Tag Archives: coal mining

Tuke seduced by coal

Tuke Visits Coal Plant ‘For Perspective’

Post Courier | January 10, 2019

Mining Minister Johnson Tuke visited a coal fired power plant north of Sydney to gain a perspective on modern technology and the benefits of utilizing PNG’s own domestic coal resources.

The 15th Papua New Guinea Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference was held in Sydney, Australia last month, with an extensive focus placed on the future of mining and energy solutions for Papua New Guinea.

While attending the Conference last month, a senior PNG government delegation led by the minister conducted a visit to one of Australia’s longest running power plants.

The Mining Minister’s focus was to understand better how PNG could benefit from a more diversified energy mix at the lowest cost while also developing a more diversified resources and mining sector.

PNG, while strong in gold, copper, and recently in natural gas and nickel production needs to diversify its opportunities and create new revenue sectors for the nation. This was a sentiment echoed throughout the Sydney conference.

Power generation was also key topic of debate at the conference, including the nationwide electrification program that is essential for PNG to meet its commitments set out in the Alotau accords.

“I am looking at ways to expand opportunities in our extractives sector, how to increase Government revenue from Mining, and using global research in consultation with our international partners to review the sectors that PNG should be considering.”

“While it is a debated topic currently, especially in the Lae region, NEC has agreed that in our current state of energy poverty with only 13 per cent of our people having access to electricity, we will look at all forms of energy in our energy mix as all other nations around us have and will continue to do.

He reminded those critical to idea of a coal producing PNG, not to forget that for the last 43 years since independence most of PNG’s electricity has come from high polluting imported heavy fuel oil and diesel.

“I need to remind them we have our own cleaner low cost, low ash, low Sulphur high quality coal right here in PNG in the Gulf Province.

“Globally coal is a resource of immense proportions. PNG has never mined Coal, while our neighbouring countries (especially Australia and Indonesia) continue to reap the rewards of this commodity by exporting and empowering their people with far higher living standards than what we have in PNG while using inferior coal quality compared with our PNG coal,” Mr Tuke said.

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Govt will support coal power plant, says Basil

Peter Esila | The National aka The Loggers Times | November 29, 2018

THE Government will support any type of energy-producing sources developed in the country, including coal, says Minister for Energy Sam Basil.
Basil, one of the major proponents of the coal project in Lae together with Lae MP John Rosso, said this on FM 100 talkback radio yesterday in reference to that project.
Bulolo MP Basil and Ross have already encountered fierce resistance to the project in light of environmental implications.
This includes biomass energy project landowners in the Markham Valley of Morobe.
“We will continue to support all the different power-producing companies using different methods that are coming into PNG to operate, coal being one of them,” Basil said.
“The important thing that we must also look at is that when we start putting new power plants in districts and provinces, I’d like to look more into the landowners, the local level government, districts, towns and the provinces.
“What kind of benefits will we have in return for those people who may have their land and resources available for those projects to take stage?
“We should now be looking at more benefits rolling back into the host districts and provinces, and landowners.”
Basil is aware of resistance to him and Rosso.
“I would like to test new ideas, new ways of doing things because PNG has been neglected for awhile,” he said.
“Our neighbours Indonesia and Australia are heavily dependent – more than 50 per cent – on coal.
“We should be asking ourselves: How can we progress PNG forward? I think that one of the answers is having access to energy.
“We have a lot of raw resources to burn, to produce products for us, decapitating international prices by having access to our own energy here like gas, coal and others.
“It is one of the things that we should be promoting,”
Of solar energy, Basil said: “We are looking for solar places.
“For example, we are asking the DDA (district development authority) of Markham and other districts that have ample land, good sunlight, to make land available.
“Register with the Energy Department so that when people come and look around for putting up solar plants, we have got land there.
“We can also identify potential sites for geothermal.”
Basil said that the National Energy Bill, which would allow for energy investments, was in its final stages.

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Landowners oppose Lae’s coal-fired project

“We landowners of the Markham Valley, people of Papua New Guinea, we do not want coal-fired power or coal mining in our country”.

The National aka The Loggers Times | October 26, 2018

Markham Valley biomass landowners from Morobe have resisted the coal-fired project in Lae, spearheaded by Energy Minister Sam Basil and Lae MP John Rosso.

They travelled to Port Moresby this week to hold meetings with PNG Power Ltd and Government departments over the delay with the biomass project to which they have committed land.

Chairman Sam Meyab, of the Zif Faring Business Group, said yesterday the landowners wanted to show their support for the PNG Biomass project and to confront PPL, Energy Minister Sam Basil and Treasurer Charles Abel over the delay.

“The politicians think coal is the answer,” he said.

“We landowners of the Markham Valley, people of Papua New Guinea, we do not want coal-fired power or coal mining in our country.

“We want a clean, renewable, healthy future for our children.

“Coal has no place in PNG.

“We want renewable biomass to power our homes, not dirty coal.

