Tag Archives: Johnson Tuke

Minister should listen to the people on Experimental Seabed Mining

Lester Seri | ACT NOW! | 8 February 2018

Our Minister for Mining has made known his support for experimental seabed mining, but he has not given any rational justification for his endorsement of Nautilus Minerals and Solwara 1, especially when there is so much uncertainty and questions being asked about Papua New Guinea being used as a guinea pig.

There are international scientists highlighting likely serious biological / ecological problems that could come about, as there has never been any such seabed mining done before anywhere in the world. Surely, anybody in a responsible position as an elected member of Parliament entrusted with the duty to represent the interest / concerns of his or her electorate and the country, is supposed to, in the midst of citizens concern, take time, assess and evaluate the issues / concerns before taking a decision. Minister Tuke has failed miserably in this regard!

Many people have already raised serious doubts and concerns, but neither the Minister nor the Government have come forward to give an honest and truthful answer to the people. Instead they have made a unilateral decision without taking time to answer or respond to the people’s queries. The Minister has taken a dictatorial stand defying the peoples concerns.

The Minister says he is only going by the Government’s decision to approve the mining permit but does not give any serious scientific or economic rational for why Solwara 1 has been granted the mining license.

The minister is concerned there have been no new mines been opened recently, and says that he is pursuing the Governments policy to get new mines on stream and operational. This is common government bullshit all over the world.

The question that needs answering (and as citizens we want to know) is, what is the economic rationale and benefits that will accrue to the people and the country now and into the future. I mean how much difference (benefit) in terms of actual money and human development will Solwara 1 effectively contribute to the the country?

We need some indication of the volume and quantity of minerals and value, and the likely benefits that we will be gaining from this mining project.  These benefits, whatever they may be, ought to be spelt out, clearly articulated, so we are not only clear but assured of what we are likely to gain.

Just because the Minister or Prime Minister and their members are elected MPs  does not necessary mean that they are always right in their judgment, and that we will surely gain as they claim. This uncertainty arises from the government failure in giving its citizens the actual benefits analysis and, breakdown of the financial benefits that will accrue.

As citizens, we also want to know, what likely costs (environmentally and economically) we will have to endure, and how much of this cost can be justified, considering the fact that the government has bought shares (using public funds) in Solwara 1.

We would like to know, in the event of the mine being unsuccessful / unprofitable and if we miss out on benefits, how are we going to recoup our investment? The Minister and the government have a duty and responsibility to explain to its citizens, how it will insure itself from any possible loss.

Our history has shown us over 40 years that despite active government engagement in extractive (mining) industries and despite seeing and witnessing billions of kina in revenue earned by foreign companies, there really is nothing to show in terms of real development and benefit to the citizens and the nation.

All our development indicators are well below the respectable levels enjoyed by much smaller countries in the Pacific with little or no natural resource base in the abundance that we have.

It is this very arrogant and reckless attitude of MPs who have been elected to Parliament as the people representatives, politicians, legislators, and decision makers that has cost this country so dearly and we are all experiencing the hardship today, and no doubt it will be experienced by the future generation.

I cannot fathom the reckless attitude of the Minister, especially in the light of the financial problems that Nautilus Minerals is facing and its executives resigning. Any sane and rational elected leader would not only be cognizant of the problems and doubts raised, but would be applying intelligence, and precautionary principles in evaluating and assessing the pros and cons before taking any decision.

PNG’s increasing financial debt, no medicines, roads falling apart which we are unable to maintain, owing millions of kina to oil and gas landowners, teachers, superannuation funds, schools, and increasing law and order problems are a testament to the recklessness of our politicians, and should warrant them to be conscious and rational and put the interest of our citizens and country first and above the profit interest of foreign companies!

I cannot believe the Minister has made time to meet with the Nautilus executives to hear their side of the story but is not able to meet with citizens to hear our concerns? One can easily draw conclusions of what might likely be happening, whether true or not? Politicians are supposed to allow time to hear the concerns of all parties affected by any of their decisions. This is not the case in the current situation.

Thus, one questions the Minister and whose interest was he was elected to represent?

Can someone drum some sense into the Minister, the Prime Minister and the Government?


Leave a comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Tuke Firm On Seafloor Mining Decision

Minister Johnson Tuke is demanding Nautilus provide a firm timeline for mining to start

Matthew Vari| Post Courier | February 6, 2018

Minister for Mining Johnson Tuke is firmly committed to the National Government’s decision to go ahead with the Solwara One project.

Mr Tuke maintained the government has done its due diligence to the latter and Nautilus Minerals has complied per government regulations.

He said this in response to what he termed were external groups that continue to undermine the decision made by the country.

“I stand firm that this is the government’s decision and no other parties can undermine the government.”

“Papua New Guinea is a sovereign nation and as such we go by our own polices and manage our own affairs in so far as this ministry is concerned.”

