Tag Archives: James Marape

PM Gives Assurance Of Further Ramu Mine Probe

Post Courier | October 18, 2019

Prime Minister James Marape says investigations into Ramu Nickel Mine slurry spill at Basamuk Bay in Madang will continue.

He said this after a lengthy and heated debate in Parliament yesterday after a report on the August 24, 2019, incident was presented by Environment and Conservation and Climate Change Minister Geoffrey Kama.

“I note most Members of Parliament have a conversation to make in regards to this ministerial statement presented,” Mr Marape said.

“As indicated by the minister, there’ll be further assessment and investigation.

“Every stakeholder, including the Governor for Madang (Peter Yama), has every right to have an interest in this matter.

“When matters relate to the security of our people, the interest of our people, and matters relating to the environment, it is just and responsible that we all have a concern.

“We note the concern that was raised by every Member of Parliament, especially the Governor for Madang and Member for Rai Coast (Peter Sapia) in the immediate precinct and affected areas.

“We are grateful for the comments by every leader this afternoon, in response to the statement minister has made.

”
Mr Marape said Northern Governor Gary Juffa had made a strong statement, as well as Kompiam-Ambum MP and former Environment and Conservation Minister, Sir John Pundari.

“Every other statement is also correct, finding the right balance,” he said.

“Our harvest of resources comes from the price on our environment.

“We’ve allowed those investors to come in, but the investors who come in must operate within responsibility and due care to our environment, to our country, and to our people.

“I think from the outset, without the specifics on the impact on the environment, the fact that there was a practical defect in the structure of the mine itself is an incident that warrants deeper study into what was taking place, in as far as the mine safety and operation is concerned.

“Cabinet did indicate this to the minister, and I note that minister’s statement embraces further investigation, further assessment.

“Let me assure people of Madang, people of Rai Coast, people of Usino-Bundi and people of this country, that this report and the investigation thus far is not conclusive and that is not the end of the story.

“The fact that there was a slip, which took place in the mine infrastructure, irrespective of the extent of the damage, warrants deeper scrutiny, deeper investigation, deeper assessment.”

Mr Marape assured the people of Madang, Usino-Bundi, Rai Coast, as well as the country, that all stakeholders including Madang government, Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA), Mining Department and other Government agencies would look deeper into what had happened.

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Wafi-Golpu To Be Delivered Under Marape-Led Govt

FORGET ‘TAKE BACK PNG’ – IT IS BUSINESS AS USUAL UNDER THE MARAPE GOVT

Gorethy Kenneth | Post Courier | September 4, 2019

Prime Minister James Marape announced that the government wants to get the Wafi-Golpu gold mine operational at the soonest.

And the government is already in serious discussions with the Morobe provincial government to resolve issues while it prepares to finalise discussions with developers, Harmony and Newcrest.

Mr Marape told a press conference in Port Moresby yesterday that they want this project to be their legacy as they look at other projects like the Porgera lease that has expired.

He said as the country is going through tough economic times, this project will help boost the country’s economy including others that they are now serious about addressing.

Mr Marape also revealed that the government has given the green light to Total to proceed with the implementation of the Papua gas project, claiming that additional gains have been negotiated for the country under the project agreement.

“As a government, we are finishing this one,” he said, adding: “It is signed by the (former) O’Neill government, (and) we allowing it to go.

“Our government will enter into discussion with Wafi -Golpu and we are bringing to conclusion our issues with the Morobe provincial government.

“Those issues will be brought to conclusion and as whole of government, we will sit in one and we will go into discussion with both Harmony and Newcrest so that is one other project that is looming on the horizon.”

Mr Marape also told the press that the government “is not considering” any more concessions to be given to resource project developers.

“…and as I stated, the existing laws we have in place will not consider anymore concession (to give), but where we will win, as provided for by law, we will win, and where they (developers) win they will win,” he said.

“We are also looking into the Porgera lease that has expired.

“So those announcements will come in due course, as the nation has some big projects on the horizon.

