Tag Archives: Frieda river mine

Mining industry to meet in Sydney to plan further exploitation of PNG resources


Frieda river mine camp

Papua New Guinea’s resources sector still has some ‘bright stars’, says Anderson

David James | Business Advantage | 19 October 2016

Times are undoubtedly tough in Papua New Guinea’s mining and petroleum sector, but as the industry prepares for its biennial conference in Sydney in December, the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum’s Greg Anderson tells Business Advantage PNG there are still ‘bright stars’ to get excited about.

In spite of encouraging rallies this year from gold and silver, global prices for mineral commodities remain  low. PNG’s mining and petroleum industry is not alone in feeling the effects.

Profits are down worldwide and exploration activity is at a low ebb.

But experienced hands like Greg Anderson, Executive Director of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, understand that the industry is cyclical in nature and that the preparatory work that will create the next upturn is already underway.

‘There are still some bright stars, in spite of the global situation,’ he tells Business Advantage PNG.

Anderson and his team at the Chamber are preparing for the 14th Papua New Guinea Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference, set to be held at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney from 5 to 7 December.

The biennial event, the industry’s major gathering, will provide a comprehensive overview of these positive developments, as well as providing updates on PNG’s many existing resource projects, including the ExxonMobil-led PNG LNG project.

More LNG to come

Anderson believes the takeover by ExxonMobil of InterOil (finally approved by a US court in the last week in September) will clear the way for greater synergies between the existing PNG LNG project and the Papua LNG project, the country’s second planned LNG development in which InterOil had a significant stake.

He expects ExxonMobil and France’s Total SA, which is the designated operator of Papua LNG, to optimise the project.

‘Papua LNG is expected to be in the lower cost quartile of LNG projects around the world,’ he observes, indicating that prospects for financing of the second LNG project are positive.

In addition to this, ExxonMobil’s promising efforts to develop the P’nyang gas field in Western Province could well underpin the opening of a third train at its LNG plant outside Port Moresby. That would be a significant expansion for a project already beating production targets.

Mining progress

‘The highly promising Frieda River and Wafi-Golpu copper-gold projects continue to make significant progress towards commencement,’ notes Anderson.

PanAust, the developer of the Frieda River project, applied for its mining lease in late June, less than a year after being acquired by Chinese provincial investment fund, Guangdong Rising Assets Management.

Newcrest Mining and joint venture partner Harmony Gold are not far behind, having applied for a special mining lease for Wafi-Golpu only last month.

Nor has exploration activity altogether stalled in PNG.

Harmony Gold, which only this month ramped up its presence in PNG by acquiring joint venture partner Newcrest’s 50% share of the Hidden Valley gold mine, is getting exciting results from its Kili Teke prospect in Hela Province. Latest estimates suggest a resource of some 1.2 million ounces of gold and half a million tonnes of copper.

Meanwhile, Anglo American and Highlands Pacific are continuing exploration activity in their joint venture in the Star Mountains in West Sepik Province, north of the Ok Tedi copper-gold mine. 

New Act

If there’s one key issue outstanding for miners, it is the proposed new Mining Act. Despite a lengthy drafting process, industry still has many major outstanding issues with the current draft.

Anderson says what PNG needs is ‘a continuation of our successful internationally competitive and stable legal, fiscal and regulatory regime so that benefits such as royalties, employment, education and training among others are maintained and that there is continuous growth in both the mining and petroleum sectors.’

The 14th Papua New Guinea Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference will be held at the Hilton Hotel, Sydney from 5 to 7 December. 

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Foreigners celebrate PNG gullibility

The streets of Sydney, London and Vancouver are already paved with PNG gold and now the foreign capitalists can’t wait to loot PNG once again.

Why do we keep falling for their glittering promises of multi-billion benefits?

The truth is they are the ones who reap the benefits and it is PNG who provides the wealth for THEIR development…

These white folks just can't believe we can still be so stupid...

Just look at that smirk: These white folks just can’t believe we can still be so stupid…

ONE PNG | 13 October 2016

Feasibility studies into future gas and mineral projects reveal investment prospects worth over K77 billion (K77.8).

The figure was revealed during the launching of the ‘The Report: Papua New Guinea 2016’ by the Oxford Business Group (OBG).

OBG Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Jeffreys, says PNG has a relatively easy task of differentiating itself as a destination of choice for energy majors and commodity investors, given its unique hydrcarbon and mining potential.

He said delivery of large scale projects creates an enormous buzz in international media and tends to attract smaller investors.

“PNG has a formidable pipeline of energy and mining projects to be delivered within the  next 10 years. Feasibility studies alone that are available to the public reveal an astonishing 26 billion dollar investment prospect,” he said.

