Category Archives: Mine construction

PNG sands come to the market in Australia

Bondi beach in Sydney

Tim Boreham | The Australian | August 12, 2017

In a variation of the coals-to-Newcastle theme, Mayur Resources, an eclectic multi-commodity resources house plans to ship a million tonnes of sand from Papua New Guinea to Sydney.

Don’t we have a surfeit of the stuff already — and not just on Bondi Beach? Apparently not: Mayur’s sand is the high-quality, fine-grained variety valued by cement makers, and it’s in short supply in the Sydney region.

Mayur chief executive Paul Mulder says most of the construction sand is supplied from quarries in the Newcastle region and then trucked to Sydney at great cost.

It’s cheaper to ship the stuff from PNG, where the sand will be an otherwise waste product from Mayur’s proposed Orokolo Bay mineral and industrial sands project on the southern coast.

The Singapore-incorporated, Brisbane-headquartered Mayur is in the throes of raising up to $15.5m ahead of its September 1 ASX listing. The offer looks like being oversubscribed ahead of its close date next Friday.

Mayur’s PNG assets also include limestone, copper-gold tenements and coal projects, as well as a planned coal-fired power station to be built near the industrial city of Lae.

The project remains subject to a definitive feasibility study, with total capex of just $US22m to bring the project into production.

With more than 12,000sq km of highly prospective exploration tenements available to be drilled, Mayur is confident enough to plan trial shipments to customers in China and Japan within 14 months.

Costed at $110m, the Lae power project involves shipping coal from Mayur’s Depot Creek project in the south of the country, which boasts the first compliant coal resource in PNG, at 11.4 million tonnes.

The power plant, which has been granted environmental approval, remains subject to a power purchasing agreement execution with state-owned utility PNG Power.

While approval is no Lae-down misere, Mulder seems confident the power project will ultimately prevail because of the need for reliable low-cost electricity.

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Gold Ridge to restart within 18 months

Solomon Star | 11 August 2017

AXF Gold Ridge Pty Ltd of Australia says it has secured additional investor funding to start the immediate recommissioning of the Gold Ridge Mine Project.

“This investment will see mine production on track to start within 18 months,” a statement issued by the company on Wednesday stated.

“In an unprecedented partnership arrangement, Gold Ridge Community Investment Ltd (GCIL), which comprised the local land owners, owns 10% of Gold Ridge Mining Limited,” the statement added.

AXF Gold Ridge holds the balance of 90%.

The statement said additional capital and technical expertise from the Hong Kong publicly listed new shareholder Wanguo International Mining Group strengthens AXF Gold Ridge.

“New capital will help the Gold Ridge Mine Project reach its full potential.

“Wanguo International Mining Group led by Mingqing Gao has provided technical expertise to the Gold Ridge Mine Project for the past year.

“The strength of the partnership between landowners and AXF Resources, combined with the support from the government, has given Wanguo the confidence to commit as an investor to this project.”

Gold Ridge Mine’s principal landowners and community leaders confirmed their continued full support and commitment to the project during consultation.

Landowners agreed that by working together, the recommissioned Gold Ridge Mine would achieve new heights (Yu mi tugeda bae mekem Gold Ridge mine waka gud).

Richard Gu, Managing Director of the AXF Group and Director of AXF Gold Ridge Pty Limited, said:

“I feel humbled and proud that the project has reached this stage.

“I look forward to a long and fruitful development partnership with Gold Ridge Mine landowners, our investor, and the people and government of the Solomon Islands”.

Senior executives from AXF Gold Ridge including Chairman-elect Mingqing Gao, Richard Gu, and Dr Shaun Ren visited the Solomon Islands this week to celebrate the milestone with landowners and government officials.

At a meeting with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, chairman-elect Mr Gao reinforced:

“The reopening of the Gold Ridge Mine will send a strong message to the investment community that the Solomon Islands is open for responsible and transparent mining business”.

