Tag Archives: Johnson Tuke

Aussie Coal Use Impresses Tuke

Benny Geteng | Post Courier | February 1, 2019

MINING Minister Johnson Tuke is impressed with coal-powered technology used in Australia and has indicated strong backing of the Lae coal-powered plant project.

Mr Tuke’s trip to one of Australia’s coal mines in January assured him that the similar technology that will be used by Mayur Resources for the K400 million proposed project for Lae will be beneficial.

He said globally, coal is a resource of immense proportions and PNG has never mined coal, while 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.

“This coal has remained in the ground and until recent years this was the same story for gas, which now is a thriving LNG sector,” Mr Tuke said.

“If you look at Australia, they are benefiting by creating large revenue from coal exports and domestically, coal still provides more than 60 per cent of all their electricity generation. Coal is forecast to be Australia’s largest export earner at AUD$58.1 billion (K137.5bn) in 2018-19, this one commodity is two times PNG’s GDP for the entire country per year.

“That’s K138 billion and while we may not have this volume to export or use internally, even imagine if a coal industry could add K1-2 billion to government revenue. Gulf Province is endowed with extensive far cleaner coal seams than what Australia uses and you can even touch it at the surface.

“I saw houses around the power plant, I saw clean water, I saw abundant fish life in the cooling water channel leading into Lake Macquarie, I saw trees and parks, and no black smoke, only very minor clean filtered steam from the power plant.”

He said Vales Point (NSW, Australia) operating coal power plant produces 1330 megawatts, 2 two times bigger than PNG’s total installed electricity and that is 26 times bigger than what is proposed in Lae.

Mayur Resources managing director Paul Mulder said the proposed coal powered plant in Lae is similar and will rid Lae city of its blackout situation once given permission to supply power on the Ramu Grid.

He said power supply will be on 24 hours — 7 days a week, 100 per cent continuous supply for Lae city.

Mr Tuke said that people should not be blind to what is happening outside PNG in neighbouring countries.

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Minister blames mining company after Kainantu violence

Minister issues warning to companies after attack

The National aka The Loggers Times | January 24, 2019

Mining Minister Johnson Tuke has urged all exploration and mining firms to conduct due diligence when it comes to affected landowners in project sites.

Tuke issued the warning following an incident at the Kainantu gold mine, Eastern Highlands, where one person was reported killed, 70 houses destroyed and 50 people injured following a conflict last week.

He told The National yesterday: “This is exactly what happens when certain exploration companies do not conduct due diligence when it comes to considering landowners.

“I am telling all companies to behave diligently, to accommodate landowners, communities.

“Companies should be the ones to conduct social mapping.

“This issue (Kainantu gold mine) was provoked by the K92 (K92 Mining Inc).

“There was one death, 60 to 70 houses burnt because of the involvement of the company to engage one faction of the landowners.

“The other faction put up an argument and eventually they ended up fighting.

“A similar case was earlier reported in Southern Highlands when an exploration company failed to address that.

“Now it has happened again in Kainantu.

“It’s not a good thing to see landowners fighting against each other.”

K92 Mining Inc is focused on advancing the Kainantu gold mine.

The Kainantu property covers a total area of approximately 410sqkm and was previously mined by Highlands Pacific and Barrick Gold from 2006-2009.

After being commissioned in 2006, the processing facilities operated for a cumulative total of approximately 7000 hours (292 days) before being put on care and maintenance by Barrick Gold.

Barrick continued this care and maintenance of the mill until the sale of the project to K92.

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Disgruntled Landowners Shut Down Billion Dollar Gold And Copper Project

Melisha Yafoi | Post Courier | January 14, 2019

THE US$5 billion (K16.7 billion) Wafi-Golpu gold and copper project in Morobe Province has been shut down.

This shutdown took effect last Friday when about 100 men claiming to be landowners threatened to enter the exploration and development site following opposition to the memorandum of understanding which was signed between the State and the developer Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture in Port Moresby last December.

