Tag Archives: Johnson Tuke

RAMU NICKEL WANTS TO GET AWAY WITH AN APOLOGY

Vice President of Ramu NiCo, Wang Baowen took the opportunity to apologise to Mining Minister, Johnson Tuke, Governor Peter Yama and MRA MD, Jerry Garry during their visit to Basamuk Refinery on Wed Aug 28 to carry out an independent assessment on the slurry overflow

‘Unfortunate overflow caused inconvenience to villagers’

Ramu NiCo apologises to slurry overflow

Wang Baowen | MCC

THE Vice President of Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Ltd, Mr. Wang Baowen apologised to the nation through Mining Minister, Johnson Tuke, Madang Governor, Peter Yama, Managing Director of Mineral Resources Authority, Jerry Garry and landowners at Basamuk in Rai Coast district for the unfortunate slurry overflow on August 24 that entered the harbor causing inconvenience to the local villagers.

“Company management is extremely concerned about this incident and will not treat it lightly. Even though the slurry spillage occurred accidentally and not out of Company’s negligence to industrial requirements and standards, we will take this incident up to the management level and work very hard to improve so we do not face similar incident in the future,”

“To our local communities who are our friends and have been our most important host and who have been very cooperative to date, we want to continue working with you as we are committed to ensure a harmonious relationship.”

“We are committed to address any compensation in-line with the existing Compensation Agreement as a result of the incident including carry out awareness of the situation once all the facts have been provided to us by agencies responsible,”

“We value your support towards our project as we strive to achieve mutual win-win outcomes, we will continue to work together to enhance our common benefits,” Mr. Wang Baowen expressed in front of the Mining Minister, Tuke, Governor Yama and MRA MD, Mr. Garry on Wednesday Aug 29 during their visit to Basamuk Refinery to do an independent assessment on the slurry overflow.

Mr. Wang Baowen assured all stakeholders and the landowners of Basamuk on behalf of Ramu NiCo that his company is currently working closely with the independent investigators on the ground to establish the main cause of the incident.

“The company will be guided and accept any remedial measures imposed by Government after the findings and is committed to fully implement directions by the State to avoid reoccurrence of this event,” Mr. Wang Baowen said. 

Mining Minister Johnson Tuke and Madang Governor Peter Yama expressed concern on the incident that has gone viral on social media causing a lot of uncertainty and criticism. They emphasised that such incident must be avoided to enjoy a harmonious project operation that will promote confidence to all stakeholders to the Project.

Mr.Tuke said what had happened is now gone but he will meet with the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Jeffrey Kama and release a joint media statement next week to assure the people of PNG and Madang on the Basamuk incident and way forward for the Project success.

While supporting the Mining Minister, Governor Yama told the Company that he is committed to serve his people in the province while supporting major investors like Ramu NiCo for the development of Madang and PNG

“I as the governor of Madang have the responsibility towards my little people and nothing else. When you (Ramu NiCo) do the right thing, my people are happy, I am happy and you will be happy doing business. Simple as that,” Mr. Yama said.

Managing Director of MRA, Jerry Garry expressed his satisfaction towards Ramu NiCo for solving the initial critical issues and asked the Company to further provide information on heavy metal concentration in the slurry before the overflow, the amount of heavy metal into the harbor (sea), the quantity of slurry into the sea and metal concentration. 

According to MRA’s preliminary findings, Mr. Garry said the slurry overflow was from one of the slurry neutralisation tanks on early hours (4.30am) Saturday Aug 24 after maintenance work. Two slurry pumps control system failed causing a loss of primary containment and tank overflow for almost 48 minutes.

“The overflowed slurry flowed into an emergency retention pond and some slurry bypassed the diverter gate then flowed into the harbour less than 28 minutes,”

“The Authorities (MRA & CEPA) were informed Saturday (August 24) afternoon, and officers were dispatched to site on Monday Aug 26 afternoon to conduct a thorough investigation till Wed Aug 28,” Mr. Garry said.

MRA confirmed closure of the affected ocean front after Company Community Affairs officers had communicated several times to villagers not to utilise for recreational purposes or fishing within the affected area.

“The investigations will determine the nature of the slurry, including toxicity, pH and other heavy elements discharged and how best to mitigate the slurry already accidentally discharged into the ocean,”

“The sea water sample collected by CEPA has been delivered to an independent lab in Australia for further analysis and result will be delivered to CEPA for final report.”

