Category Archives: Papua New Guinea

Tussle over HPL’s future control and the Frieda river mine

hpl

See also: Frieda river mining companies involved in internal war

Post Courier | February 27, 2017

A RIFT has developed between Highlands Pacific Limited (HPL) and its shareholder, Chinese group Guangdong Rising Assets Management Co Ltd (GRAM), over the future control of the Papua New Guinea company.

HPL says it is a battle with potentially major ramifications for its multi-billion kina PNG projects, including Frieda River, Ramu Nickel and Star Mountains.

Last week, GRAM subsidiary PanAust, which owns a 14 percent stake in HPL, had demanded a meeting of HPL’s shareholders to remove four of the company’s five non-executive independent directors and replace them with three GRAM nominees.

HPL argued the highly aggressive move would deliver GRAM control of the firm which was valued at about A$60 million (K146 million), without GRAM having paid anything to the other shareholders of the company that collectively hold 86 percent.

The move also would deliver GRAM essentially full, unassailable control of the giant US$6 billion (K19bn) Frieda River project in West Sepik Province. HPL and GRAM are joint venture partners in the project, with GRAM holding an 80 percent interest and HPL 20 percent.

HPL also holds an 8.56 percent interest in the Ramu Nickel project, as well as a major shareholding in the ‘exciting’ Star Mountains exploration project.

HPL directors had opposed GRAM demands, stating that handing control of the Company to GRAM/PanAust would not be in the interests of its shareholders.

Chairman Ken MacDonald said the GRAM/PanAust proposal effectively amounted to a takeover of Highlands without offering to pay shareholders.

HPL managing director Craig Lennon said the future of Highlands was vitally important for the development of its projects, and could have serious economic implications for PNG.

“We want to see these projects, especially the Frieda River project, develop in a timely fashion, creating potentially enormous economic benefits for PNG by creating jobs, generating revenues for government and earning foreign exchange income,” he said.

“With Highlands remaining as an independent company, we have the best chance of achieving that outcome.”

The special meeting to consider the matter would be held in Port Moresby, and shareholders would vote on the proposals to remove four of the five non-executive independent directors including the chairman.

The two directors who GRAM is not trying to remove for now are the managing director Craig Lennon and Bart Philemon, the highly respected former treasury minister.

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New Bougainville vice-president faces BFM criticism over mining policy

raymond-masono-bougainville-680wide

New ABG Vice-President Masono being sworn in by Chief Magistrate Bruce Tasikul while Chief Secretary to ABG Joseph Nobetau looks on. Image: Bougainville News

Asia Pacific Report | 26 February 2017

Raymond Masono has been appointed new Vice-President of Bougainville and has immediately faced criticism from the Bougainville Freedom Movement.

Bougainville News reported Masono was from the Carteret Islands and is a first term MP in the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the Member for the Atolls Constituency and Minister for Public Service.

Prior to his entry into politics, Masono had a ‘distinguished career’ in the Bougainville Public Service and held several senior positions, including Acting Chief Administrator, Deputy Chief Administrator Policy and Director for Panguna Negotiations.

“I want to express my sincere gratitude on behalf of the Atolls people for the President’s confidence in appointing me as his new Vice-President,” Masono said at the swearing in.

“I accept this appointment with great humility, for me personally it is a great honour to serve as the Vice-President of one of the founding fathers of this nation and I want to assure the President and the people of Bougainville of my undivided loyalty and continued support to the President and ABG,” Masono said.

However, the Bougainville Freedom Movement (BFM) put out a statement condemning the appointment as not helping Bougainville’s independence from mining companies. It said:

“The young and easily influenced [former] Vice-President Patrick Nisira made it clear in March 2016  that the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) knew that the decision on the future of the mining moratorium on Bougainville was a major concern and ‘that there should be wide public debate on the issues involved’.

‘Don’t have the funds’

“This was reiterated again, as stated by Patrick Nisira in his public leture on 28 April 2016 in Canberra.

“Yet in his next breath, Patrick Nisira advised: “But we don’t have the funds necessary for an extensive public awareness and consultation programme.”

“Now, his replacement, Raymond Masono, Director of the Office of Panguna Negotiations, Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), who originates from the Atolls, gave a lecture at  the University of Queensland’s “Institute for Sustainable Mining” on 16 December 2014.