The WGJV Executive Project Director, Bryan Bailie stressed that “the safety of our personnel is paramount and that we will not put them at risk. As such, all non-essential personnel were evacuated as a precautionary measure.”

Activities at the exploration site are currently suspended pending assurance that law and order has been re-established.

A disappointed mining Minister Johnson Tuke said this shutdown is uncalled for and the actions taken by these parties to raise their grievances is a sense of a criminal act.

He explained that the state has gone into an engagement with the company to develop an understanding with the state and the developer.

Reports on the ground say all staff were evacuated to safety leaving the project site deserted since Friday after protestors threatened to enter the exploration camp unless it was evacuated and work immediately stopped.

Mr Tuke said that in most cases as far as history is concerned in any mining aspects before a initial mine starts there had to be form of an agreement to give comfort and in most cases and instances companies did not have the money.

He said there were certain institutions which had access to huge chunks of money so companies go out to the fields to conduct explorations to identify and come up with the resource and when they find the resource they have to run through a financial institution to look for money and financial institutions have their own criteria as to go about releasing the money to investors.

“So the government in its wisdom has given the consent to the company that this project is a priority to the company so that’s the relationship that we have established.

“And for people to go and conduct a shutdown is uncalled for, the understanding is with the State.

“It’s not the provincial government or the landowners or anybody else, the common law is that anything that is six feet beneath the earth belongs to the State, the State has all the legitimate power to act on its people,” Mr Tuke said.

He said what they have done is within the law, within the Act so for people to go out and stop the mine is unnecessary.

“It is a sense of criminal act there has to be an appropriate authority to do so the government will still provide leadership and bring this project into fruition and that is not the appropriate forum to talk about all these,” he said.

“I have already instituted a development forum that is still in progress. We can see that challenge but a challenge has to be taken in a appropriate action and this is outside of the context and I condemn those actions undertaken by some elements.

“They probably have some of their own issues if there is some degree of politics amongst themselves, they should not demonstrate to the company if they think that there is some certain issues that needs to be resolved they need to handle it within their own communities.”

Mr Tuke said said for them to take it to a broad degree or a standing where it now becomes a common knowledge to PNG is not good enough and Wafi-Golpu is a very relevant project because in the next 10 to 20 years Porgera and Ok Tedi might shutdown.

“We are still a mining country and we need to take on board this Wafi-Golpu project so that it in the years to come that will be in the place that the two mines will go down so that it can generate revenue to our country and that’s basically what we are trying to do,” he said.

They made known their grievances but I think it’s not appropriate for them to go that far because they are certain forms which we have not exhausted them all yet and we just started the process and we are still into it and we have a long way to go and we will still go through that,” he said.

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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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The Ignorant Response By Mining Minister Johnson Tuke Over Basamuk People’s Voice Petition

Mining Minister Johnson Tuke

The Papua New Guinea Woman | December 17, 2018

The Mining Minister Hon. Johnson Tuke has made some ignorant blunders that can cause more problems for the State, the Developer Chinese Metallurgical Corporation (MCC), provoke landowners by adding fuel to land issues fires and most importantly deprive the people of Rai Coast their Constitutional right for inclusivity in the development of our resources and access to basic Government services and infrastructure. 

The Minister’s ignorant blunders undermines the Government’s own decisions since 2001.  It also demonstrates how the Government undermines the welfare of its own people and does not respect the elected leaders at the Ward and LLG level. 

I’m sure the Prime Minister genuinely wants to listen to the people.  He is a decisive Prime Minister who is known to “fix things” not done right in the past.  It is also in the interest of the O’Neill-Abel Government.  

The Minister’s actions and undermining statements is also contrary to the Developer MCC’s concerns and calls issued through their paid Press Statement published in the Post Courier on 23 November, 2018. 