“Not all is looking gloom, although our economy is stressed a little at the moment and our treasurer is going through the numbers and hopefully tomorrow (today) or Thursday he will announce the numbers (as) he has seen (the) possibility of a supplementary budget that we have been talking about all along.

“And that will come in due course but let me inform the country that all is not bad as it seems…we are working on the three or four projects that we have on the horizon and that will bring some economic activity and life into economy and hopefully going 2020 and beyond, we will gain some traction in the economy, and we have started with Wafi-Golpu.”

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AG Tasked To Look Into Use Of Ok Tedi Funds

A mother and her malnourished child, Bimadbn Village, Morehead, Western Province, Papua New Guinea. Photo: Penny Johnson

Gorethy Kenneth | Post Courier |  August 30, 2019

Prime Minister James Marape has instructed the deputy Prime Minister and Attorney General Davies Steven to seek a restraining order to protect more than K500 million of OK Tedi CMCA and non CMCA funds from being abused.

North Fly MP James Donald took the PM to task to explain why there were a certain group of people now drawing down K58 million from the CMCA funds parked at a commercial bank in Port Moresby.

An irate PM Marape demanded the inquiry report done by former prime minister Peter O’Neill to be released.

“It saddens me that we continue to have people with interest outside of the main stream, outside of everyone, to use institutions of our democracy to access funds run-ning in and out of Vulupindi Haus, running in and out of Court Houses and access funds under the auspices or pretext of being better for our people.

Western Province like many other provinces with entitlements from resources continues to remain backward in so far as development indexes and indicators are concerned,” Mr Marape said.

“Let me call on the Attorney General and our Deputy Prime Minister to firstly furnish to us the enquiry that was made on the use of CMCA and non CMCA earlier, this Parliament deserves to have the benefit of that report.

“Let me advise the leaders of Western Province, that I also ask the State Solicitor to intervene and that this matter is put on hold until we ascertain exactly what is being pursued or what is being accessed and whether they are in compliance with the Trust Instruments we have and whether they have legal entitlements to those funds,” he said.

“As we speak, it is immoral to have Western Province still backward over K500million in funds that are entitled for development sitting in banks and government institutions, legal firms, many of the so called educated people, we are fighting over money that is meant to fix Western Province.

“They have their own funds sitting there, yet educated Western Provinces with a combination of other Papua New Guineans over time have been feasting on this funds outside of what these funds are meant for.

“It is about time we put to shame people who continue to access these funds and I propose AG to establish a pathway, with legitimate bodies on the ground like government, districts and CMCA agencies on the ground so that Daru town does not have black buckets anymore.

“The National Government will add in their ex-gratia component and their own funds and we will work in partnership to ensure that this province is moving on the right spot.

“Let’s find a way to help the Western Province leaders and the people,” he said.

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Marape Backs Moratorium, Leans Towards Ban On Experimental Seabed Mining

Matthew Vari | Post Courier | August 15, 2019

Prime Minister James Marape has indicated he will support a proposed regional moratorium on seabed mining, however, could not go as far as to say a ban outright would be needed.

In an interview with the Post-Courier at the opening ceremony of the Pacific Islands Forum on Tuesday, Mr Marape responded when asked in relation to Fiji’s stance on the matter, that he would support the move, making specific reference to what he described the Nautilus Solwara 1 project as “a total failure”.

During Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama’s opening remarks at the Sautalaga climate update meet on Monday, he informed leaders present of Fiji introducing its own climate change act, of which the country will push an ambitious proposal for both its national and a regional moratorium on seabed mining.

“I ask you all to join in this ambitious venture and also support a 10 year moratorium on seabed mining from 2020 to 2030 which would allow for a decade of proper scientific research of our economic zone and territorial waters,” Mr Bainimarama said.

Sentiments supported by James Marape regarding the proven viability of deep sea mining, which he said is not yet a proven concept. “As a nation we have lost over K300 million in a concept of deep sea mining.

“Until that deep sea mining technology is environmentally sound and takes care of our environment at the same time we mine it, then at this point in time, I support the call made by the Fijian Prime Minister, we just need to have the best technology available,” Mr Marape sternly said.