“Furthermore, the investigations will establish any procedural failures on the part of the operator and necessary remedial measures will be imposed,”

 “We will surely update the nation and everyone when the investigations are duly completed. In the meantime, we are placing our efforts in safeguarding the local communities as our priority,” Mr. Garry said. 

Mr. Wang Baowen said the operation of the Refinery is normal with no casualty. He said the imprint of the environment damaged has been stabilised and final result of the independent investigation will be produced once ready.

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Ramu Mine spill turns PNG coastline red

AFP News | 29 August 2019

Papua New Guinea officials have sealed off the area around a Chinese-owned nickel plant in the north of the country after the leakage of potentially toxic slurry that has turned the ocean red.Map locating Chinese-owned Ramu nickel refinery from where a potentially toxic slurry leaked into the ocean on August 24

The Mineral Resources Authority said on Thursday it had cordoned off a portion of Basamuk Bay in the north of the country, while emergency tests are carried out to determine the scale of environmental damage.

The water and coastline were dyed ochre red by the slurry, which is said to have overflowed from tanks at the Ramu Nickel refinery for almost an hour.

The multibillion facility is run by the state-owned China Metallurgical Group, which mines and processes nickel, a metal widely used in batteries, including in electric cars.

The Mineral Resources Authority said it had moved to “prevent villagers from going near or fishing within the affected area” while investigations “determine the nature of the slurry, including toxicity, pH” and whether heavy elements were discharged.

The incident is believed to have taken place at 4:30am on Saturday, but was not reported until the afternoon.

Officials finally reached the site on Monday and they have now been joined by Mining Minister Johnson Tuke.

The probe will “establish any procedural failures on the part of the operator and necessary remedial measures will be imposed”, the authority said.

“In the meantime, we are placing our efforts in safeguarding the local communities as our priority.”

The mine and processing plant have been deeply controversial since their inception.

The project was commissioned in 2012 and had been delayed for almost two years by a legal challenge that ended in the Supreme Court.

Local landowners had tried to block the project because waste from the plant is dumped in the ocean rather than landfill — so-called “deep sea tailings placement”.

During a meeting in Beijing last week, the China Metallurgical Group asked visiting Papua New Guinea officials to approve plans to expand production capacity.

It was not immediately clear what caused the spill, with reports that slurry pumps or a pipe may have failed.

The local provincial governor Peter Yama has called for the ministry of environment rather than the Mineral Resources Authority to take the investigative lead.

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Landowners Urged Not To Disturb Basamuk Refinery

Post Courier | August 29, 2019

Mining Minister Johnson Tuke yesterday urged landowners from the areas around Basamuk Refinery in Madang’s Rai Coast district not to disturb the operation of the facility while an investigation into a slurry over ow into the sea last weekend is underway.

Mr Tuke visited the refinery accompanied by Madang Governor Peter Yama and managing director of MRA, Mr Jerry Garry to inspect the slurry over ow that occurred in the early hours of Saturday August 24.

Vice president of Ramu NiCo, Mr Wang Baowen, received them in the presence of registered refinery manager Bill Hill and other company senior officers. “While the investigation on the slurry over ow is going on, I ask all of you to stay away from the slurry outflow point into the sea.

“And do not disturb the operation of the refinery.

“As the government, we are aware of your concerns and we will try our best to ensure a full investigation is completed and presented.

It will take some time but we will ensure the root cause is identified and rectified,” Mr Tuke said.

More than 70 landowners and nearby villagers gathered at the Basamuk Refinery old camp and petitioned the minister.

They asked for permanent environment officers to be stationed at Basamuk.

This is to monitor any environmental issues and compensate them for the inconvenience caused by the Saturday August 24 slurry over ow.

On Tuesday August 27 more than 50 landowners from nearby villages to Basamuk Refinery including Mindre, Bobidik, Jangag, Duman, Sulu, Ganglau and Tugiak expressed concerns on the same issue and urged MRA and CEPA to thoroughly investigate and establish the toxicity of the slurry in a transparent manner.

Chief inspector from MRA, Lave Michael, and inspector Joseph Umare, including mining manager from CEPA, Robert Sine, were present to hear the landowners’ grievances.

The mentioned government officers arrived at Basamuk on Monday August 26 to carry out investigations on the alleged spill to establish the cause.

A vocal leader from Mindre village and an associate to NGO’s in Madang, Terry Kuning challenged the government and Ramu NiCo to establish the main cause of the slurry overspill transparently and to avoid similar situations in the future.