“Under the influence of the University of Queensland’s “Institute for Sustainable Mining”, Mr Raymond Masono made it quite clear that, “Alternative Benefit Sharing Modality for a Redeveloped Panguna Mine in Bougainville, PNG”.

“Benefits from a redeveloped Panguna mine must contribute to the overall social and economic development of the all Bougainvillians, not just the mine affected landowners.

“This requires the design and implementation of a benefit sharing modality that ensures everyone shares in the nation’s wealth. The Office of Panguna Mine Negotiations has been established to coordinate the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and Panguna mine affected Landowners preparations to negotiate the possible reopening of Panguna Mine in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

“President Momis, it certainly would be better that you represent your people rather than mining companies don’t you think?, asked the BFM.”

Patrick Nisira will remain as the Member of the Halia constituency until he formally resigns from the Bougainville House of Representatives to contest this year’s general election.

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Himata to take up Bougainville mining role

himata

Cedric Patjole | Loop PNG | February 25, 2017

Outgoing Secretary of the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management, Shadrach Himata, will be taking up a new role in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

Himata told Loop PNG during the Departments Corporate and Strategic Plan Launching that he will be taking up the role of Mining Secretary in ARoB.

He said he will be assisting the autonomous government in developing the mining sector in the island.

Himata hands the reigns over the department to Harry Kore, who has assumed the role of Acting Secretary.

During his farewell speech, Himata said the government could not have appointed a better candidate saying Kore would deliver many of the objectives that are outlined in the recently launched plans.

Himata also congratulated and commended staff of the department for their loyalty and commitment in delivering many objectives which include the review of the Mining Act, the development of six new mining policies and the upgrading of all monitoring equipment and machinery throughout the country under the Geohazards Management Division.

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Six new mining policies to guide activities

Some very fat men toast a very young dancer

Some very fat men toast ‘sustainability in the mining sector’ without a single clue what that might mean or how, in reality, it could be achieved…

Cedric Patjole | PNG Loop | February 24, 2017

Six new mining policies have been developed to guide mining activities for both on-shore and off-shore projects.

This was highlighted yesterday during the launching of the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management’s Corporate Plan 2017 – 2022 and Strategic Plan 2017 – 2022 in Port Moresby.

Minister for Mining, Byron Chan, in his keynote address said the policies accompany the recently concluded Mining Act review carried out by the DMPGM to improve the supervision of mining activity in the country.

“The revised Mining Act and the new mining sector policies encourages the application of international best practices to ensure there is sustainability in the mining sector while incorporating local content aspirations of our project affected communities,” he said.

The six new policies include:

  • Mining Policy;
  • Offshore Mining Policy;
  • Mine Rehabilitation and Closure Policy;
  • Sustainable Mining Development Policy;
  • Mining Involuntary Resettlement Policy; and
  • Geothermal Resource Policy.

Chan said despite limited financial resources, DMPGM was able to successfully complete the review exercise.

He said the policies are now before cabinet for endorsement.

Also highlighted was the upgrading of all monitoring equipment and machinery throughout the country under the Geohazards Management Division. Notable projects include:

  • Disaster Early Warning System for PNG
  • Landslide Hazard Mapping for the Okuk Highway
  •  Accreditation of the new EG Laboratory
  • Volcano, Earthquake and Tsunami Hazard and Risk Mapping
  • Establishment of a Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban-Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) International Monitoring System (IMS) station in PNG.

“With these proven track record I’m fully satisfied that the Department will move into the future wit [sic] confidence and determination and continue to serve and uphold the best interest of the state and the people of Papua New Guinea,” said Chan.

Outgoing Secretary, Shadrach Himata, commended staff of DMPGM for their commitment to saying the achievements of the Department were a result of their hard work.

He said despite challenging circumstances, the Department delivered objectives in its former five year plan successfully.

Himata also thanked stakeholders in the mining industry for assisting them in carrying out the legislative reforms as well as improving monitoring equipment and machinery

“I really want to talke [sic] this time to thank everyone for many reasons. And the fundamental reason is you helped us deliver the last chapter of  the (Department) Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management,” he said.

The Corporate and Strategic Plan launching was attended by Chief Secretary, Isaac Lupari, Acting DMPGM Secretary, Harry Kore, stakeholders, and staff of the Department.

