Category Archives: Papua New Guinea

Tuke, Yama Want Fresh Deal For Ramu Mine

Politician’s love to make fancy promises – but do they ever actually deliver?

Post Courier | March 19, 2019

MINING Minister Johnson Tuke has said, before he signs any documents regarding the Ramu NiCo project, he needs to understand what is there for the landowners.

“When I understand and am really convinced then I will sign the agreement for the expansion, otherwise that will not happen,” Mr Tuke said.

He said he had discussed with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill the licence that government will issue for the expansion must be under a new agreement.

Mr Tuke said many mining companies usually say they will only give according to the MoA, however, there must be some form of kindness and humility when dealing with the local landowners whose land and water were given away for the project.

Madang Governor Peter Yama said the new expansion plan for the Ramu project will be properly discussed and he, as the head of the province, must be convinced that the people of Madang receive more benefits.

He said the old agreement that was signed before the construction and the operation of the Ramu Nickel Project must be done away with.

“The new agreement will be renegotiated, and the old agreement will be no more,”

He said that the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill during his visit to Usino had publicly announced that the new agreement will be a fresh start. Mr Yama said he is in full support of a new agreement for the Ramu NiCo Project, and stressed that all the parties that will be signing the agreement including the National Government, the provincial government, and the developer Ramu NiCo (MCC) must make sure the agreement provides better benefits to the people of Madang.

This is particularly for those from the impacted communities, the developer Ramu NiCo, Madang province, and the country.


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Bougainville President launches stinging attack on RTG

A lake in the pit of the long defunct Panguna mine in Bougainville. Photo:

President John Momis is stinging in his criticism of RTG Mining but the same critique surely applies equally to his own preferred option, Caballus Mining, and the previous horse he backed, BCL…

Radio New Zealand |19 March 2019 

The government in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville has dashed any hope it would work with the Australian miner, RTG, accusing the company of bribery.

The Bougainville government and RTG are promoting unrelated schemes to re-open the Panguna mine.

After a meeting between the two parties earlier this month, RTG’s chairman Michael Garrick felt they got a good hearing and there was a chance they’d work together in re-developing Panguna.

But Bougainville President John Momis said his government is emphatically rejecting the offer, and accuses the company of insensitivity and disregard for the customs, culture and sacrifice of all the people of Bougainville.

He said RTG’s achievements as a miner are limited and investors have no faith in its ability to deliver.

Granting a mining lease to RTG would pose an intolerable risk, Mr Momis said.

Mr Momis said payments and loans the government understands that RTG gave to members of one particular group of landowners, the Special Mining Lease Osikaiang Landowners Authority, constitute bribery, as do similar offers made to his government during the recent meeting.

Relevant agencies in PNG and Australia would be notified, he said.

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Papua Gas Agreement Date Set

The Exxon-Mobil LNG promised to transform the economy but left PNG worse off than before.

Trans-national corporations can employ the best lawyers and accountants in the world so why will the Papua LNG be any different?

It is time the government invested its resources in mobilizing the people of PNG rather than worshipping false gods and encouraging more cargo cults…

Melisha Yafoi | Post Courier | March 19, 2019

THE K44 billion (US$13bn) TOTAL led Papua LNG gas agreement will be signed on April 5, 2019.

This was announced by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday at the CWC third Petroleum and Energy summit in Port Moresby.

Mr O’Neill said it is the target for that agreement to be signed and is one of the biggest investments in the country.

He said when the state signs the second LNG agreement, he strongly believes that the global market will depend on PNG and will rely on the stability and the policies of the petroleum and energy industry.

“The Papua LNG project is an investment of some USD$13bn that will develop the Elk Antelope gas fields and they are certainly going to produce close to 2.7 million metric tons per annum (mtpa) and the two trains has been developed in the caution bay is going to ensure that we remain confident.

Our government has learnt from those past mistakes and we are not ready to repeat those mistakes again,” he said.

PM O’Neill said Treasurer Charles Abel and Minister for Petroleum Fabian Pok are leading a very strong negotiation team in making sure that all project development negotiations will benefit the interest of the people.

