Category Archives: Mine construction

MPs: ‘Stop misleading people on environmental pollution’

Frieda river mine camp

Sepik MPs denying history and the lessons learned from pollution at the ‘World Class’ Ok Tedi, Panguna, Porgera and Tolukuma mines…

The National aka The Loggers Times | January 18, 2019

Three Sepik MPs are appealing to East and West Sepik leaders to stop misleading the local people on environmental pollution caused by the Frieda River project.

Yangoru-Saussia MP and National Planning Minister Richard Maru, Telefomin MP Solan Mirisim and Ambunti-Drekikir MP Johnson Wapunai supported development of the project.

They said developer, PanAust, had revised its design to include a 320km pipeline to transport slurry to Vanimo for export.

Maru said he did not support the project at first because the proposal was for copper slurry to go down the Sepik River by barge to sea.

“I did not want to compromise the Sepik River in any way because of the experiences we’ve learnt from the Ok Tedi mine,” he said.

“I am extremely happy that the new developer has changed the development plan for the Frieda mine.

“They will now build a 320km pipeline to take the slurry from Frieda all the way to Vanimo.

“In line with that development plan, our Government has now funded the feasibility study and design of the new Vanimo wharf at a cost of over K30 million.

“The work is going on now.

“We expect that the feasibility study and the design will be completed by around March, latest April.

“Our Government has been proactive in making sure we have a wharf which shall cater for the requirements of the gold mine, Bewani oil palm project and vast economic activities that we want to create in the special economic zone in Vanimo.

“This is for us to trade into Asia using Vanimo as the major export port.

“I would like to appeal to East Sepik and West Sepik leaders to stop misleading the people of West and East Sepik and create unnecessary fear among them.”

Maru urged leaders and the public to get behind local MPs Mirisim and Wapunai and support development of the project.

“We are thankful that the developer has already submitted mine development plan and the application for special mining licence (SML) to the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA),” he said.

“We, as the leaders of East and West Sepik, will get behind this project, work with the NEC (National Executive Council) and the prime minister and not only deliver the Wafi-Golpu mine but the Frieda River mine also.”

The three MPs responded to recent awareness carried out by tertiary students on the environmental effects of the mine.

They said the environment would not be compromised in any way and the benefit streams were far better than what the Government and people have enjoyed in other mining projects.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be US$739 million (K2,443.50).


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Maru Supports Morobe’s Stand On No ‘Fly In Fly Out’

Ummm… “The best resource project that I have seen in my lifetime is the Bougainville copper mining project”.

Post Courier | January 18, 2019

National Planning Richard Maru has come out publicly to support the stance taken by the Morobe provincial government to oppose ‘fly in fly out’ arrangement for workers of the Wafi-Golpu project.

This is the first time a very senior member of Government has come out on the issue that has been a critical mainstay of discussions and forums by landowners and leaders alike in the Morobe province.

Minister Maru said if there was one thing that his government was taking away from mineral development, it was learning from previous Governments mistakes to not getting the best deal for the country.

“In this new deals that we want to put together for this country, under the new mining agreement for Wafi Golpu and Freida and even the second LNG project we are going to make sure that Papua New Guinea benefits more than any other resource projects in the past.

“I want place on record, this morning (yesterday) that I support the position taken by the Governor of Morobe and the people of Morobe that there will be no fly in fly out in the Wafi Golpu project.

“As planning minister we are already planning for a township at Nadzap and long term employees for Wafi-Golpu as far as I am concerned must live in Morobe and the income they generate must be used in Papua New Guinea, spent in Papua New Guinea, so we get back GST and the money must re-circulate within our economy,” Minister Maru said yesterday.

He said the situation where all resources are being depleted, all the monies end up in other countries all contribute to current issues being such as foreign currency shortages.

“As planning minister I do not support that, I want to see maximum benefit, families living here better, schools being built with the support of the resource companies, better towns being built.

“I want to say this and I make no apology to anyone. The best resource project that I have seen in my lifetime is the Bougainville copper mining project.

“They not only built a copper mine, they built a town, the best hospital, a supermarket, they provided international schools and all the families who were there and the benefits trickled around Bougainville.”

He said the model of BCL is need in the country.

“This is what will help to keep up the maximum revenue flows within this country and make sure that our country and this people will benefit of the wealth of our resources.”