Over the next 18 months, the come said the Gold Ridge mine site will undergo a complete refurbishment with infrastructure upgrades to improve site access and the construction of a new power station.

“An independent review of the tailings storage facility will be commissioned to minimise risk to local communities.

“Community relations activities will ramp up with one of the priorities the establishment of socially inclusive engagement mechanisms with landowners and local communities.”

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Filed under Environmental impact, Financial returns, Mine construction

Frieda Awaits Approvals

New Deputy Prime Minister, Charles Abel, says PNG needs to reduce its reliance on large-scale resource extraction, so will the government have the guts to say no to the Frieda river mine?

Post Courier | August 4, 2017

The country’s next “worldclass” [sic] gold mine at Frieda River in East Sepik province is only awaiting formal permit approvals before securing a special mining lease (SML) to begin construction.
Highlands Pacific Ltd who owns 20 percent of PanAust in its June quarter report, stated that permitting processes were the focus activity for the project.
As a result, project manager, PanAust continues to liaise with Mineral Resources Authority to progress applications for a SML while at the same time explore refinements to the project design to improve development economics.
The report said the project was only waiting for the national election to be complete so that relevant government authorities can provide guidance on the permitting process.
PanAust is also investigating a larger hydroelectric facility that could deliver additional power potential.
Alternatives are also being considered for shared-use infrastructure, development of the Nena deposit and site layout.
Meanwhile, Highlands Pacific Ltd and PanAust have commenced arbitration proceedings to resolve a dispute regarding funding of project expenditure.
The parties are in dispute regarding their obligations under the joint venture agreement, including iwhether HPL is obliged to commence funding of project expenditures.
HPL previously has sought to resolve the dispute through mediation, however the parties have now agreed to seek a final and binding settlement before a sole arbitrator.
It is expected that the arbitration decision will be received before the end of the year.

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Crater Gold Mining is reinvigorated, debt free and focused on PNG gold

Alexander Molyneux, proposed chairman

Papua New Guinea is home to multi-million ounce major gold mines

Proactive Investors | 24 July 2017

Crater Gold Mining Ltd has undertaken a transformation change, and is back trading on the ASX.

New funding will retire material debt and leave circa $4.3 million to $5.1 million in cash to pursue its strategy at the flagship Crater Mountain Project in Papua New Guinea.

The new “Crater Gold” company will have a recognised mining industry leader on the board and in management.

The project is highly prospective, and contains two separate existing epithermal gold Inferred Resources which combined exceed 800,000 ounces of gold.

This resource was formulated from just 14,500 cumulative linear metres of drilling that mainly took place in 2010-2013.

At the time the company became side-tracked the proposed development a small-scale mining operation and taking on a debt burden to do so.

A re-invigorated Crater Gold aims for a transformational increase in resources, which will be done by the purchase of two drill-rigs to be based at the project.

This will deliver over 10,000 cumulative linear metres per year.

Funding strategy

The funding injection will include up to $16.2 million, comprising:

– A 11 for 2 renounceable pro–rata entitlement offer at $0.01 per share to raise at least $13.0 million and up to $15.0 million before costs; and
– The proposed conditional sale of 100% of non-core Croydon Project for $1.2 million in cash.

Why Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is home to multi-million ounce major gold mines with operators such as Barrick, Newcrest and Harmony present.

The country’s annual production exceeds 2.1 million ounces and has been growing.

PNG also offers a stable and competitive tax and regulatory regime – no material change in minerals law for 25 years – and the currency is ‘pegged’ to USD.

Adding further interest, incoming directors regard the owner of nearby Kainantu Project, K92 Mining as a key relevant peer.

A new name and new board

The current proposed name change is to Paradise Gold Mining Ltd.

Sam Chan and Richard Johnson have agreed to resign from the company’s board and three new proposed directors have agreed to join on completion of the entitlement offer.