“Even if 30% of it is delivered we are looking at a significant boost to employment in the construction sector, increase in government revenues and growth in technology services to support these operations.”

The projects cited are the Wafi-Golpu, Frieda Mine, P’nyang Gas Project, and the Papua LNG.

The Wafi-Golpu Project in Morobe Province is expected to begin production in 2020, with an initial investment of K6.8 million ($2.3m).

The Frieda Mine Project in West Sepik, production of the largest known and undeveloped copper deposit is expected to start in 2024-2025 with a total investment of K17.9 billion ($6 billion).

The expansion of the P’nyang Gas Project in Western Province and the Papua LNG will both require investments of K30 billion each.

The Papua LNG is expected to create as many as 10, 000 jobs. Construction is expected to begin in 2018.


Filed under Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

Frieda mine must comply with laws: Tekwie


The National aka The Loggers Times | September 6, 2016

FORMER Sandaun Governor John Tekwie says the developers of the Frieda copper-gold project and the provincial government must fulfil obligations, terms and conditions under the Organic Law on Provincial and Local Government Affairs Act.

Project developer PanAust Limited lodged a special mining lease application for the Frieda River copper-gold project with the Mineral Resource Authority.

Managing director Dr Fred Hess said the lodgement of the application was a milestone in the pursuit of organic growth for the company.

Tekwie said apart from stringent legal requirements under the Mining Act for consultations and development forums, there was also the need for consultation and compliance by developers with provincial governments and landowners.

“PanAust must be reminded of its obligation for proper and full consultation with provincial leaders,” Tekwie said.

“Overseas paid junket trips for governors and MPs do nothing meaningful to the many negative realities faced after full operation (such as in the case of Bougainville, Ok Tedi and Ramu Nickel).

“This obligates investor parties and MRA to ensure that full and proper opportunity is given to our province to fully explore, ask, and know, and be included in/with all facts pertaining to the project prior to issuance of any mining lease by the minister.

“No one should ever use our Sandaun people’s non-response as to mean we are not interested.”

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PNG’s biggest ever tailings dam for Frieda river mine

A massive wave of toxic mud swept away the lives of locals living below the mining waste impoundment. Photo: Romerito Pontes

A massive wave of toxic mud swept away the lives of locals in Brazil when a BHP tailings dam failed recently. Photo: Romerito Pontes

Gedion Timothy | The National aka The Loggers Times | September 6, 2016
IT will take 12 months or longer to complete the technical assessments of two mining lease applications for Frieda in East Sepik and Wafi-Golpu in Morobe, according to the Mineral Resource Authority.
Managing director Philip Samar said both mines provided their own development plans.
PanAust Limited, the leader explorer and developer of the multi-billion kina Frieda copper-gold project in West Sepik lodged a special mining lease application for the project with the Mineral Resource Authority in June.
Likewise, the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture lodged an application on August 25 for a similar lease.
The MRA is two months into the technical assessment of the Frieda proposal for development.
The authority has circulated within government the relevant sections on business development, equity and training to the appropriate government agencies for their review. These will then be collated by the MRA for submission to Cabinet for approval.
“The Wafi assessment is through the preliminary stages and should pick up within the next three months,” Samar said.
“It is anticipated that all mining approvals should be ready in the next 12 months. The 12 months (could be more) is the time it will take MRA to complete its technical assessments of the two proposals for the development of both projects.”
He said the MRA would prepare a submission to Cabinet which the Mining Minister would table in Parliament.
“The SML is not granted until and unless the Environment Permit by Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) has been approved.
“Frieda will build Papua New Guinea’s largest land tailings storage facility (tailings dam) to ensure tailings are not disposed into the Sepik River over the life of the mine,” he said.
“This tailings facility will also double up as a hydro dam for purposes of generating electricity for operating the mine.
“The copper concentrate is shipped down the Sepik to Wewak for export to market.”
Wafi is a large long-life underground mine using a similar sized land tailings storage facility with an extensive pipeline infrastructure that delivers the copper concentrate from site to the port of Lae, Samar said.

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Frieda Mine Road Construction a Threat to Upper Sepik Environment

frieda road sepik

William H. Townsend, Ph.D., P.E.

It is clear that constructing the Frieda Mine Access Road from Nikie to Kubkain by way of Yabatawe in East Sepik Province will have major impact on the forest along the road, which runs through several Sanio-Hiyewe communities. By damaging their sago and other food sources, a sustainable food supply will be threatened in this challenging environment.

I lived with the Saniyo-Hiyewe for 20 months in 1966-1967 and shorter periods between 1980 and 1984. One of my activities during this time was mapping ridges, swamp forests, and paths between villages. Another was weighing food and measuring sago stands.

