Tag Archives: Frieda river mine

Enough is enough: PNG does not need mining: Stop the Frieda mine



Moses Koliwan

I have just finished reading the Sinivit Cyanide Spillage and the SOE declared by ENBPG. I note that Minister for Mining has also directed an independent MRDC investigation.

The number and volume of mining related accidents and the severe impacts of mining in PNG cannot be underplayed any longer.

We need not look far at at lasting and severity of the effects and impacts of mining in PNG to acknowledge the realisties. Look at Panguna, Ok Tedi, Lihir, RamuNico and now Sinivit.

When must we say enough is enough and ask ourselves one simple question and that is “Can PNG do without mining?”.

And for argument sake “Singapore never needed a Panguna, a Ok Tedi, a Porgera, a Lihir, a Sinivit nor the proposed Freida River MIne?

Haven’t we learnt enough yet from the Panguna experience and from the now the irreversible damage by Ok Tedi Mine on one of PNG’s two most prevalent and prominent river ecosystems and what impact this is now having on the people who live there? And, mind you this is no ‘fly by night’ impact. Only God knows how long this will last but certainly not in decades, centuries maybe.

We just should no longer lay back and become passive individuals and communities of savvy people and who are ignorant and complacent and allow continued mining experiments which destroy environments, livelihoods and upset natural balance and well being.

More importantly, our future generations have as much right and prerogative to enjoy this world in its pristine form and state like our ancestors did and we do to now. We can’t sit back and relax and say let the status quo be and let us keep learning from the bad mistakes we continue to make from mining activities. We cannot!

The many bad lessons learnt from mining activities in PNG are largely due to arrogance and bad tasting intent and vision in the name of development. The time for that has gone. PNG is educated and informed enough to protect its people and its environment for sustainable livelihood and harmony between nature and people – something we have done for centuries.

We cannot to remain ignorant and silent as individuals, communities, regions and a nation anymore. What is money compared to human well-being now and in the future? How will the change to made to the environment by mining support a sustainable future for me, my children and the generations to follow?

Shouldn’t we be investing heavily in green economy (agriculture)? At least the potential return is still high and the overall impact and risk to environment and people are manageable at local level as I see.

The recently announced Freida Copper Project does not and will not have a reference in my genius book of world records for best environmental safety and mining practices in the world. The company that has been granted the license to operate the mine only 9 years experience in Cambodia or some country of that sort.

Freida River is a open pit mine same as Ok Tedi. In fact is across the ranges from Freida. Its situated on the Freida River which feeds into the Sepik River. The same as the tributaries linked to Ok Tedi Mine which fed into the main Fly River. If the effects of Ok Tedi is something to go by, I feel so sorry for the wonderful people of the mighty Sepik River.

The impacts of the Ok Tedi Mine are also felt in the adjacent Gulf Province. Will Madang Province feel the environmental impacts of Freida Copper and Gold Mining Project? YES!!!!!!!!!!!

The environment and lives of my Sepik River people and those of adjacent Madang Province is too high on the agenda, to say the very least.

I am committed 100% to ensure that the Ok Tedi experience is not repeated in the Sepik to reduce is to a bowl of poison for the people and all the plants and animals and living creatures that call the Sepik River home.

The fight begins now and we will resist Freida Copper Project until the last coin is squeezed out of the jelly bag.

All responsible PNG leaders and elites will only see why this is so important, and why it is crucial to act out and voice this concern now on behalf of the present and the future generations of this very beautiful part of PNG – the Sepik.

I am now pleading for public support for the ‘Stop Freida’ campaign. The preparations for this are well underway and its launch will be in Angoram Station around mid June, 2015.

If you wish to support this course by way of comments, advice and discussions’ email me on moseskoliwan@gmail.com or call me on +67571580576.

I need support for environmental groups and other pressure groups, including scientists and social scientists, NGOs, individuals and people with interest on environmental protection and protection of vulnerable indigenous populations and groups.

The Sepik River people, their culture and their environment is at stake. Come stand with me with one voice and one action on Freida and stop it.