“We want healthy lives, not a polluting coal-powered plant in Lae.

“We want our Government to honour its commitments – to us, to the developer, to the country, to the world.”
Meyab said the biomass project had all licences and permits, approvals and a signed power-purchasing agreement with PPL.

“We know that the biomass project sponsor Oil Search Ltd wants this project to go ahead,” he said.

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Australian company pushing to open Papua New Guinea’s first coal-fired power plant

PHOTO: A new 60 megawatt power station would have the ability to burn coal as well as use renewable biomass. (ABC News: Peter Giafis)

An Australian company is pushing ahead with plans to open a coal-fired power plant and coal mine in Papua New Guinea, despite the recent call from the world’s most authoritative climate science body to completely cut greenhouse emissions by 2050.

Key points:

  • Mayur Resources plans to open a power plant and possible coal mine in PNG
  • A new power facility is expected in just over two years, the Energy Minister says
  • Activists say the move would be counter to PNG’s commitments under the Paris accords

Yara Murray-Atfield | ABC News | 19 October 2018

Australian-based and PNG-focused Mayur Resources is proposing the establishment of an “Enviro Energy Park” in the industrial hub of Lae in PNG’s Morobe province.

Mayur has been in talks for the project since at least 2014, but now a new memorandum of agreement (MOA) has been signed between the company, the Lae City Authority, and the Morobe Provincial Government.

The MOA details plans for a new 60 megawatt power station, with the ability to burn coal as well as use renewable biomass, solar energy, and by-product heat.

Mayur Resources’ managing director Paul Mulder told the ABC the company was essentially at the stage of being “construction-ready” for the project, which he said would significantly reduce the energy cost for Papua New Guineans.

On Tuesday, Mayur released a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange detailing further non-binding plans to work with coal exporter Square at a coal mine in another province, touting the “low-ash, low-sulphur coal” found at Gulf Province’s Depot Creek.

If the projects are built, they would mark the first coal-fired power plant and coal mine in the country.

Coal generates mixed reaction

The project has attracted high-profile supporters, including Energy Minister Sam Basil who did not respond to an ABC request for comment, but said in a Mayur press release that “we can expect a new power facility in just over two years from now”.

“Whilst there are always those that will criticise, I take this opportunity to outline that Australia enjoys its first world developed lifestyle with 70 per cent of its total energy coming from coal,” Mr Basil said in the release, adding that this project would only be a much smaller fraction of PNG’s total energy.

PNG is a signatory to the Paris Agreement and, like Australia, recently signed the Pacific Islands Forum’s Boe Declaration, which says climate change “remains the single greatest threat to the livelihood, security, and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific”.

An assessment from PNG’s Conservation and Environment Protection Agency has given its endorsement to the plan, but it still faces community backlash.

“Our neighbours are really facing an existential crisis from sea level rise,” Christian Lohberger, head of anti-coal activist group Nogat Coal, told the ABC.

“So we think it’s irresponsible for Papua New Guinea to invest in coal, especially because there are many, many alternatives in Papua New Guinea for energy generation,” added Mr Lohberger, who also works for the Astra Solar company in PNG.

In 2016, World Bank data suggested only 23 per cent of the population had access to electricity, and even larger, electrified cities like the capital Port Moresby and Lae experience severe and frequent power outages.

Mr Mulder of Mayur Resources said PNG was an “energy-starved nation” and that the proposal “reduces the emissions footprint of what is currently the state of play in Papua New Guinea.”

Most prominent businesses in Lae use diesel-powered generators, which can produce carbon dioxide and other particulate emissions, and are known to reduce air quality.

“We’ve got the emission thing, but by the same token, if you lived in Lae, you would understand,” Lae MP John Rosso told the ABC.

“We have huge power fluctuations and we [sometimes] go a week without power.

“Our factories are suffering, our consumers are suffering, and I had to make that call, because we can’t keep sitting in the dark and letting our kids sit in the dark.”

The plan does have some resistance within government circles, with the Minister for Lands and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Justin Tkatchenko telling the ABC “for me personally … I am against coal fire, 100 per cent”.

Final hurdle is ‘unsolicited’ power agreement

The recent MOA is not an official contract, but Mayur said it had completed a feasibility study, selected a site, secured environmental approval, and received bids for the construction of the facility.

The plan also details a commitment to fully fund a research institute at the University of Technology, and provide $130,000 per year for 25 years to a local charity.

The sticking point for the project is now getting national provider PNG Power to sign a Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) before energy could be sold to the country’s grid.

PNG Power’s acting managing director Carolyn Blacklock said they had received four “unsolicited” PPA proposals from Mayur over several years, without a public tender process, and that it was unlikely a deal would be signed without a competitive bidding process.

But Mr Mulder said the company received a written request for a PPA and was provided with PNG Power documentation to submit, which they did in March 2016.

The ABC has sighted a letter that appears to be from then-director of strategic planning and business development Chris Bais dated October 2015, which “welcomes” Mayur to submit a PPA proposal.

