Tag Archives: Ginson Saonu

Landowners warned not to hurt mine workers

Erebiri Zurenuoc | The National aka The Loggers Times | January 14, 2019

MOROBE Governor Ginson Saonu has warned landowners who forced the suspension of the Wafi-Golpu mining project development not to damage properties or hurt the workers.

Workers were forced to leave last Friday by the group of people who wanted a list of demands they had sent to the chief executives of developers Harmony Gold Ltd and Newcrest Mining Ltd, and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, met.

Spokesman John Nema said the project would be closed for an indefinite period.

“We will not allow the developer to commence any operation on our customary land if any of our demands are overlooked,” he said.

Saonu said the provincial government had wanted to have a proper memorandum of understanding drawn up involving all parties.

“The mine should be open and the workers should feel free to move around,” he said.

“We agreed that the Government and the developers must revoke the MOU (they signed last month).”

Saonu said he recently visited the people of Hengambu, Babuaf and Yanta to gauge their views on the development.

“There was no intention to shut down the mine. It was about visiting the people, having discussions with them and letting them know that their government is with them,” he said.


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Wafi-Golpu LOs Call For MOU Review

Joan Bailey | Post Courier | January 10, 2019

Landowners of Wafi-Golpu Project have called on the National Government and the developers Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture to withdraw the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on December 11, last year.
The landowners demanded that the mine will not operate until a review is made to the signed MOU by concern parties.
This was expressed during a meeting between the landowners from Babuaf, Hengambu, and Yanta this week with Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu, Morobe provincial executive council members, and Morobe provincial administration.
The landowners thanked Mr Saonu for his stand on not signing the MoU and said the signing between the National Government and the developer is not in the interest of the landowners.
Spokesmen of Babuaf Development Corporative, Hengambu Landowners Association and Yanta Landowners Association told Mr Saonu and the delegates that they are not happy with the MoU signed in Port Moresby.
“We want the MoU signed recently by the State and developer Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture to be revoked and all parties concern must discuss for a new MOU at the negotiation table,’’ he said.
“Wafi-Golpu project will not start until proper processes of developing a mine is done according to PNG law and the mining act.’’
He said the mining will occur on their land and they must be included in all discussions whether it is with the national government, provincial government and even the developer regarding the progression of the mine.
Babuaf Development Corporative secretary Jack Raven said they stand ready to cooperate with the National Government and the developers in the mining project but they want proper processes followed.
Mr Raven said the developers and state must adhere to recommendations passed by the PEC and communicate with Morobe provincial government for a new MOU.
Yanta Landowners Association president Genesis Siliwana said that the landowners were not consulted and informed on the signing of the MOU and they did not participate in any way.
Mr Siliwana said processes of getting a mine operated are new to them and they need awareness on how they can participate and not to become spectators on their own land.
Mr Saonu told landowners that his stance for not signing the MOU is clear and is for the betterment of the province and the landowners.
He said he refused to sign because proper processes are not followed and he doesn’t want similar issues faced in other mining provinces to happen when Wafi-Golpu mine begin operations.
“I don’t have any differences against the state and the developers; instead I want a round table discussion to review the MOU and ensure it suits the interest of the landowners and the provincial government,” Mr Saonu said.
He said his visit to Babuaf, Yanta, and Hengambu is to tell the landowners that his government will support them in the negotiation process of Wafi-Golpu mine because the resources is on their land.
Mr Saonu said there is no need to rush and the developer together with the state must come to round table discussions with MPG and landowners for a new MOU.

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Wafi-Golpu not good for province: Governor

The National aka The Loggers times | December 17, 2018

Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu, says alternatives to mining such as tourism and agriculture will be developed in the province.

He told The National that Morobe had a thriving agricultural sector and an undeveloped tourism industry which had huge potential.

Explaining why he had refused to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture last week, the governor declared that Morobe did not recognise it as it was not for the good of the province.