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Mineral Resources Authority Stands Ready To Work With Developer

Rather than rushing to open more new mines, shouldn’t the MRA pause and do a proper study on the full costs, benefits and impacts of existing mines so we can better understand who really profits and whether mining really brings ‘development’?

Does Philip Samar and the MRA care about the interests of Papua New Guinea’s rural people or is it just a facilitator for foreign mining companies?

Papua New Guinea Today


The Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) has assured new developer of Frieda River Copper-Gold Project PanAust and its shareholders, that it is committed and stands ready to work with the company to develop Frieda project in West Sepik Province.

The MRA Managing Director Philip Samar told board directors of PanAust at the Mining Haus on Thursday last week, that MRA on behalf of the government of PNG, had a very clear, transparent and competitive regulatory framework and policies to ensure projects are developed to mutually benefit all stakeholders including the government, companies and landowners.

Mr Samar was responding to questions from the directors on issues such as how the government deals with landowner issues including benefits and royalty distribution, and regulatory processes including issuance of exploration and mining licenses.

The directors were in the country last week on a familiarisation visit of the project. Their visit is understood to symbolise the company’s official entry into the PNG mining industry.

Earlier last week, they met with the project’s landowner communities at the project site.

The group acknowledged the government’s efforts to attend to issues arising from the project and expressed satisfaction on the progress of the project so far.

The Frieda Project ownership is jointly shared by PanAust 80% shareholding, and Highlands Pacific 20%. The PNG government has an option to acquire on sunk cost basis, up to 30% of the project.

Average annual production is projected to be 100, 000 tonnes of Copper and 160, 000 ounces of gold. Project development capital is estimated to cost US1.5 billion to US1.8 billion.

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PanAust cuts jobs as price falls bite

AAP | The Australian

GOLD and copper miner PanAust is cutting 182 jobs and will further shrink its workforce later in the year.

The job cuts will come from across the company’s business, which is headquartered in Brisbane and has operations in Laos, Papua New Guinea, Thailand and Chile.

The 182 job losses represent 5 per cent of the company’s staff, and are expected to reduce its annual costs by about $US15.5 million ($16.77 million).

Further staff reductions will occur later in 2015 through natural attrition and as employment contracts expire, PanAust said today.

“It is always a difficult decision to reduce staff numbers,” managing director Fred Hess said.

“These organisational changes are necessary to ensure our operations continue to remain competitive, and reflect the company’s priorities in 2015 of efficiency optimisation at existing operations and advancing the Frieda River Project towards a development decision.”

PanAust bought an 80 per cent stake in the prospective Frieda River copper and gold project in PNG in August 2014, and a feasibility study is expected to be completed in late 2015.

What is the future for the Frieda river?

As commodity prices fall what is the future for the Frieda river?

The company has been reviewing its operations with the aim of streamlining its business so they are sustainable.

Mr Hess said the company was now in an even better position to meet the challenges of falling commodity prices.

Further details on the progress of the company’s review will be provided in a quarterly business update on January 29.

PanAust made a profit of $US28.1 million in the first half of 2014, down 28 per cent from a year earlier.

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Building PNG on destruction

‘Red Soil’ | ACT NOW!

“Is the government’s building our country by destroying it?” That’s the question posed by Sambun, an elderly man in the middle of the Wewak town market, which heated up a discussion that broke out between customers and the venders about what type of development mining bring to our country.

Will mining destroy the Frieda river as it has the Fly?

Will mining destroy the Frieda river as it has the Fly?

The discussion was sparked after a mother of 5, who was selling greens and tomatoes, questioned what was said on the news she was listening to on a wireless radio phone about the Frieda mine in the East Sepik Province. She asked out loud why the news is always about ‘development’ and yet nothing real happens to improve her peoples’ way of life. I’m tired of listening to all these news people who never come here and find out!” she said in a rather pissed off tone.

This caused another seller to ask why the prices are getting higher in the stores, causing PMV owners as well as everyone else to increase everything else’s fares and prices, while they (fresh produce vendors) are expected to keep the market at an affordable price. Then a customer, another woman called out from one of the market shelters saying;

“They say we will benefit from that Frieda Mine, but I doubt that very much. Do you know what happened in OK Tedi? Their Fly river is dead!”