“But it will also provide a fair efficient environment for our development partners to maximise returns on their investment partners.

“We are trying to conclude a win-win situation for all developers and for all our people.

“When we started discussing the exports of the LNG some 20 years ago, we had very little understanding and really basic understanding on the scope of the business in his industry.

Today we have the gas agreement for the second LNG with TOTAL, the Papua LNG project and as the first LNG did for our country.

“It will quickly strengthen the growth of our country’s economy and will transform many lives in our country, particularly in the Gulf province,” he said.

“Very importantly we believe that the globally economy is entering into a most hungry energy phase in our global history.

“And we can see the consumption escalating and we believe strongly that Papua New Guinea is in a very strong position,” Mr O’Neill added.

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Sinivit Landowners Call For Audit Into Mine Operations

Post Courier | March 19, 2019

The Sinivit Mine Landowners Association is calling on the East New Britain provincial government to fund an independent audit into the operations of the abandoned Sinivit gold mine.

The developer, New Guinea Gold Limited abandoned the project in September 2014 after blaming the government and the Mineral Resources Authority for not quickly renewing their mining licence.

It is understood MRA had notified the company to return and rectify safety and environmental issues related to the Sinivit project but this has not eventuated.

Chairman Douglas Augustine said a submission was given to the provincial government in August last year requesting an independent audit to be conducted on the mine.

He said before any mining project can be re-opened, an audit must be done to establish how much was generated by the mining operations in the past and who benefited from those funds.

Mr Augustine said currently there is an environmental issue where some of the 29 abandoned vats used to extract gold and other minerals at the mine site were further damaged by heavy rain and flooding, with potential chemical contamination into nearby rivers of Warangoi and Nengmutka.

“Right now most of those vats near the cliff have collapsed and I appeal to communities near the two rivers not to use it too much as it is not safe,” he said.

Therefore he urged the provincial government and its administration to fast track an investigation or audit, so that any such issues are addressed before the mining project can be re-opened.

The landowners say they are not against the planned re-opening of the mine, but want an audit and report to be tabled first before the mine can be re-opened.

The office of the ENB Governor in response said the Minister for Mining will officially visit the mine soon to determine the next course of action.

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PNG minister issues warning over Panguna re-opening

Radio New Zealand | 18 March 2019

Papua New Guinea’s minister of Bougainville Affairs, William Samb, has called on the Bougainville government to forget about talking to investors in the Panguna mine until after the referendum on independence.

New Dawn FM reported Mr Samb was speaking during a Bougainville government roadshow around Bougainville that is explaining the referendum process.

His comments came after the government unveiled controversial plans to start its own company to re-open the mine, teaming up with a newly set up Australian company.

This has riled at least two other foreign investors who had been planning similar moves.

A year ago the government had declared a moratorium on opening Panguna but changed tack suddenly in January, saying it needed to open the mine to stimulate the economy ahead of the referendum vote in October.

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Mining Pollution Limits Access to Clean Water in Papua New Guinea

Mining pollution turns Papua New Guinea’s Pongema River red. Photo: Red Water report

Aly Azhar  Columbia University | March 15, 2019

new report titled Red Water documents the social, environmental, economic, and health impacts of gold mining in Porgera, Papua New Guinea. The report finds that the communities affected by mining do not have access to consistent and safe drinking water. This is due, in part, to the fact that the PNG government has not met its human rights obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill the right to water in Porgera, and because companies that own and operate the mine — Canadian company Barrick Gold and Zijin Mining from China — are in breach of their responsibilities to respect the right to water.

Red Water finds that the Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) gold mine poses direct threats to the social and economic rights of communities living near the mine. These key findings are a result of a four-year study conducted by Earth Institute scientists, Pennsylvania State University scientists, and Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic faculty and students. The investigation conducted over 177 interviews and meetings and collected and analyzed 45 sediment samples from streams adjacent to the PJV gold mine, 25 soil samples from local residents’ household gardens, and water samples from 64 sites.

Homes near the mine do not have running water inside them. 