“When I stood for election in 2017, I spoke about ‘kisim bek Morobe (taking back Morobe)’,” he said.

“Kisim bek Morobe means that anything that is wrong in Morobe, or anything that the people need, we will work hard for them.

“I want to make sure that people of Morobe gain enough.

“My position is for the people of Morobe, not for Ginson Saonu, not for any political party’s interest, not for anybody who wants to bribe me.”

Meanwhile, Saonu has expressed concern about the proposed dumping of Wafi-Golpu mine tailings into the Huon Gulf.

He supported coastal villagers of Morobe, from Morobe Post along the border with Northern to the Siassi Islands bordering West New Britain, who stand to be affected by a massive outflow of tailings.

The villagers depend on the sea for the livelihood, he said.

The Huon Gulf is also one of the few habitats in the world for leatherback turtle nesting.

Saonu is well aware of the fragile environment of the gulf and urged the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture to look at other alternatives,

“We have to listen to the people,” Saonu told The National.

“People are not like before, when they had no knowledge, no idea, no education to read what’s happening in other parts of the world where there is environmental damage and so forth. Everybody is knowledgeable about what’s happening in other mines around the world, and even in Papua New Guinea like Ok Tedi, Bougainville and others.

“They are mindful of the environment.”

Saonu said the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea had made itself clear that it wanted a tailings dam and not a pipe leading into the sea.

“If the people and the church want a tailings dam, it has to be a tailings dam – not put a pipe through to the sea and damage the environment,” he said.

The mine is to dump its tailings into the waters of the Huon Gulf, according to an updated feasibility study report released earlier this year.

The report said three types of tailings management options had been considered during various studies undertaken since 2012: Various terrestrial tailings storage facilities, dry-stacking and deep-sea tailings placement (DSTP).

However, it ruled out various tailings storage facilities and dry-stacking, and opted for deep-sea tailings placement.

“Deep-sea tailings placement studies have been conducted as part of the 2017-18 work programme,” the report said.

“Oceanographic and environmental studies in the Western Huon Gulf to date have confirmed that area to be a highly-suitable environment for deep-sea tailings placement.

“It hosts a deep canyon leading to a very deep oceanic basin with no evidence of upwelling of deeper waters to the surface.

“The tailings are expected to mix and co-deposit with a significant, naturally occurring loading of riverine sediments from the Markham, Busu and other rivers that also are conveyed via the Markham Canyon to the deep sea.”

PNG has three existing active deep-sea tailings placement operations (Lihir, Simberi, and Ramu Nickel), one permitted (Woodlark) and one closed (Misima).

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Saonu Raises Concerns On Wafi-Golpu Mining Lease

Post Courier | November 9, 2018

Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu has raised concerns on the pending signing of a special mining lease between the developer of the Wafi-Golpu mine in Morobe Province and the government during the APEC summit next week.

He cited sources from social media who had released a report saying there was already a memorandum of agreement in place, established by the Mining Act.

The issue was interrupted by a court case and the signing of the special mining lease is expected to take place in 2019.

Mr Saonu directed his concerns to the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill during question time in Parliament.

“Would you please confirm or deny, whether the government has agreed to sign a heads of agreement at the APEC Summit? Why was the Morobe provincial government and stakeholders not consulted?’’ Mr Saonu asked.

‘‘If the proposed signing of the heads of agreement is true, will you inform all the stakeholders landowners, state entities and the people of Morobe on what the agreement is all about?’’

He went on to ask the prime minister if it was still necessary to continue and complete the due process and what would be the legal consequences of abandoning the process.

In response Mr O’Neill said: “Mr Speaker our government has appointed a state negotiating team. Technical people from the Mining Department, Treasury, State Solicitors office and other government agencies are dealing directly with Wafi Golpu developers, particularly Newcrest and Harmony.

“They continue to discuss the way forward in continuing to develop this mine The negotiations are still in its early stages and there have been no briefings to cabinet or to the prime minister.