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Landholders say more LNG protests are imminent

Delays in royalty payments are frustrating landowners

Delays in royalty payments are frustrating landowners

Jeffrey Elapa | Post Courier | February 23,2017

MORE landowner protests are imminent as the Government continues to neglect them and delay payments that they rightfully deserve.

In addition to the protest plan by the PNG LNG plant site landowners, the upstream landowners also plan to protest and shut down the PNG LNG project after continuous delay by the Government in releasing their funds.

The concern was brought to the Minister for Petroleum and Energy Nixon Duban yesterday but he did not respond.

Hides PDL 7 landowners Umbrella Association chairman Chris Payabe said it is really frustrating for the Government to continue to delay all payments, including the recent payment of K35 million for the Hides landowners.

He said the K35 million is a commitment made to the landowners in order for them to open the gate to the PNG LNG condensation plant and other vital projects by the disgruntled landowners. He said through a MOA signed by the State, MRDC and Kumul Petroleum Holdings with the landowners in Hides, the payment was to be made within two weeks, but since August 18 last year the landowners are still waiting as the Government continues to play its delay tactics.

He said the court order O/S 196 is related to the payment of IDG for 2013 and not related to any other funding and the Government should not mislead the people.

“The plaintiffs to the matter Robert Mai and the respondent the Hela Provincial Government through its legal officer had cleared the payment of the K35m as it does not relate to the IDGs, or any other issues such as the Agore lands issues and payments, therefore we want our payment to be made to us instead of giving excuses.

“We also want ExxonMobil to talk to the State as they are the ones party to the project as their failure would have serious repercussions on the projects as we are ready to stop the project. ExxonMobil should not take a back stage but should negotiate with the state to have our payments settled,” he said.

Mr Payabe said they also want the K6.8 million payments from the Department of Petroleum and Energy while other important commitments are still pending.

“The state should not give us any more excuses but tell us if they are going to pay us or not. If they have money or not so we know the reason for the delay as there is no court matter stopping the payment of the K35 million and the K6.8 million payments,” he said.

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Exxon Mobil to continue operations at LNG site

Aerial view of the LNG processing site

Jacklyn Sirias | The National aka The Loggers Times | February 21, 2017

EXXONMOBIL PNG will continue operations despite the protest by landowners against the Government over royalty payments, according to a spokesperson.

Landowners from the four impacted villages – Papa, Lealea, Boera and Porebada – gathered in front of the LNG site yesterday, blocked the gate and main road.

They want the Government to pay the royalties due to them.

Spokesperson Chief Nao Nao claimed that they had not been paid royalties since May 2014.

A spokesperson for ExxonMobil said their primary concern was the safety of their staff and the community.

“We are monitoring the peaceful protest outside the LNG plant in Central and continue to engage with the relevant landowner groups,” the spokesperson said.

“We are continuing to do everything we can to facilitate communication between all parties.

“We respect the right of individuals to peacefully protest. But we also encourage continued dialogue between landowners and the government to resolve their outstanding issues.

“We hope the landowners and the Government can resolve this situation promptly and in an amicable manner.”

Meanwhile, Central police were monitoring the protest yesterday.

Central Police Commander Chief Inspector Laimo Asi said he had already warned the chiefs and leaders of the villages to control their people.

He said they would be held responsible if anything went wrong.

“If anything goes wrong, the leaders will be held responsible. I’ve already warned them,” Asi said.

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Police say LNG protests illegal

PNG police have no respect for people's right to protest

Exxon-Mobil says it respects people’s right to protest – unlike PNG police who love to label any attempt at free speech as “illegal”

Freddy Mou | Loop PNG | February 20, 2017

Provincial Police Commander for Central Province, Superintendent, Laimo Asi has condemned the protest by landowners of portion 152 at the PNG LNG plant site today.

Asi said there is no approval given by authorities to stage the protest.

The PPC, who was at the site this morning told Loop PNG that he had warned landowners not to cause any damage to the plant site but to allow the operation to continue as normal.

He had advised them that the protest was illegal and while the landowners have been reluctant to back off, they promised to do it peacefully.

Asi said his men are on the ground to protect facilities and to ensure the protest does not turn rowdy.

As of the writing of this report, landowners have not taken any action except the sit in protest with placards under the heat of the sun.

The villagers are from Boera, Porebada, Rearea and Papa.

They claimed that the government hasn’t paid their royalties since the first shipment of the LNG in May 2014.

They are demanding the government to look into this and provide answers to their demands.

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