upon Activities In Bougainville Since 2012, BCL Chairman Rob Burns Said This Week.

Post Courier | May 12, 2017

Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) has been engaged in planning and implementing agreed-upon activities in Bougainville since 2012, BCL chairman Rob Burns said this week.

Mr Burns said in a statement this had been at the invitation of the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the nine landowner associations involved in discussions on the future of the Panguna resource.

“BCL meets routinely with the ABG and the landowning associations to review these plans and agree on further activities,” he said.

He reiterated his statement at the recent annual general meeting on April 27, outlining some of the progress regarding the Panguna project that had been achieved with the support of Panguna landowners and other stakeholders.

Mr Burns said this in relation to an article in Post-Courier on May 3 in which a landowner group claimed that BCL wanted to get easy access to the Panguna mine.

“BCL is now a predominately locally owned company with landowners at the core of its operations,” he said, adding that the Panguna project had the support of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Bougainville president John Momis.

Mr Burns noted that one interest group from the Panguna area recently petitioned the ABG to cancel BCL’s exploration rights.

“This group purports to represent all Panguna landowners, and questions the ABG and national government support for BCL.

“As noted by president Momis in his interview with Radio New Zealand last week, the group has a separate commitment to an Australian resource company, which is in pursuit of mineral rights at Panguna, of which BCL has been granted tenure.”

Much of the public discourse in the media regarding resource development at Panguna must be viewed in terms of competing commercial interest in Panguna’s mineral rights.

He said that differing views on the future of the Panguna project, especially from the customary landowners, should be respected.

However, when those views do not reflect the broad support from landowners, these views are being driven by personal ambition at the expense of customary landowners and the economic security of Bougainville.

“There is still much work to do to strengthen alignment between stakeholders on the range of issues affecting project progress.

“BCL will continue to engage with the landowning groups at Panguna who have continuously provided support in finding a pathway through the many issues that confront us  all.”

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