THE BASAMUK PEOPLE’S VOICE

Before I talk about the ignorant blunders, let’s get the record straight about The Basamuk People’s Voice (BPV).  The group consists of genuine landowners plus all the people in the mine-impacted area and RaiCoast.  We are an interest lobby group working with our duly elected political leaders at the Government closest to our people for the common purpose of development for our District.  You can read more about who we are and what we stand for here.

It is our Constitutional right to demand for our rights. We the people have been marginalized for too long.  One day on 01 December, 2018 we joined our hands and voices together for a common shared interest and purpose and conveyed the collective views and demands to the few who represent us.

We are members of theLandowners Association (LOA), which is the party to the MOA.  We are also members of our Wards and LLGs which are party to the MOA.

Our developmental issues are not addressed through our LOA organization, partly due to landownership disputes which the State failed to address for over 17 years.  More so, it is due to the level of education, knowledge and the ability of our people to engage in such discussions.

Political leaders at the national level have also failed to raise these very genuine issues on the floor of Parliament for over 17 years.  The people have had enough so we have organized ourselves to speak up.

Minister, I’m sure we did not breach any law of the country by organizing ourselves and giving you a petition signed by 1215 people and their 5 elected Ward Members.

OUR PETITION

Our petition was very genuine, for common good.  We are demanding the Government to setup a high level Review Team made up of officials from MRA, Madang Provincial Administration, Lands, CEPA, National Planning, Provincial Affairs, Treasury, and Prime Minister’s Office to look into these issues, and met our demands, starting by Financing and Building our ROAD.

  • Road (Madang-Morobe Coastal Highway).  PNG is party to China’s “One Belt One Road” Initiative.  We’ve seen K Billions of Chinese money build roads all over the country and Port Moresby, but not Rai Coast where the Chinese live.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment.  This affects everyone whether one is a landowner or not.
  • Relocation away from the hazardous refinery.
  • Review and stop fiscal incentives of the 10-year tax holiday of Corporate Income Tax so company can utilize the funds under the Tax Credit Scheme to build infrastructures.
  • Immediately address the existing mine’s issues, amongst them the landownership issues. 

THE IGNORANT RESPONSE BY THE MINISTER

I quote the Minister’s response:  “I totally condemn the misinformation they are feeding the people through the media in their quest to create disharmony and distrust in the mining industry and the Government of Papua New Guinea

The Minister is effectively saying that:

  • Our claim that we need road is misinformation;
  • Our claim that we have environmental issues that needs independent assessments and relocation of people is misinformation;
  • The fiscal incentives is misinformation;
  • The landowner issues that needs resolving is misinformation;
  • The K5 Billion extension project is misinformation;
  • The 2019 National Budget and the MTDPIII [2018 – 2022] does not have Rai Coast Road or major infrastructure for Rai Coast is misinformation.

What an ignorant response! 

Our demands for inclusion in the development of our resources and access to basic rights like infrastructure, water, sanitation, medical services, education and safety is our basic human right.

It is an understatement to declare that our demands for our rights is a quest to create disharmony and distrust in the mining industry and the Government of Papua New Guinea.  We have no intention for any of that.

You PNG Government are our Father/Mother.  You have a responsibility to us, your citizens. This is the first time in 13 years we are speaking up.  We are not citizens of China so you leave us at their mercy! 

THE IGNORANT BLUNDERS

1.       The Landownership Issues and Landowner Associations

The Basamuk People’s Voice (BPV) is a neutral body that petitioned the Government to address the land dispute as Gazetted in G169 of 2001, and again exempted from Government’s Compulsory Accusation in 2002 (G51 of 2002]. The existence of the dispute has deprived us of development. 

The company MCC, in a paid Press Statement, on November 23 2018 also called upon the Government to have the matter resolved so they can establish better relationship with all stakeholders and fulfill their corporate social obligations.

Developer MCC stated that it “categorically refutes all false allegations and claims by a certain individuals with vested interest claiming to be Chairman of the so-called Basamuk LOA and the Limestone LOA, contained in Post Courier of Tuesday November 13 and Wednesday November 14 2018”.