Minister Tuke made the comments during an update presentation made by Nautilus CEO Mike Johnston on Monday evening in Port Moresby. The presentation has is part of Minster Tuke’s recent planned visits to existing Mine projects in the country.

Minister Tuke said the government has been determined to ensure new prospects get off the ground, thus he has met with developers for other proposed mine projects in the country.

“I have been adamant about this not only you (Nautilus), but few other mining prospectus we have got Wafi (Golpu) and Frieda river to deal with, I am concerned with the timeline. You have give some us certainty,” Minister Tuke told Mr Johnston.

“For the last few years or so we haven’t experienced any new mine. This government is concerned that we should at least come up with a new mine that is the reason why I have demanded to know the timeline.”

He, however, maintained that all requirements for the first of its kind seafloor operation to stick to the policies and environmental provisions.


Filed under Mine construction, Papua New Guinea

Mining Minister peddling ignorant misinformation about biodiversity and experimental seabed mining

Underwater life in the McMurdo Sound

Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Mining, Johnson Tuke, has been peddling some ignorant misinformation in his attempts to defend experimental seabed mining.

The Minister has claimed no life exists at 1600m under the ocean where Nautilus Minerals hopes to strip mine the seabed. That is completely untrue and irresponsible according to scientists like Cindy Dover, a professor of biological oceanography at Duke University:

“We have learned that the deep sea is as exquisitely diverse as any bit of shallow marine or terrestrial environment”.

Indeed, dozens of new species are routinely discovered during forays to the bottom of the ocean, even at depths twice as deep as the proposed Nautilus mining operation.

This all completely contradicts the Minister’s ignorant claim that:

“There is a certain dark area (in the seabed to be mined) where it is out of photosynthesis. They say there is no life beyond that point.”

To pour further scorn on Minister Tuke’s school boy error, scientists also say that the deep sea is vitally important not just for the biodiversity it contains, it also plays a “critical role in the functioning and buffering of planetary systems” and is “an area we know is very important to society.”

The Minister should apologise for misleading the nation and take a science lesson or do some basic research before he opens his mouth to speak again about experimental seabed mining.


Filed under Environmental impact, Papua New Guinea

Industry and government a mine of misinformation

Mining and petroleum companies contribute just 1.5% of government revenues – not over 50% as they like to suggest

The much championed size and importance of the mining sector in Papua New Guinea is really all smoke and mirrors; an elaborate charade crafted through a mine of misinformation generated by industry and the government – and repeatedly broadcast by an unquestioning and compliant media.

The favourite line is that the mining sector generates of 50% of Papua New Guinea’s revenue – a statistic spouted by everyone from the Mining Minister, Johnson Tuke, down, at the recent Mining and Petroleum conference in Port Moresby.

GREAT! But what does this figure of 50% really mean and who benefits from that revenue?

Well it is certainly not the government or people of PNG!

Government revenue is generated by taxes and the mining and petroleum sector contributes but a small percentage of tax revenues, as revealed in a recent article from Nelson Atip Nema. His analysis shows that the revenue to government generated by mining and petroleum taxes is currently just K100 million a year, and that figure is still falling, despite Tuke telling everyone at the mining conference revenues were UP 13.4 % last year…

Mining and petroleum tax revenues. Nelson Atip Nema and Stephen Howes | DevPolicy Blog

In contrast to the K100 million paid by the mining industry, personal income tax, the money paid by us, the workers, to the government every year, is a whopping K3,000 million. In addition, the corporate taxes paid by the non-mining sector are over K2,000 million a year and tax collected on GST is almost K1,500 million a year, as shown in the graph below.

Graph by Nelson Atip Nema and Stephen Howes | DevPolicy Blog

So, for the government, non mining taxes generate over K6,500 million and mining and petroleum sector just K100 million. So rather than ‘over 50% of revenue’, in truth the mining and petroleum companies provide just 1.5% of government revenue.

Funny we never hear the Minister, MRA or the mining companies telling us that!

It is not that their ‘over 50%’ figure is not true it is just that it refers to ‘export revenue’, that is all the money extracted from Papua New Guinea every year – not government revenue. The mining and petroleum industries account for over 50% of all the MONEY TAKEN OUT OF PNG EVERY YEAR, much of it to be stashed away in off-shore tax havens.

Great for the foreign owned mining companies, but not for us!

The employment numbers we also hear so much about also don’t stack up to much when subjected to basic scrutiny.

The industry claim the sector employs as many as 17,000.

GREAT! Sounds like a big number right, 17,000, but remember that is just a TINY 0.2% of our population!

In contrast, 82% of our population over the age of ten is engaged in small-scale farming, according to the 2010 census and the United Nations.

Three million famers or 17,000 employees, which sounds more important?