When asked if it could go as far as supporting a ban, the Prime Minister left this option out adding just as the moratorium aims to prove the viability- that process will prove “on a case by case basis going into the future”.

“If there is an opportunity for deep sea mining, so long as environmentally it is friendly and the harvest of resource is done in a sustainable manner then we can give considerations to this, but right now it is a show.

“We don’t have the luxury of that informed decisional research.

“This is because that technology is not proven anywhere and PNG we burnt almost K300 million in that Nautilus (Solwara) 1 project on a concept that someone told us it can work, but it is a concept that is a total failure as I speak,” the PM said.

Apart from 15 per cent state investment in the project, Kumul Mineral Holdings is also seeking redress for the unearned revenue to the tune of US$51 million (K173m).

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How Exxon’s Big Gas Plan Stirred Up Papua New Guinea

‘An International Monetary Fund analysis found Papua New Guinea received “quite limited benefits” because it granted Exxon generous rights to recover costs before paying taxes or fees’

Dan Murtaugh | Bloomberg | August 2, 2019

Papua New Guinea, the impoverished Pacific nation of 8 million people, is in a bind over a $13 billion project to double natural gas exports. Political opposition to the deal has already helped take down a prime minister, and some of the world’s biggest energy companies are anxiously waiting to see what the new government is going to do with it. The drama is playing out as a flood of capacity is about to hit the global market, meaning time for the investment may be running out.

1. What’s the project?

It’s actually two cooperating projects involving a bunch of companies. Together, they will deliver capacity to export 8 million tons a year of liquefied natural gas, roughly 3% of global capacity. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a huge deal for a country with per capita income under $3,000 a year.

2. Who’s involved?

Exxon Mobil Corp. and Oil Search Ltd. are leading a group that plans to expand the existing PNG LNG plant with a third LNG production unit, which will be fed primarily by the P’nyang gas field in the country’s highlands. Meanwhile, Total SA is heading another venture, called Papua LNG, which also has Exxon and Oil Search as partners and a plan for two LNG production units fed by the Elk-Antelope gas fields. The projects will save money by sharing some facilities.

3. What’s the hold-up?

Both projects need agreements with the government, which include details that determine how the country will benefit. Total secured such a deal in April with then-Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, but opposition party members complained it wasn’t good enough. Finance Minister James Marape quit and left O’Neill’s coalition in protest. In May, O’Neill resigned under pressure from legislators and Marape was chosen to replace him. Marape’s government is now reviewing the Total agreement and considering changes. Exxon’s deal is on hold until that process is complete.

4. Why so sensitive?

When Exxon first opened PNG LNG in 2014, it did so with the promise of transforming Papua New Guinea’s economy. (Total gross domestic product is about a 10th of Exxon’s annual revenue.) The government estimated it would bring it about 2 billion kina ($613 million) in extra revenue annually through 2021. Instead, the project’s partners paid less than a quarter of that (about 495 million kina) in taxes, royalties, dividends and other payments in 2016. Meanwhile difficulty in identifying landowners in the highlands has delayed payments promised to those affected by drilling and pipeline construction.

5. Why such small benefits?

An International Monetary Fund analysis found the country received “quite limited benefits” because it granted Exxon generous rights to recover costs before paying taxes or fees. For example, Exxon is able to subtract its operating costs, debt amortization and capital costs from its gas revenue before taxes and royalties are calculated.

6. What’s the backdrop?

Extractive industries are key to Papua New Guinea’s economy, comprising nearly 30% of the country’s gross domestic product and 85% of its exports. Disputes over how to split the revenue have long been a source of social unrest. In the 1980s, a civil war erupted in the island of Bougainville over what was then one of the world’s largest copper mines. As many as 20,000 people died in the fighting and the mine has been shut since 1989. The island’s residents are scheduled to vote in a referendum in October that could lead to independence.