The three new proposed directors are:

  • Alexander Molyneux, proposed chairman – 20-years’ experience in the minerals industry as an executive, director and specialist industry investment banker.
  • Dorian L. (Dusty) Nicol, proposed non-executive director – Career geologist with over 40-years’ experience in discovery and resource development. Worked extensively in Papua New Guina for Esso Minerals and Rennison Gold Fields, including on Crater Mountain and Kainantu projects.
  • Robert Usher, proposed non-executive director – Mining engineer with more than 25-years’ experience. Significant gold production experience including in PNG with Placer Dome at its Porgera operation from 1993 to 1999.

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Filed under Exploration, Mine construction, Papua New Guinea

Bell Potter beats drum for PNG minerals explorer float

Ex-New Hope boss Rob Neale lines up as chairman of ASX-hopeful Mayur Resources. Glenn Hunt

Sarah Thompson, Anthony Macdonald, Joyce Moullakis | Australian Financial Review | 24 July 2017

Fund managers will recognise some of the names behind PNG minerals exploration company and initial public offering-hopeful Mayur Resources, which is seeking to hit the ASX boards on September 1.

Queensland resources industry veteran and former managing director of Soul Patts’ coal play New Hope Corporation Rob Neale lines up as chairman, while former Hancock Prospecting executive Paul Mulder would run the listed company as managing director. 

The pair would be joined around the boardroom table by former Gloucester Coal deputy CEO and BHP Billiton iron ore executive Tim Crossley, and former Credit Suisse metals and mining research analyst Paul McTaggart, among others. 

Mayur Resources was seeking to raise up to $15.5 million via the sale of CHESS Depository Interests at 40¢ each. The company is incorporated in Singapore, with operational headquarters in Brisbane and assets in Papua New Guinea. 

In a prospectus lodged late last week, chairman Neale told potential investors that Mayur had been operating since 2011 with the aim of acquiring, exploring and developing mineral and energy opportunities in PNG. 

Funds raised were pegged for a definitive feasibility study of the company’s Orkolo Bay Industrial Sands Project, and to deliver a resource estimate for its Port Moresby Limestone Project, among other uses. 

CEO Mulder doubled as the company’s largest shareholder, with a 52.6 per cent stake prior to the IPO. 

Bell Potter is running the IPO as lead manager and was scheduled to open the raising next week. 

The offer was not underwritten. If successful, the company would list on September 1.

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BCL determined not to take no for an answer!

Firm set to intensify community engagement

The National aka The Loggers Times | July 18, 2017

Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) is set to intensify its community engagement activities as part of a comprehensive, staged development plan for a new Panguna mining project.

BCL chairman Rob Burns said a genuine commitment to stakeholder engagement underpinned the development plan and the company was putting in place resources and personnel to step up its on-the-ground activities in Bougainville over the coming months.

“We understand that building trust and widespread support among all relevant parties, as well as the people of Bougainville, is essential if the aim of renewing mining at Panguna is to be realised,” Burns said in a statement on the company’s website.

“By working collaboratively with all groups, we have every confidence that outstanding issues can be resolved and the necessary benchmarks can be met for the project to advance.”

BCL noted recent comments by a third-party company, RTG Mining Inc, that it had been nominated by one of nine landowner associations as a development partner in a Panguna project.

Burns said it was important to stress that BCL’s first right to develop the Panguna tenement was clear and unambiguous under the Bougainville Mining Act 2015.

He also noted RTG’s pledge to “fully respect” this right.

“There can be no doubt that we are committed to exercising our right through the implementation of our development plan, which has the full backing of the Autonomous Bougainville Government and broad endorsement among the landowner associations,” he said.

Burns said it was unfortunate that there was some dispute over the leadership of one of the nine landowner associations and Bougainville Copper Limited was hopeful of a lasting resolution of the issue and would continue to work with landowners.

“We know there are people with different views, but equally, we are encouraged by the levels of support we have received to date and will work hard to further build our relationships,” Burns said.

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Filed under Human rights, Mine construction, Papua New Guinea

Global mining major needed to re-open Bougainville’s Panguna copper mine?