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Nautilus remains on life-support

Prospective experimental seabed mining company, Nautilus Minerals, is to remain on life-support after it was rescued Monday by another $500,000 loan from its principal shareholders.

The longer-term future still looks bleak though, with its part-built mining support vessel already sold-off by the ship builder, and $5 million in funding needed before it can resume even basic company operations… 

Nautilus Receives Us500, 000

Post Courier | January 18, 2019

Deep Sea Mining Finance has lent Nautilus US500, 000 (K1.6m) to meet its short term funding obligations.
According to Nautilus’s corporate update this funding now will allow the company to assess its options, including various restructuring options while waiting to receive a US5million loan (K16m).
This loan if received would enable Nautilus to continue operations.
In its last week’s update the company stated that they are still in discussions with an arm’s length party to secure this loan.
The company also advises that a further press release will be made once these funds have been received later this week and further updates will be provided as circumstances warrant.
Nautilus is the first company to explore the ocean floor for polymetallic seafloor massive sulphide deposits. Nautilus was granted the first mining lease for such deposits at the prospect known as Solwara 1, in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea, where it is aiming to produce copper, gold and silver.
The Company has also been granted its environmental permit for this site. Nautilus also holds highly prospective exploration acreage in the western Pacific (granted and under application), as well as in international waters in the Central Pacific.

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Police monitor tension at Wafi-Golpu mine

Police Commander : “It appears that all the oil, gas, mining and fishing projects happening around the country are faced with such problems”

Jimmy Kalebe | The National aka The Loggers Times | January 17, 2019

A SECTION of the police Mobile Squad 15 in Morobe has been deployed since last Friday to monitor the situation at Wafi-Golpu mine, Morobe police commander Alex N’Drasal says.

N’Drasal said yesterday that the situation was still tense and police were there to make sure law and order problems and other issues did not get out of hand.

Police were deployed after a stop-work notice was put out by some people claiming to be landowners of the mine.

Employees have not been turning up to work since.

N’Drasal said police would be there at the mine stir until the situation was under control and normalcy restored.

“Police are also there to make sure that properties are not damaged and workers are not disturbed or harassed,” he said.

“The mine site is quiet now and many employees have decamped while a skeleton staff still maintained in the area.”

N’Drasal said on Monday that two opposition clans fought each other after one group tried to burn a stop-work banner that was placed by the other last Friday.

“It appears that all the oil, gas, mining and fishing projects happening around the country are faced with such problems,” N’Drasal said.

He said all the members of parliament, leaders and representatives in Morobe should work together to address the issue.

“In many cases, it is the leaders who create the situation and allow for such inconveniences among the Government, developers and the landowners.”

N’Drasal said the Government had to be very careful when making decisions in relation to such impact projects, because when not careful, such problems arise.

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Governor: ‘The safety of the Sepik River is non-negotiable’

East Sepik Governor, Alan Bird

Bird Needs More Views On Frieda Mine

Post Courier | January 17, 2019

EAST Sepik Governor Allan Bird will be seeking wider consultations on the proposed Frieda Mine for a more informed, truthful and transparent decision.

“Before we talk about Frieda consultations, I want everyone to know that I have listened to both sides of the argument and I have decided that the issue is too important for a small group or individual to take a decision in isolation,” Mr Bird said yesterday.

“Let us start by thinking about the Sepik River people for a moment, more particularly where we see them in 20 or 30 years time. Where do they see themselves in that timeframe?

“Will they still be fisher folk? Living a semi subsistence life, selling carvings and other artifacts and performing traditional dances for tourists? Or will more of them desire a decent education, a career or start a business and move to live in a town or city? The current generation might be happy living the traditional lifestyle but what about the younger generation? Is it fair to them that those of us on land see them as suppliers of fish for our sustenance? Is that where they should remain?

“Would a large scale mine, managed safely and properly add value to this process of change or badly managed do the opposite?

“There are no easy answers. Perhaps the answer lies in between. I have no doubt the River people are best placed to tell us their views of the future.”

Mr Bird said that he expected the East Sepik provincial government to do the right thing by everyone, to be fair and transparent, to give each stakeholder an opportunity, without fear, without intimidation to discuss their concerns (pros and cons) regarding Frieda Mine.

He said the provincial government would to take into account the desires of Telefomin Sepiks, Kopar Sepiks and every Sepik in between. “Let us not exclude PanAust as a stakeholder,” he said.