In 1981 through 1984 I served the PNG Government as its technical advisor on the Ok Tedi Mine, reporting to the Secretary of Minerals and Energy and the Secretary of Finance. As a civil engineer, I was responsible to monitor construction of the mine and report on OTML’s progress as it affected local facilities and environmental impact. 

Responding to a Directive from Parliament in 1982, I did an inspection of the Access Road from Kiunga to Tabubil and reported back to Parliament. This inspection revealed that the construction of the road through rain forest was slower and more difficult than anticipated. The side cast method of road construction used there discarded topsoil away from the roadway, pushing it into the adjacent forest.  (See photo.)

If the same construction methods for mine access roads are used on the Frieda Mine that were used in Western Province, runoff will deposit materials that will damage the prime sago areas, which have taken generations to develop, and other food sources. Damage to the fragile forest during construction would take decades to remediate and restore sustainable living to the people of the Upper Sepik tributaries.

While commentators are rightly concerned about the massive damage that occurs from riverine disposal of mine wastes during production or through the failure of poorly constructed tailings dams after mine closure, vigilance is also necessary from the beginning of construction. Environmental damage from construction shortcuts is especially likely during the pre-production and early production phases, before the project returns a profit, as Ok Tedi should have taught us all.

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PM Peter O’Neill: Government will address all mining issues

o'neill in parliament

Jack Lapauve Jnr. | EMTV News | August 9, 2016

PNG Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, told parliament today that the government is at the centre of addressing all mining-related issues.

Mr O’Neill said a formal statement will be released to address grievances by landowners in Hela, and shares in Panguna and Ok Tedi.

“I want to assure the house and our country that one thing is very obvious. We need to look after all our stakeholders. More importantly, the landowners, provincial governments, and of course our citizens and our country. We need to have a greater stake in the industry, and the industry laws today, does not allow us to exercise that option.

“We are looking at this in a very diligent manner. We want to be fair to everybody. Even the investors. Without the investors, some of the large scale mines like Frieda and Wafi cannot be developed. If we take up all the equity, investors will not have any equity to take. But over the course of the next two weeks, I will be making statements in this house, in regards to the shareholding in Ok Tedi and Bougainville, for the first time these two mines are being controlled by Papua New Guineans.

“And of course, in relation to the 4.27 percentage stakeholding by the landowners in the Hela province, and of course, the LNG project.

“I will make a separate statement in this house on it, but Mr Speaker, I want to assure the good member, we will communicate with the industry. The matter was discussed in cabinet this morning, but we have also deferred the discussion till next week, because I want to put a senior ministerial committee to discuss with other stakeholders, some of the concerns. We have to iron out all these concerns before we take this,” Mr O’Neill said.


Filed under Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

Engineer warns of Frieda river mine impacts

A massive wave of toxic mud swept away the lives of locals living below the mining waste impoundment. Photo: Romerito Pontes

A mine in Brazil recently released a massive wave of toxic mud that swept away the lives of locals living below the site. Photo: Romerito Pontes

Joan Bailey | Post Courier | July 14, 2016

AN engineer from East Sepik Province has warned of massive environmental destruction if the proposed Frieda copper mine goes ahead. Thomsen Benguma said the volume of destruction will be unprecedented.

Mr Benguma has called on the Mineral Resources Authority and the West and East Sepik Provincial Governments to take high level precautions and insist on the developer  to design comprehensive waste management plans. This is to manage the tailings and the overburden or top soil that is dynamited and pushed off the side of the mountain.

Mr Benguma said the management of the tailings is normally captured in the waste management plan but the overburden which is also waste is never taken into account.

He explained that when the top soil is dynamited, unburden sodium mitrite and sodium nitrate is trapped in the soil and when this waste comes into contact with water, paste is formed.

“When this material is carried down by flood during rainy season, there will be heavy deposits in the river system which overtime will fill up the river, thus displacing aquatic life,” he said.

Mr Benguma who is also a waste management engineer by profession said the storage of tailings in high altitudes also poses a threat and suggested that it be put through a gas plasma system where the waste is burned or melted, resulting in the recovery of processions metals contained in the wastes.

He called on the Mineral Resources Authority to take heed and refrain from drawing conclusions that all will be fine and suggested that the developer must sign a memorandum of understanding to fully compensate the people of East Sepik, especially those living along the Sepik River if a environmental disaster occurred.

Related stories:

Frieda river mine will blow a huge hole right through Vision 2050

Mining Threatens Papua New Guinea’s Mighty Sepik River with Utter Ruin


Filed under Environmental impact, Papua New Guinea