 Kevin McQuillan | Business Advantage | 18 July 2017

Moves to re-open the Panguna copper mine on Bougainville are gathering momentum. Funding the re-opening is a key concern, however, says Bougainville President, John Momis. Could one of the global mining majors get involved?

Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL) is currently advertising for a local Bougainville-based manager, and are looking at the payment of K14 million in rent and compensation that was owed to the 812 customary clan groups who own the blocks of land within the mining lease areas.

Autonomous Bougainville Government President John Momis tells Business Advantage PNG, that over the next year, he expects BCL to open an office and ‘start dealing with some of the legacy issues, demonstrating BCL’s commitment, in a just and fair way, to some of the real issues that have been bothering the land owners.’

That includes, he says, the ecological, environmental, and health damage issues caused by former owner, Rio Tinto.

‘They have walked away, so now BCL has to address that.’

Momis says the Joint Steering Committee preparing for the mine’s re-opening consists of representatives from the nine official landowner groups, BCL, the national government, and the ABG, and is to be chaired by an independent chairman.

Funding

A key challenge is the cost of reopening the mine; back in 2012, BCL estimated it would be US$5 billion.

‘BCL has to demonstrate to us they have ability to solicit funds and attract a developer and I’m sure they are thinking about this,’ says Momis, pointing out that under Bougainville’s 2014 Mining Act, BCL has first right of refusal about re-opening the mine.

‘The Panguna mine is a “high-risk, high-return” investment.’

‘We are giving BCL the opportunity to get funds and to meet the conditions as per the mining law. If they fail, then other companies will have to apply and be put through this process.’

High-risk, high-return

Mining industry analysts describe the Panguna mine as a ‘high-risk, high-return’ investment, which only global miners would be interested in.

Greg Evans, KPMG’s Perth-based Global Leader, Mining Mergers and Acquisitions, believes there will be considerable interest.

‘If you look at what the resource is, and what it can deliver to both an owner and investor—and, probably more importantly, the local economy—it would have to be a definitive “yes”.

‘The copper price is heading in the right direction, the supply metrics are working in the favour of copper broadly and I would expect that BCL are being approached reasonably regularly by a number of metals traders.’

Evans points to growing demand for copper, noting that batteries in electric vehicles are likely to use 927,000 tonnes of copper a year by 2030, according to forecasts by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That alone equates with 5 per cent of current production.

Global

Evans believes a global miner, ‘like Glencore or similar’, is likely to become involved.

‘KPMG just completed a survey around transaction activity across a bunch of sectors. In the mining sector, the preference of the majors was particularly for joint ventures at the asset level.

‘Batteries in electric vehicles are likely to use 927,000 tonnes of copper a year by 2030.’

‘To me, that would be the form that a transaction would likely take. BCL would ensure the social licence to operate, and look after stakeholder management, political and administrative management on the ground, with perhaps a partner coming in providing financial and operational support.

‘So, it is likely to be a large industry player used to dealing in remote locations, eliciting strong local community engagement, and creating local employment as an obligation and priority. All those things are going to be required.’

Risks

Satish Chand, Professor of Finance at the University of New South Wales and based at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra, says risk assessment will be crucial.

‘There has been a history of conflict where a very small number within the population has the ability to stop a very large mine. That risk remains.

‘There is a contest over the distribution of proceeds and that has not yet been settled to my understanding. There is little that is known about the magnitude of the cost involved in the clean up.’

Chand notes that the Bougainville Mining Act says 51 per cent of the mine must be locally-owned. The non-binding referendum on Bougainville’s independence from PNG scheduled for 2019 must also be considered a ‘risk’.

Greg Evans agrees the local shareholding requirement makes the financing prospect ‘more challenging’.

‘The biggest successes that the majors have had in countries such as Africa and South America, have been where they’ve engaged local communities, shared the profits, and shared the benefits. The control over how those profits flow and are allocated is equally the challenge—as it is the solution.

‘You’ve always got to come back to the quality of the resource; which will always make it attractive.’

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