“This year we will have a team of experts look at the EIS and the mine development proposal. On a personal level my only concern is the safety of the river. Anything else, be they benefits for river people, landowners, etc are negotiable.

“The safety of the Sepik River is non-negotiable.”

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Landowners warned not to hurt mine workers

Erebiri Zurenuoc | The National aka The Loggers Times | January 14, 2019

MOROBE Governor Ginson Saonu has warned landowners who forced the suspension of the Wafi-Golpu mining project development not to damage properties or hurt the workers.

Workers were forced to leave last Friday by the group of people who wanted a list of demands they had sent to the chief executives of developers Harmony Gold Ltd and Newcrest Mining Ltd, and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, met.

Spokesman John Nema said the project would be closed for an indefinite period.

“We will not allow the developer to commence any operation on our customary land if any of our demands are overlooked,” he said.

Saonu said the provincial government had wanted to have a proper memorandum of understanding drawn up involving all parties.

“The mine should be open and the workers should feel free to move around,” he said.

“We agreed that the Government and the developers must revoke the MOU (they signed last month).”

Saonu said he recently visited the people of Hengambu, Babuaf and Yanta to gauge their views on the development.

“There was no intention to shut down the mine. It was about visiting the people, having discussions with them and letting them know that their government is with them,” he said.

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Disgruntled Landowners Shut Down Billion Dollar Gold And Copper Project

Melisha Yafoi | Post Courier | January 14, 2019

THE US$5 billion (K16.7 billion) Wafi-Golpu gold and copper project in Morobe Province has been shut down.

This shutdown took effect last Friday when about 100 men claiming to be landowners threatened to enter the exploration and development site following opposition to the memorandum of understanding which was signed between the State and the developer Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture in Port Moresby last December.

The WGJV Executive Project Director, Bryan Bailie stressed that “the safety of our personnel is paramount and that we will not put them at risk. As such, all non-essential personnel were evacuated as a precautionary measure.”

Activities at the exploration site are currently suspended pending assurance that law and order has been re-established.

A disappointed mining Minister Johnson Tuke said this shutdown is uncalled for and the actions taken by these parties to raise their grievances is a sense of a criminal act.

He explained that the state has gone into an engagement with the company to develop an understanding with the state and the developer.

Reports on the ground say all staff were evacuated to safety leaving the project site deserted since Friday after protestors threatened to enter the exploration camp unless it was evacuated and work immediately stopped.

Mr Tuke said that in most cases as far as history is concerned in any mining aspects before a initial mine starts there had to be form of an agreement to give comfort and in most cases and instances companies did not have the money.

He said there were certain institutions which had access to huge chunks of money so companies go out to the fields to conduct explorations to identify and come up with the resource and when they find the resource they have to run through a financial institution to look for money and financial institutions have their own criteria as to go about releasing the money to investors.

“So the government in its wisdom has given the consent to the company that this project is a priority to the company so that’s the relationship that we have established.

“And for people to go and conduct a shutdown is uncalled for, the understanding is with the State.

“It’s not the provincial government or the landowners or anybody else, the common law is that anything that is six feet beneath the earth belongs to the State, the State has all the legitimate power to act on its people,” Mr Tuke said.

He said what they have done is within the law, within the Act so for people to go out and stop the mine is unnecessary.

“It is a sense of criminal act there has to be an appropriate authority to do so the government will still provide leadership and bring this project into fruition and that is not the appropriate forum to talk about all these,” he said.

“I have already instituted a development forum that is still in progress. We can see that challenge but a challenge has to be taken in a appropriate action and this is outside of the context and I condemn those actions undertaken by some elements.

“They probably have some of their own issues if there is some degree of politics amongst themselves, they should not demonstrate to the company if they think that there is some certain issues that needs to be resolved they need to handle it within their own communities.”

Mr Tuke said said for them to take it to a broad degree or a standing where it now becomes a common knowledge to PNG is not good enough and Wafi-Golpu is a very relevant project because in the next 10 to 20 years Porgera and Ok Tedi might shutdown.

“We are still a mining country and we need to take on board this Wafi-Golpu project so that it in the years to come that will be in the place that the two mines will go down so that it can generate revenue to our country and that’s basically what we are trying to do,” he said.

They made known their grievances but I think it’s not appropriate for them to go that far because they are certain forms which we have not exhausted them all yet and we just started the process and we are still into it and we have a long way to go and we will still go through that,” he said.

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