The PJV releases mine waste, known as tailings, from the mine facility into the Pongema River at an average rate of over 14,000 tons per day. The tailings discharge forms what local residents refer to as the “Red River.” A 2013 study noted the catastrophic environmental consequences of tailings discharge and noted that of the 2,500 industrial-sized mines in the world, only four mines — three of them in PNG — were found to rely on riverine tailings disposal. According to one resident of Porgera, the local residents are “in a desperate situation. [Our] environment is not in a good condition.” Moreover, with a changing climate, water insecurity in the area is an acute problem.

The Porgera gold mine has been one of the world’s highest-producing gold mines over the course of its quarter-century history, and has accounted for a considerable percentage of PNG’s economic income. The mine, which began operations in 1989, has long been contentious, and has generated global attention for both violence by security personnel and allegations of environmental degradation. The mine is owned by the PJV with a 95 percent share held by the mining companies.

The Red Water report highlights key recommendations for the corporations who own the mine, government actors in Papua New Guinea, the government of Canada, and international development partners:

  • Publicly commit to advance the human right to water in Porgera. The report recommends that the consortium of mining companies publicly announce a commitment to initiate a multi-stakeholder process to create a Human Right to Water Policy for the Porgera Joint Venture.
  • Work with the government of PNG to promote consistent access to adequate amounts of clean water for household uses in Porgera. The companies, in partnership with the Papua New Guinea government and in consultation with Porgeran communities, should invest in infrastructure improvements to provide adequate sources of safe water at the household level.
  • Immediately pledge to carry out an independent environmental and social audit of the PJV. This must be a full audit examining all the social, environmental, and health effects of the mine, including on water, land, flora, fauna, and human health. The results of the audit must be made public and accessible, especially for potentially impacted communities.
  • Adopt necessary laws and regulations to ensure that Canadian corporations respect human rights in their extraterritorial activities, and that there is access to remedy where such activities breach international human rights.

A launch event for the report will be held in April and will involve the research team and members of human rights and international development groups.

The report was supported by Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Clinic and a Cross-Cutting Initiative grant from Columbia University’s Earth Institute.

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K92 mine dealing with new commitments in review of agreement

Clarissa Moi | The National aka The Loggers Times | March 14, 2019

THE review of the memorandum of agreement (Moa) between parties to the K92 mining project in Eastern Highlands is expected to be completed by the end of this year, says chief executive and director John Lewins.
He said all the parties wanted a new Moa so the review would include new commitments.
“We’ve had very good support from the Mineral Resource Authority (MRA) in moving to completing the review,” Lewins said.
“At this point in time, we are certainly confident that we will be able to sign an updated memorandum of agreement by the end of this year.”
The agreement was last reviewed and signed between the parties and former operator Barrick (PNG) over 10 years ago.
K92 Mining Inc is the new party.
The other parties are the Bilimoia Interim Landowners Association (Bila), National Government, Eastern Highlands government and affected local level governments.
Mining Minister Johnson Tuke said the ministry had prioritised review of the Moa and anticipated to recommence review by end of this month.
“Memorandum of agreement is the most important vehicle,” he said.
“That is an agreement between the industry and the State.
“Many a time, government as well as industry are passing the buck at each other.
“And who are the recipients? The people. We need to have in place a vetting process.
“I want see many of our memorandums-of-agreements to be captured.
“That has not been captured many times.”
Tuke said those Moas had to be vetted, fully captured and fulfilled by parties.
Meanwhile, Lewins said the memorandum of agreement recognises two landowner groups of the project:

  • Bilimoian landowners – mining lease (ML) 150; and
  • associated infrastructure groups (ownership of areas where mine infrastructure is built- lease for mining purpose (LMP) 78, ME 80 & 81).

Lewins said as part of their focus for this year, they had:

  • established a number of joint-ventures with the community for transport, security, camp and ancillary mobile plan;
  • introduced scholarship programmes for the 2018 academic year for 11 students being expanded this year;
  • a number of other projects like water supply and others; and
  • A big focus on training and employment programmes.

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