By now the group had gotten bigger, forming a crowd of elderly people asking questions and trying to make connections while a handful of youths looked on and joined in where they could.

“The thing is, do we accept the consequences of living like this if nothing’s improving our lives?” a youth, another female, called out.

At that moment old Sambun who had walked into the group to be part of the discussion posed that very critical question, of ‘How the government is going to build our country by destroying it’, with regards to mining activities. His talk led to what the Frieda Mine would mean to the Province.

In his own way he explained what he meant, that our forests, our rivers, our seas and everything that we need is just right.

“Why do we have to mess up our land to get money when an industry consisting of the likes of you (fresh food producers) can easily benefit all parties involved both locally and Internationally including yourselves? Too many mines, and Frieda mine is now here!” he said.

“Our Government today is willing to throw our country away for the good of other countries instead of ours. How can all the 109 or maybe more, so called educated members of parliament not see the obvious?” added another woman.

The forum that was heating up by the minutes was suddenly dismissed by a police officer coming into the market from the Police Station that’s located just outside the market gate. The police officer ordered everyone to move and make way for other customers to pass through and do their marketing.

Something’s definitely in the air but hanging, because the people of East Sepik Province can’t really put their fingers on the root cause of all these problems, but from what just happened it seems, they (the people) do know the obvious that involves their day to day livelihoods from A to Z. With more information, confirmation and support, they will see the big picture and not let any false development mess with them and theirs.

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We chased you out! No coal mining

Landowners stand up for their land in an attempt to spread the word that coal and any kind of mining, regardless of the governments commitment to foreign investment, is not welcomed on their (the people’s) customary owned land.

Red soil | ACT NOW!

A new year, 2015, is here, and the Tangu People of the Joseph Stall area in the Bogia District of Madang Province say they are and will be more alert then ever before. They have customarily made a traditional taboo and set it on their land, as a sign and message to foreigners and those wishing to trespass on their land for coal and any form of mining and theft.

Tangu, Bogia District, Madang_0Men, women young and old, youths and children all gathered and performed the ceremony where soil/earth was spread on the ground, a piece of coal was put on the earth, ‘tanget’ leaves were laid on the coal and a mini bow and arrow was laid on it all.

According to the elders, the coal is nothing without the earth because it is part of the earth and should never be taken out or even moved. They said any movement, especially forced movements like mining will cause an irreversible disturbance to nature.

The ‘tanget’ leaves, commonly used in most PNG traditions, are used to symbolize the values of their traditions and beliefs in conjunction with nature. The mini bow and arrow laid on everything else represents a weapon, used to symbolize the duty of everyone in the village, who are now more than ever, ready to protect their land by all means.

This is after word about coal mining to happen in their area went around this year without their consent. This talk is not new to them as they have physically chased out a foreigner and two Papua New Guineans in December last year (2013), trespassing’ into their area in the name of coal exploration.

When asked by the people why they (people) weren’t notified of their (trespassers’) coming, the trespassers said its simply because they are developers, a ‘white man’, and two ‘geologists’ with the East Sepik Province’s Frieda Mine, bringing development to them (Tangu people).

There was a sense of anger in the air when the word ‘mining’ was defined, and it was clear these people do not want anything of the sort to be happening on their land, to them and their future.

The very vocal women said they do not want their children to become part of those ‘street children’, because that’s what mining will do to their children if they don’t stop the miners from destroying their land. They said even if this ‘little group of parliamentarians in Port Moresby’ had a perfect plan and a place ready for them to relocate, they will not move because Tangu is the right place for them and their children to grow up and enjoy their lives in.

The men explained that there’s no individualism. Though everyone has their portion of the land, it is basically areas allocated to them each to protect, for the good of everyone.

Youths on the other hand are making a strong call out to the government, from the Mining Minister Byron Chan to the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neil who are likely to have sold us (Papua New Guineans) at the recent Sydney Mining Conference, to not forget where they got their mandated power from.