The Developer MCC also stated “Ramu Nico is aware that there are 3 different factions claiming as the legitimate representative of the Basamuk LOA.  The company has yet to receive a form notice from the regulator…”

The BPV is NOT one of the 3 different factions.  For the first time, BPV brought the 3 different factions together for shared common interests, so we can work towards better developmental outcomes for our people

Minister’s Blunder No.1: The Minister recognized one of the 3 different factions as genuine landowner.  This is in breach of the Government’s own decisions and Government’s failure to resolve the matter in 17 years.

The Developer MCC has publicly declared their stand on “certain individuals with vested interests” and called upon the Government to have the matter resolved.    

Minister’s Blunder No. 2:   The Mining Minister is not the legal authority [Special Land Titles Commissioner] to solve landownership disputes and declare landowners.  He should heed the call by the Developer and the people to listen and find a neutral ground to resolve the issue.

It is in the best interest of the people, the developer and the State that the Government cease dealing with landowner associations in dispute. It should move swiftly to review its processes to determine the dispute.  This is also the desire of the Developer.

The Basamuk People’s Voice is the common ground that the landowners and people have found, led by our elected Ward Members.  We genuinely want to find solutions to our problems.  It should be recognized for its efforts until the landowner disputes are resolved.

Blunder No. 3 – Disputing Genuine Landowners        

The Minister is ignorant of the fact that the Ramu Nico Mine have various leases.  There are recognized landowners from Kumbukari, Usino, Astrolabe Bay and Basamuk.  For Basamuk, whilst there are 3 small different factions with dispute over Lease for Mining Purpose No. 42, we have many legitimate landowners for other leases.

As the spokesperson, I am a duly recognized landowner under the Project, for Prency State lease land, Mining Easement No. 75.  MCC just paid me and my family royalty.  It’s contradictory for the Minister to call me “self-professed LOs”. 

The Basamuk People’s Voice is made up of people like myself who are genuine recognised landowners, for the existing project and for the proposed extension.

Minister, we formed the BPV to demand for our developmental rights because there are disputes with the 3 different factions of the LOA over one lease area.  This has hindered our development and participation aspirations.  The State has failed to address the issue, nor carry out due diligence over the land dispute before inviting the Developer to invest Billions on Kina in the Project.

Whether the Government like it or not, the BVP is here to stay.  It represents the collective interests of the Rai Coast people, including genuine landowners and mine-impacted communities.  We will never back down but work with our elected representatives the Ward Members, at the Government closest to our people, for social justice.

Blunder No. 4 – Avoiding the Educated People

A tactic we have observed over the years is that the agents of the State and Developer avoid the educated people and deal with those with limited education. 

Let me point out a Media Release by Chairman of the so-called Basamuk Landowners Association Sande Suang, published in the Post Courier of November 13 and 14.

He says:  “We are simple landowners with limited formal education.  I only have grade 6 formal education and am among a handful of landowner leaders with limited formal education”.

The Minister held discussions with a party that has Grade 6 formal education.  Why this matters?  It’s obvious they can be easily exploited and manipulated, and our people of Rai Coast will be misled.  They won’t be in a position to “communicate”our pressing issues and major developmental issues. 

When our people with limited education run the Associations, we have not seen major developments that will benefit many people who are impacted by the mine – not only landowners!   

WAY FORWARD

The BPV’s Petition dated 05 November, 2018 still stands.  We duly note the Mining Minister’s dismissal of our petition.  We ask him again to re-consider based on the facts presented here.

We call upon the Government to set up a high level Review Team from relevant agencies stated above to review our petition and provide report to the NEC on way forward to resolve the issues.  The Basamuk People’s Voice represents the people and we want to be a part of the Review.