Leave a comment

Filed under Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

Mining Minister Tuke meets Einstein’s definition of insanity

Panguna, Porgera, Ok Tedi, Tolukuma all tell the same story – large-scale mining is a disaster for local communities and the environment.

And neither Frieda or Wafi-Golpu have yet come up with a credible plan for managing their toxic tailings – but heck, lets go ahead anyway… 

Govt adamant to get two new mines operating: Tuke

The National aka The Loggers Times | November 22, 2017

THE Government is adamant to get two new mines operating in this term of Parliament, Mining Minister Johnson Tuke, pictured, says.
Tuke, who is also the Kainantu MP said in Lae after returning from a familiarisation visit to the Hidden Valley mine and Wafi-Golpu exploration site in Bulolo, Morobe.
Tuke earlier visited the Porgera gold mine, K92 mine, Frieda River exploration site and the Ramu nickel mine.
He said under the O’Neill-Abel government’s 100-day plan, ministers holding economic portfolios were tasked to ensure their respective departments aligned their operations towards producing revenue for the Government and bail the country out from economic down turn.
“This government is doing the ground work to have at least two mines operating,” Tuke said.
“This government is fully committed.
“In this term of Parliament we will initiate something.
“The developers and landowners are also serious in having the mines off the ground.”
Tuke said the companies doing exploration at the Frieda and Wafi-Golpu sites have already submitted their proposals to dig for minerals. It was for the relevant government agencies to study their proposals and advise the National Executive Council to grant the miners special mining leases.
“Frieda has conducted exploration for the last 40 years or more,” he said.
“Last week, I was at Frieda and talked to the people there. Their response was positive.
“My visit there was to identify issues with the people and the company, so that I can better advice the Government so that it can make well informed decisions.
“That is the case with Wafi too.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Mining Minister pre-empts Frieda river mine approval process

The Frieda river mine has yet to go through a proper approval process, the companies involved have yet to agree how they will manage the toxic and dangerous mine tailings or how they will produce enough electricity, but the Mining Minister doesn’t care. He has given government agencies a two-year deadline to get the mine approved and construction started…

Frieda Gold Set For 2019

Post Courier | November 14, 2017

Construction phase for the Frieda mine gold project in West Sepik Province will begin in 2019.
Mining Minister Johnson Tuke Tuke said this during his ministerial visit to the mine last week. The production will start around 2030 or 2040 which the developer PanAust committed to deliver in line with the Government’s 100 days plan.
Mr Tuke said the government has been given two years to go through government agencies like, Conservation & Environment Protection Authority, Mineral Resources Authority, provincial governments and the extractive industry to get the project started.
“There is no issue but I would like both governors to continue with the positive attitude they’ve embraced and get their provincial MPs on board, because inclusive management and political will is crucial to get Frieda off the ground,” he said.
The East Sepik and Sandaun governors have agreed to work together to get this project off the ground.
“All of us have to work together and I’ve assured the people and the developer, give us two years to get all the paperwork done and then we can start on the project,” Mr Tuke said.

1 Comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Mine construction, Papua New Guinea

Revised mining act will be passed: Minister

Cedric Patjole | PNG Loop | August 23, 2017

Mining Minister, Johnson Tuke, has announced that he will make it his business to have the revised Mining Act passed in Parliament this year.

Tuke said the revised Mining Act, which contains six new laws, will immediately be brought before the National Executive Council for endorsement.

The Minister announced this during a Ministry handover-takeover ceremony in Port Moresby.

He takes on the role of Mining Minister from former Namatanai MP, Byron Chan.

In his maiden speech as Mining Minister, Tuke said he will ensure the new law is passed by the end of the year. This also includes the Mineral Resources Authority Act (2005) review.

“The proposed changes to the Mining Act are focused on improving the regulatory framework of the mining sector through the application of international best practice principles.

“So inline with the undertaking that was given by the Prime Minister at the PNG Mining and Petroleum Conference in Sydney last year, I will ensure the new law is passed by parliament before the end of this year,” he said.

“In addition, I’m also quite pleased to know that the six new policies that were developed for the mining sector in PNG, these new policies will be brought before cabinet immediately for endorsement so that they can be applied in PNG to address predominant issues in the mining sector.”

Minister Tuke gave praise to Chan for his leadership as the Mining Minister in the 9th Parliament and that he will continue the progress he has made.

That includes the review of the Mining Act (1992) and the upgrading of the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM) capacity.

Tuke has given the assurance that while the Government is committed to bringing change, it will also protect the interest of investors.

“Let me assure the people of PNG that this government is a government that will bring about change to bene t the people and serve the interest of Government.

“It will also protect the interest of the investor and ensure there is transparency, accountability, in the mining sector under my leadership,” Tuke said.

Chan said he was happy that a man of Tuke’s stature has taken on the role.


Filed under Papua New Guinea