“The environment damage has been done and we ask the company and the government to compensate us. This must be done soon,” Mr Kunning said.

Other landowners and women representatives present expressed concern on the slurry spill and urged the company to avoid a similar situation in the future that will cause unnecessary inconveniences.

CEPA mine manager Robert Sine thanked the landowners for their patience and understanding despite the slurry spill.

He assured them that proper and careful investigation is currently underway and strict measures and guidelines will be imposed after the findings.

“We don’t take bribes or favours.

We go by the books and carry out our work in line with laws.

We will make sure investigations are done properly and will inform you through Ramu NiCo,” Mr Sine said.

Chief Inspector from MRA, Lave Michael informed the landowners that he will complete the investigation and any measures taken will depend on the outcome of the investigation.

Inspector Lave emphasised that his responsibility is highlighted under the Mining Act where he complies accordingly and will not attend to other matters raised by the landowners.

“I am guided by the Mining Act and my job is in line with requirements thereafter.

I have disciplined several mines including Ramu NiCo when in breach of safety issues and I will continue to do if any mine including Ramu NiCo is found in breach of their safety laws,” Mr Michael said.

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International Environmentalist to Conduct Assessment on PNG’s Porgera Gold Mine

Mining pollution turns Papua New Guinea’s Pongema River red. Photo: Red Water report

Where has the Department of Conservation (now CEPA) been for the last twenty-five years? Has it ever assessed the environmental damage caused by Barrick Gold?

Papua New Guinea Today | August 22, 2019

Papua New Guinea will engage an International Environmentalist to assess environmental damages done to local communities around the Porgera mine site in the Enga Province.

Grievances on Environmental damage is one of the many issues raised by landowners.

Papua New Guinea Mining Minister Johnson Tuke said they will take on board an accredited Environmentalist to study the impact of damage.

Minister Tuke said this is one of the serious legacies that must be seriously looked into as the damage has affected many communities.

Early this month, Barrick Gold Corporation President and Chief Executive Mark Bristow said K800, 000, for compensation for environmental damage was paid to a landowner group but stuck because of disputes between members of the same clan.

Mineral Resources Authority Managing Director Jerry Garry said the issue and others must be addressed and not dragged into the new life of the mine.

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Details for Revised Mining Act Ready for Parliament

Melissa Yafoi and Matthew Vari | Post Courier | 29 July 2019

Details of the revised Mining Act will be presented in Parliament next month where Minister for Mining Johnson Tuke will also present an account of the mining sector in the country

Secretary for the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazard Management, Harry Kore, said last Thursday.

Mr Kore said they are reviewing the Mining Act and have been directed to submit the Act in the next Parliament sitting.

“The revised Mining Act will go to Parliament in September this year.

“So as for the Mining Act, last year we introduced the Mineral Resources Authority Act and we are currently working in collaboration with MRA to revise the Mining Safety Act.

Our Act is as old as 1977 so we try to update it with the latest technology and advancements that is happening so we try to bring our act up to par with what we have internationally,” he said.

Mining Minister Johnson Tuke said the Mining Act is mostly colonial and a review is long overdue.

“I am promoting that in the coming (parliament) session. We’ve conducted our due diligences, we’ve visited all our agencies and it’s been on the shelf for the last six to seven years. I think this is prime time we have to do this.

“In the coming session also I might be able to update PNG on the status quo of all our mines but our engagement with Wafi-Golpu has came to a halt and it’s now before the courts so we will not comment on that,” he said.

Meantime PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum president Gerea Aopi told the 35th Australia PNG business forum in June that the mining industry would remain a strong supporter for development in the country, highlighting the 26 per cent contribution to GDP and 80 per cent of national export revenue.

“The sector also provides more than 20,000 jobs to Papua New Guineans, whilst 30,000 more are employed in landowner businesses, and other PNG businesses that support the industry,” Mr Aopi said.

He said in order for the industry to continue supporting and growing the national economy, there needs to be stabled and predictable government policies and a favourable investment climate that underpins PNG’s investment attractiveness, clearly in reference to the proposed review to the mining act.

Recent statements also from government also highlighted tax income with Prime Minister James Marape urging major players in the mining and petroleum sectors to pay their “fair share of tax”.