7. What’s at stake?

For the energy giants, the impasse couldn’t come at a worse time. Assuming deals are struck, they’ll still need a year for preliminary engineering work before being ready to sign off on the $13 billion building cost. Meanwhile, they have more than $300 billion worth of LNG projects from Russia to the U.S. to Mozambique that will be vying for a limited number of potential customers. A lengthy delay could put the PNG expansion at the back of the line. While Marape says he doesn’t want his country to miss out on the investment and jobs (at one stage expected to be more than 20,000), he’s also committed to securing a larger return for his country from its natural resources.

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LOs Call For Unity On Mine License Renewal

Post Courier | July 26, 2019

Leaders and landowners of the Porgera Gold mine in Enga want Prime Minister James Marape to visit the mining district to get views of mine communities before the mine’s lease agreement expires next month.

They are also calling on the various landowner factions operating outside Porgera to return and consult with the people on the ground so a collective and proper position paper, representing the interests of the people can be presented to the national government.

Landowners of the Porgera special mine lease (SML), lease for mining purpose (LMP) and mining easement communities aired their concerns in Porgera last week.

They included chairman of the Ipili Porgera Investment (IPI) group of companies, Jolson Kutato, President of the Porgera women in business (WiB), Elizabeth larume, president of the Porgera Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Nickson Pakea, former president of the Porgera LLG and former deputy governor of Enga, John Pawe, SML leaders William Gaupe, George Yope and Mathew Yapala, Paiam ward member Perale Kana, SML councilor Sukul Tupia, Porgera District Women’s Association leader Wanoli Waiyape and SML landowner Arnold Kulina.

The landowners have called on the Prime Minister not to entertain any landowner faction groups operating from Port Moresby but to go to Porgera and directly consult with mine landowners.

“We are here and our position will be addressed here in Pogera and the government will receive our position paper in Porgera.

“Ongoing in fighting by landowner faction groups is causing confusion amongst the genuine landowners so the Pogera Landowners Association (PLOA) and Porgera Jus-tice Foundation need to sit down , iron out differences and properly discuss issues relating to the mine review with the Pogera people,” Mr Pawe said.

Mr Kutato who led the 1999 mine negotiations then as chairman of the landowner association said there are a lot of side issues the landowners need to fix before the mine lease expires.

He said landowners must take the review process very seriously if they are concerned about the future of their children because this will be the only time to renegotiate long-term benefits but nothing will be achieved if there is still division.

“The Prime Minister must listen to the concerns of the people and come to Porgera because the landowners and leaders are here.
We will formulate our position paper as united landowners to go into agreement with the government and developer and this has to be in Porgera,” Mr Kutato said.

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Govt To Have Dialogue With Mining Industry On Laws

Post Courier | July 2, 2019

Changes or amendments to the current resource laws will not be a shock to the industry, says Prime Minister James Marape.

Mr Marape while responding to the Rabaul MP Dr Allan Marat said the government will be engaging with the industry and will advise them on its thoughts and views and will listen to what the industry has to say before making any changes.

He said the Constitution was drafted by the founding fathers of this nation, however, the environment of doing business today has migrated so much away from what it was in the 70s, 80s 90s and early 2000s that is why it is necessary for the change.

“We will be engaging, having a by petition approach in the area of resource laws and finding a balance in not chasing away our investors but getting to ensure that we pick from the resource harvest through the systematic and proper shift in our resource laws,” he said.

“I put to this House in my view that amendments that we make will not be radical and such that will shock the industry.

“We will introduce to the industry what we have in mind and exactly what we have in mind must come forth from the discussions.

“Our discussions must be signaled in a systematic manner to the industry so they know exactly what we are talking about here and in this house I am comforted in having greater experience around me.”

He said the government is not in the business of chasing away miners in the country.

“They are here to partner us but as they partner us, the laws that we have will be the ones that we’ll honour and deal with them.

“But going forward I am in the business of discussing with all likeminded leaders of both sides of the houses, as well as our civil servants and advisors to ensure that we tailor make a new series of law and a constitution and these laws will not differ much or the laws will not differ from the intention of our Constitution,” he said.

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