“I don’t see any mine development agreement being signed around APEC and certainly any agreement that needs to be signed will be in full consultation with Morobe provincial government and the people of Wau Bulolo particularly the landowners.”

Mr O’Neill said any understanding reached with the developer was about the program going forward.

‘‘There would not be any legally binding agreement but for the benefits of investors and potential financiers of the project, the government and its developers wants to give a clear position about its intentions to develop the mine,” he said.

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Morobe Leaders Unite On Wafi-Golpu Project

Benny Geteng | Post Courier | August 15, 2018

Several Morobean MPs including Governor Ginson Saonu have taken a united stand in calling for more Morobean presence in the Wafi-Golpu Mine Project.

This is first time ever for Morobe leaders to come together to show their concerns on the technical advisory and spinoff benefits from negotiations, construction phase, and the development of the Wafi-Golpu Project located between Bulolo district and Huon Gulf district.

The MPs – Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu, Bulolo MP Sam Basil, Huon-Gulf MP Ross Seymour, Tewae-Siassi MP Dr Kobby Bomareo, Nawaeb MP Kennedy Wenge and Lae MP John Rosso.

The emerging Morobe position aims to address lessons from the Bougainville Copper Limited and the crisis it ignited, the Ok Tedi Mining environmental issues that fueled the exit of BHP Billiton, landowner issues affecting the PNG LNG Project and the Hidden Valley Mining Project including other mines that will all be captured in a memorandum of agreement.

They have called for disclosure of pertinent information and engagement instead of limiting Morobe Provincial Government and the landowners to positions on Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, special support grants and cooperation and assistance to the State and the developer.

“As leaders and stakeholders, we need to have in-depth information and knowledge to formulate our positions on matters of equity, royalties, business development grants, employment and training, compensation payments and infrastructure developments.

“We also need to know the source and independent checks that formed the basis of the figures used in the financial model and benefits by Department of Treasury. Inclusion of future ore discovery prospects, its implications on mine life and related financial benefits,” the leaders said.

Governor Saonu has expressed further concern that the recent second Wafi-Golpu Mining Development Forum in Kokopo has sparked criticism from Morobeans and said that from now on all meetings will be held in either Lae or Morobe.

“If we hold meetings outside of Lae and or Morobe we will fuel unnecessary suspicions among Morobeans that we have things to hide.

“Mining Minister Johnson Tuke has already taken note of this matter and has told Mineral Resources Authority and the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management in Kokopo to take note and not hold Wafi Golpu Mining Project related meetings outside of Lae and Morobe,” he said.

The MPs have taken the strong stance that the MOA to be signed must be right, and that as stakeholders and host province they demand access to the draft mining development contract before it will be signed by the Head of State and developers.

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Morobe government eyeing 20pc stake in Wafi-Golpu mine

Junior Ukaha | The National aka The Loggers Times | 16 July 2018

THE Morobe government wants an equity of no less than 20 per cent in the Wafi-Golpu Mine.

Governor Ginson Saonu made this known last Wednesday during a two-day stakeholder forum in Lae regarding development of the proposed mine.

He said the Morobe government wanted to be an active partner in mine development.

“Apart from the legislated 2 per cent royalties, my government and people need better and attractive incentives in the form of equity,” Saonu said.

“We have made our position clear and have requested the National Government to acquire extra equity on top of the 5 per cent free carry.

“We are prepared to assist the Government to acquire this equity ourselves. We expect no less than 20 per cent equity in the project.

“We want to be a major partner with the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture in the construction and operation phase of the project.”

Saonu also asked the Government to uplift the curfew on the tax credit scheme (TCS) programme so that money could be used to fund infrastructure projects in mine-impacted communities.

“In this case, we request that over 50 per cent of the TCS be used in Morobe alone and a further 20 per cent to be used in the SML areas of landowners and impacted communities,” he said.

He said the Morobe government remained committed to see this project get off the ground during this term of government.

Saonu thanked the project area and pipeline landowners for giving their land for the project.

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