A point which the chamber pointed out that its members pay corporate taxes, royalties, dividends, and also employee taxes on their wages, totalling to over K1.5 billion representing over 16 per cent of the total K9.1 billion tax revenue collected by the government in 2017 alone.

“While we support the government’s vision to increase the country’s revenue, we must remember that the resource industry has always been a strong contributor to PNG’s development and that the industry has always complied with taxation laws by paying its fair share of taxes,” the chamber announced in a statement earlier this month.

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Tuke yet to receive mining audit report

The National aka The Loggers Times | July 4, 2019

MINING Minister Johnson Tuke says a report on an internal audit into one of the trust accounts that keeps the funds from the proceeds of the Ok Tedi mine for the people of Western is yet to be furnished to his office.

Tuke said these in response to questions from Western Governor Taboi Awi Yoto in Parliament yesterday.

Tuke said the previous government under the leadership of Peter O’Neill had put a moratorium on one of the trust accounts to undertake an audit after allegations of corruption and misuse of funds.

“There are two trust accounts – the Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) Trust Account and non-CMCA,” he said.

“Under CMCA 12 projects have been identified and they were being done. It comes under Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF).

“The other one is non-CMCA and projects were endorsed before I became the minister.”

Tuke said there were 148 projects endorsed and funded under non-CMCA Trust.

“These projects were done already but we don’t know, whether these projects were actually delivered on the ground or not.

“For this reason, the previous government authorised a project audit to be done so that the people would know whether these funds were actually used to deliver projects and programmes to benefit the people of Western or not,” he said.

“The audit report was done already but I have yet to receive it.”

Tuke said once he received the report he would act on its recommendations with the relevant authorities.

He also clarified that the balance of that funds under the non-CMCA Trust would be given to the Mineral Resource Development Company (MRDC) as per a Cabinet decision.

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Morobe’s Interest In Wafi-Golpu Legal, Says Judge

Frankiy Kapin | Post Courier | May 13, 2019

A ruling of the national court in Lae affirms that Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu (plaintiff /applicant) is a party of interest to the Wafi-Golpu project as host province.

Acting Judge John Numapo granted leave for judicial review to the signing of the Wafi-Golpu memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the State and the developer without the host province’s governor.

Justice Numapo ordered a directional hearing set for May 24, followed by a pre-hearing conference on June 6 to set a date for a full hearing of the substantive matter.

Justice Numapo ruled that Mr Saonu, in his capacity as mandated representative of Morobe Province and its people, is granted the review on two decisions pertaining to the letter constituting the legal clearance issued by state solicitor Daniel Rolpagarea (second defendant) on December 10, 2018, for the execution of the MoU between Mr Saonu, Wafi Mining Limited and Newcrest PNG 2 Limited.

The second decision for the review, as set in the originating summons, pertains to the MoU signed on December 11, 2018, between Mining Minister Johnson Tuke (first defendant) and developers Wafi Mining Limited (fourth defendant) and Newcrest PNG 2 Limited (fifth defendant).

The independent State of Papua New Guinea is the third defendant in the originating summons (OS-JR No 18 of 2019).

Justice Numapo ruled that Mr Saonu, as duly-elected Morobe Governor, has sufficient interest in the Wafi-Golpu project located in his province, therefore has standing (locus standi) seeking review through submission of the proceedings.

“One of his responsibilities is to make sure that the province generates and raises sufficient revenue from various sources within the province to maintain government services and one such revenue source is from the mining activities carried out in the province such has the Wafi-Golpu mine,” Justice Numapo said.

He said the plaintiff has taken into consideration the potential of the mine changing the economic outlook of the province and the country once operational and wants to make sure the province is well-positioned to benefit through revenue generation, employment opportunities and other spin off benefits.

Justice Numapo said the province is mindful of the environmental impact and other social issues that may arise as a direct result of the mining project and wants to ensure these concerns are properly addressed.

“I am satisfied, therefore, that a prima facie (accepted as correct until proven otherwise) case on sufficient interest has been made out in favor of granting leave for review.,” he said.

“I am satisfied that the plaintiff has sufficient interest in the matter and therefore, has the locus standi to bring this proceedings seeking leave for judicial review.”

Justice Numapo also ruled for the review after being satisfied that the Mining Minister Tuke and the state solicitor, as holders of public offices, acted in respective capacities constituting a decision or act in clearing the MoU signing through discharge of their statutory duties.

Justice Numapo granted the plaintiff, Mr Saonu, leave on May 7 to seek a judicial review of the agreement.

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