The village elders explained that they’ve heard of the terrible mining effects of the MCC Ramu Nickel Mine in the province (Madang) as well as those from other provinces, and knew that the thieves will eventually come their way. “That’s why we alerted everyone, took precaution measures and caught the first invaders and sent them away, and now they want to come back? Who do they think they are to keep coming back against our wishes?” they remarked.

The village elders, the youths, the men and the women all described their concerns in different manners, but all come down to one thing. ‘Land is life, and mining of any kind whether it be coal, nickel, gold or copper is still destruction to their land, their life’.


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West Sepik’s Frieda mine project underway

Bridgette Komatep | EMTV

The Frieda mine project in West Sepik Province is said to be, one of the biggest mining projects next to Ok Tedi Mine in the Western Province. The project is currently in its feasibility stages and is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.

As part of landowner mobilisation, a team from the Telefomin District Administration flew into the area.

The Frieda mine project area is located at the border of West Sepik and East Sepik provinces but administratively, it comes under West Sepik Province, notably Telefomin District.

The local MP, Solan Mirisim and his administration flew into Blackwara to address the villagers. Blackwara village is one of the seven impact villages in the Frieda Mine Project area.

Based on the pre-feasibility study completed in October 2010, the mine is expected to produce 246,000tonnes of copper and 379,000 ounces of gold annually.

The potential production to derive from Frieda Mine is three times bigger than Ok Tedi Mine which is about 40 minutes away by air. The mine’s first production is expected in 2017.

Mr Mirisim told the people that his administration will support them to mobilise and form a recognised landowner group. He committed an undisclosed amount in the 2015 National Budget to support them.

The project is currently in the feasibility stages. The mine will be developed as an open cut operation and production should commence by the end of 2015.

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Government blindly pursuing a failed model of development

Even the United Nations has warned more mining activity in PNG will NOT improve the lives of ordinary people – but Byron Chan and the O’Neill government don’t care. Instead they are rushing ahead with five new major mines. So who will take the profits? A small elite of politicians, lawyers and bureaucrats in PNG and the global mining companies – and unfortunately they are the ones who seem to be running the whole show…

More projects ahead

Gorethy Kenneth | Post Courier

PAPUA New Guinea expects to see about five mining development projects with a combined capital investment expected to exceed $US 10 billion or over K25 billion within the next decade.

The country’s 22-year old mining legislation and its policies will be revised so it can accommodate those projects, Mining Minister Byron Chan has announced.

Speaking in Sydney at the Mining and Petroleum Conference, Mr Chan also said the most significant initiative of the Government and the Mining Ministry is the development and implementation of several key mining policies and the subsequent revision of the current mining legislation.

He said PNG currently has 12 mining operations approved under special mining lease or mining lease tenements which have advanced to production or are at the development stages.

Within the next decade alone, we expect to witness the development of the following projects: Frieda copper, Wafi/Golpu copper, Yandera copper molybdenium, Mt Kare gold and a host of other alluvial mining projects

“These may include known mineral sands, nickel, coal and gold, silver and copper deposits. “I can report that progress is being made on the finalisation of the policy development, with the revisions of the mining act and regulations to follow.

“Working groups, comprising state and industry representatives, are now refining the policy settings and moving towards settlement of key issues and final drafting,” Mr Chan said.

“The sustainable mining policy is completed. “The geothermal policy, subject to the reservations already expressed, is also completed.

“It remains this Governments’ intention, to present the remaining policies for cabinet approval, and this legislation, to parliament mid next year.

“The Prime Minister has already given his assurance to industry and potential investors in the mining sector of PNG that policy settings will be progressive, based on best practice and allow compromise between competing interests,” he told the conference.

“They will build upon the template of the success of the current legislation, by providing the right mix of incentives and practicality to ensure a balanced regulatory regime to underpin the next generation of mineral investment in PNG,” he said.

“Finally, the most significant initiative of Government is the development and implementation of several key mining policies and subsequent revision of current mining legislation,” he said.

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