Ms Blacklock took on the acting managing director job earlier this year following a reshuffle of the company’s board and has overseen a massive restructure of the company.

She said regardless of what correspondence the company had engaged in to date, PNG Power had no obligation to accept any PPA proposal.

“In PNG we have very high costs over power, in part driven because what has been done at PNG Power: uncompetitive processes that have led to uncompetitive prices that leads to uncompetitive tariffs for our consumers,” Ms Blacklock told the ABC.

Meanwhile Energy Minister Sam Basil was quoted in the press release as saying “there is no cheaper alternative ready to be built” and that it was time for PNG Power to “act swiftly” to finalise the agreement.

“It doesn’t mean just because there’s pressure applied, that the PNG Power board or myself or management are going to be swayed,” Ms Blacklock said.

A month ago, Mayur resources was floated on the Australian Stock Exchange and raised $15.5 million in an over-subscribed initial public offering — money they say will go towards developing further projects in PNG.

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German police clear protesters from ancient forest marked for mining

Police officers are seen in the forest as they prepare to clear the area at the “Hambacher Forst” in Kerpen-Buir near Cologne, Germany, September 13, 2018, where protesters have built a camp with tents and tree houses to stop the clearing of the Hambach forest for a nearby open cast coal mining. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Reuters |15 September, 2018

German riot police cleared environmental activists from tree houses in an ancient forest on Thursday, dismantling a protest camp set up five years ago to block a coal mining project.

Wearing helmets and carrying shields, they used a hydraulic platform mounted on a truck to force activists from the tree houses erected in Hambach forest, west of the city of Cologne.

Officers carried off some of the protesters who were trying to prevent utility RWE from clearing the forest that it bought decades ago to expand mining in the area. Most of the forest has already been chopped down and the activists were trying to save a remaining patch of green.

The activists had asked RWE to delay the logging until a year-end deadline for a commission to submit plans to the government for Germany to give up coal-fired energy.

Germany aims to raise wind and solar power’s share of energy generation from a third now to 65 percent by 2030 to help to cut carbon dioxide emissions and achieve its climate commitments.

Police said measures were being taken to prevent the activists from returning to the site. “After the operation we will monitor people and vehicles trying to come here in order to prevent the reconstruction of what we so painfully dismantled,” said police spokesman Paul Kemen.

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Australian company given green light to extract PNG coal

Mayur MD, Paul Mulder with Gulf Provincial Governor, Chris Havieta, signing an agreement in 2017

Radio New Zealand | 22 June 2018

An Australian company has been granted an environmental permit to extract coal in Papua New Guinea’s Gulf Province.

Mayur Resources has been given the green light to proceed with an exploration licence, owned by the company’s subsidiary in PNG, Waterford Ltd.

It’s the first time that the Conservation and Environmental Protection Authority (CEPA) has issued an environmental permit for coal bulk sampling in PNG to enable commercial grade shipments.

According to PNG Industry News, the conditions of the permit include the submission and implementation of a robust environmental management plan.

Managing director Paul Mulder said it was an exciting step in bringing PNG coal to the international market as a potential new source of energy.

The company was looking to confirm suitability of the coal for use in domestic power generation.

Mayur is also developing a proposed 50MW power station near Lae at the Western Tidal Basin in Morobe Province.

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Silly season comes early in Gulf

Australian firm taps into Gulf resources

The National aka The Loggers Times | December 11, 2017

AUSTRALIAN company Mayur Resources now has an exclusive licence to develop a resource, energy and industrial complex in Gulf.
An agreement was signed on Friday between Governor Chris Haiveta and Mayur managing director Paul Mulder in Port Moresby.
Haiveta said the agreement would use resources it had discovered in Gulf such as iron sands, zircon, ilmenite, coal and high grade silica sands for domestic use and export opportunities.
He said this would be done while leveraging favourable port areas in Gulf and the domestic market obligation for gas for a petrochemical industry.
“Our country is in an energy crisis and we continue to send foreign currency offshore and import foreign liquid fuels at a far higher cost and far higher polluting than using our own domestic energy sources,” he said.
“Other Asia-Pacific countries are using their domestic energy and industrial resources.”
PNG is importing most of our energy and nation building products even such things as cement, lime and diesel that enriches other countries rather than our own.
“Our Prime Minister has advocated cheap, reliable accessible energy while doing this in an environmentally beneficial manner that improves our current state.”
Haiveta said the time for talking about the concept was over.
“We need action. We need growth. We need employment. We need industry. We need prosperity. And we only get this by having access to cheap, reliable power,” he said.
“Gulf today has taken the next step to use its gas, iron coal and other mineral sand resources and bring us out of the dark and poverty.
“Our plans are nothing different to what Japan, Australia, New Caledonia, West Papua, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand.”
Mulder said Mayur Resources had been working for over five years to explore minerals in Gulf, Central and Western.

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