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US$13B Porgera Arbitration To Go Ahead, Says Tuke

“The dispute is a domestic issue involving the people of Porgera suing the government of PNG for breaches of contract, breach of the duty of care owed to the landowners of Porgera for damages including injury, loss and harm caused by the operation of the Porgera gold mine by Barrick Niugini Limited for over 29 years since it has commenced operation in Porgera in 1989.”

Yombi Kep | Post Courier | December 13, 2018

A US$13.28 billion arbitration notice served by a landowner group to the Department of Mining and the Department of Justice and Attorney General (DJAG) has been given the green light by the department responsible.

According to an interview with the Minister for Mining, the department has agreed to the arbitration notice served by the Porgera Gold Mine Landowners and the Justice Foundation for Porgera.

“The matter is registered with our office and we will just go through the international arbitration process,” said Johnson Tuke.

Mr Tuke said that arbitration is an international matter, and they will allow the arbitration process to go forward with it.

However, he said that a time and location is yet to be decided on by all the parties involved in the process.

The Department of Mining and the Department of Justice and Attorney General were served 13 arbitration documents requesting for arbitration on Friday November 30, 2018.

The service of a notice of arbitration or request for arbitration is the first formal step in arbitration. The parties are generally free to agree on how the arbitration proceedings are to commence before an Arbitrator under the United Nations system of Arbitration known as UNCITRAL.

Speaking on behalf of the landowners Barrister at Law and Counsel of the PNG Bar, Andrew Kostopoulos said that the landowners of the Special Mining lease which expires on May 12, 2019, are suing the government of PNG for US$13.28 billion.

“The dispute is a domestic issue involving the people of Porgera suing the government of PNG for breaches of contract, breach of the duty of care owed to the landowners of Porgera for damages including injury, loss and harm caused by the operation of the Porgera gold mine by Barrick Niugini Limited for over 29 years since it has commenced operation in Porgera in 1989.”

Chairman of Justice Foundation of Porgera Limited Jonathan Paraia said they have been working on the arbitration documents for the last seven years.

“We are requesting for arbitration. All the facts, complaints and issues that needs to be resolved are contained in the arbitration documents,” said Mr Paraia.

“The ball is now in their court, they have to decide on how the arbitration will proceed.”

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Introduction Of Mining Bill Pushed To Next Year

Mining Minister Johnson Tuke

Post Courier | December 5, 2018

Mining Minister Johnson Tuke told the Mining and Petroleum Conference in Sydney that proposed amendments to the Mining Act (1992) will be made next year.
He said this despite previous indication of last month being the sitting that would introduce the proposed amendments.
Citing concerns from the industry and the need for independent review from within government circles, he said the amendment would still take place nonetheless citing an over 9 years consultative period.
“One of the principle priority for my ministry was to ensure the proposed mining bill is introduced in parliament in the November session in accordance with the NEC decision No 8 of 2018,’’ he said.
“The ministry had put together a working team comprising the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management, the Mineral Resources Authority, the Department of Treasury and the Office of the State Solicitor and the First Legislative Council under the oversight of the Chief Secretary to Government to prepare the mining bill for introduction in parliament, however, certain considerations have pushed the introduction of the mining bill to 2019.
“Let me say at this juncture that the mining bill and the new policies are necessary for the effective regulation of the mining industry in PNG.
“The review of the mining act was done by Papua New Guineans on both sides of the table who are well experienced in their respective fields of employment.
“The nine years of review, which three, specifically with the mining industry is testament to the scrutiny the review has undertaken.”
He also assured the industry and potential investors that the policy and legislative changes proposed by government intend to establish a foundation for growth and prosperity for the country in the years to come.
“The aspiration to protect the rights and interests of our investors is of paramount interest to the government,’’ Mr Tuke said.
“By the same token, the aspiration to ensure the rightful benefits are due to our people is also of paramount interest to the government.
“Finding the balance that best serves our collective interests and aspirations is what we have to do collectively in a responsible manner.
“While the industry has the duty to serve its respective boards, we as the leaders of the country also have the responsibility ultimately to serve our people.”

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