Tag Archives: Landholders

Taranaki seabed mining decision delayed by a week

Ngati Ruanui, of Patea, protest in Parliament grounds, Wellington, against the mining application. MONIQUE FORD / Fairfax NZ

Andrew Owen | Taranaki Daily News | July 25 2017

The decision on a controversial application to mine thousands of tons of iron sand off the Taranaki coast has been put back by a week.

The Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) decision-making committee is considering an application by Trans-Tasman Resources Ltd (TTR) to extract billions of dollars in iron ore in shallow waters about 25 kilometres off the coast of Patea.

The 20-year project would involve extracting about a quarter of a cubic kilometre of iron sands, weighing a billion tonnes, from under the sea within the South Taranaki Bight. Iron ore would be separated out on a ship before 90 per cent of the material was piped back onto the mined seabed.  

A hearing on the application took place earlier this year and a decision was expected to have been given to the EPA on Thursday.

But the committee announced on Tuesday that it “requires a further extension of one week to deliver its decision to the EPA”. 

It is now expected to be presented on Thursday, August 3 and will be made public in the week beginning August 14.  

“As you can appreciate this is an important application and the committee is determined to ensure it has given full consideration to all of the information presented at the hearing and prepare a fully reasoned decision,” Diane Robinson, EPA Group Manager: Communications, said in a statement.

“As is usual with such applications, we fully expect the decision document itself could run into hundreds of pages. Once we have received it, the document will need to be proof-read before hard copies are produced and bound for publication.”

This is the second application by TTR, which is about 45 per cent foreign-owned, to get approval for the project.

Its previous application was rejected by the EPA in 2014 but the company then modified its proposal and now describes the potential effects on the marine environment as “very small to negligible”. 

However, the application has attracted a great deal of opposition from iwi and hapu members in South Taranaki, as well as opposition from further afield.

Environmental groups including Greenpeace and Forest & Bird, along with fisheries companies, are opposing the mining permit, concerned about the impact on blue whales, Maui’s dolphins and other marine life.

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Doctors warn mining leads to increased rates of diabetes

Be Mindful Of Your Diets, Doctors Warn

Lack Of Proper Management Of One’s Diet And Lack Of Awareness Are The Main Causes Of Diabetes In Papua New Guinea, According To Doctors.

Lynette Kil | Post Courier | July 20, 2017

Lack of proper management of one’s diet and lack of awareness are the main causes of diabetes in Papua New Guinea, according to doctors.This was revealed by secretary of the Diabetic Association in Papua New Guinea, Dr Joyce Sauk during a cheque presentation by the Malaysian charity organization in Port Moresby yesterday (July 19).

“Managing diet in PNG has been a concern and challenge for health workers in the country especially the diabetic foundation,” said Dr Sauk.

She added that not only people in urban centres were diagnosed but also in the rural areas due to the influx of Cash in the areas were mining activities were taking place resulting in change of the diet.

Dr Sauk said a data base system is needed for proper planning in addressing the issue.

“The foundation is currently working on creating one.

“We have been relying on the data provide by World Diabetic foundation five years ago and we need fresh data updated to manage diabetes  in PNG,” said Dr Sauk.

She added that funding is also a problem.

“We are currently relying on donors, as we do not get funding from the health department to implement plans and I thank Malaysian charity organisation for its K20,000 cheque donations to assist the foundation,” said Dr Sauk

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BCL determined not to take no for an answer!

Firm set to intensify community engagement

The National aka The Loggers Times | July 18, 2017

Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) is set to intensify its community engagement activities as part of a comprehensive, staged development plan for a new Panguna mining project.

BCL chairman Rob Burns said a genuine commitment to stakeholder engagement underpinned the development plan and the company was putting in place resources and personnel to step up its on-the-ground activities in Bougainville over the coming months.

“We understand that building trust and widespread support among all relevant parties, as well as the people of Bougainville, is essential if the aim of renewing mining at Panguna is to be realised,” Burns said in a statement on the company’s website.

“By working collaboratively with all groups, we have every confidence that outstanding issues can be resolved and the necessary benchmarks can be met for the project to advance.”

BCL noted recent comments by a third-party company, RTG Mining Inc, that it had been nominated by one of nine landowner associations as a development partner in a Panguna project.

Burns said it was important to stress that BCL’s first right to develop the Panguna tenement was clear and unambiguous under the Bougainville Mining Act 2015.

He also noted RTG’s pledge to “fully respect” this right.

“There can be no doubt that we are committed to exercising our right through the implementation of our development plan, which has the full backing of the Autonomous Bougainville Government and broad endorsement among the landowner associations,” he said.

Burns said it was unfortunate that there was some dispute over the leadership of one of the nine landowner associations and Bougainville Copper Limited was hopeful of a lasting resolution of the issue and would continue to work with landowners.

“We know there are people with different views, but equally, we are encouraged by the levels of support we have received to date and will work hard to further build our relationships,” Burns said.

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Global mining major needed to re-open Bougainville’s Panguna copper mine?

 Kevin McQuillan | Business Advantage | 18 July 2017

Moves to re-open the Panguna copper mine on Bougainville are gathering momentum. Funding the re-opening is a key concern, however, says Bougainville President, John Momis. Could one of the global mining majors get involved?

Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL) is currently advertising for a local Bougainville-based manager, and are looking at the payment of K14 million in rent and compensation that was owed to the 812 customary clan groups who own the blocks of land within the mining lease areas.

Autonomous Bougainville Government President John Momis tells Business Advantage PNG, that over the next year, he expects BCL to open an office and ‘start dealing with some of the legacy issues, demonstrating BCL’s commitment, in a just and fair way, to some of the real issues that have been bothering the land owners.’

That includes, he says, the ecological, environmental, and health damage issues caused by former owner, Rio Tinto.

‘They have walked away, so now BCL has to address that.’

Momis says the Joint Steering Committee preparing for the mine’s re-opening consists of representatives from the nine official landowner groups, BCL, the national government, and the ABG, and is to be chaired by an independent chairman.

Funding

A key challenge is the cost of reopening the mine; back in 2012, BCL estimated it would be US$5 billion.

‘BCL has to demonstrate to us they have ability to solicit funds and attract a developer and I’m sure they are thinking about this,’ says Momis, pointing out that under Bougainville’s 2014 Mining Act, BCL has first right of refusal about re-opening the mine.

‘The Panguna mine is a “high-risk, high-return” investment.’

‘We are giving BCL the opportunity to get funds and to meet the conditions as per the mining law. If they fail, then other companies will have to apply and be put through this process.’

High-risk, high-return

Mining industry analysts describe the Panguna mine as a ‘high-risk, high-return’ investment, which only global miners would be interested in.

Greg Evans, KPMG’s Perth-based Global Leader, Mining Mergers and Acquisitions, believes there will be considerable interest.

‘If you look at what the resource is, and what it can deliver to both an owner and investor—and, probably more importantly, the local economy—it would have to be a definitive “yes”.

‘The copper price is heading in the right direction, the supply metrics are working in the favour of copper broadly and I would expect that BCL are being approached reasonably regularly by a number of metals traders.’

Evans points to growing demand for copper, noting that batteries in electric vehicles are likely to use 927,000 tonnes of copper a year by 2030, according to forecasts by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That alone equates with 5 per cent of current production.

Global

Evans believes a global miner, ‘like Glencore or similar’, is likely to become involved.

‘KPMG just completed a survey around transaction activity across a bunch of sectors. In the mining sector, the preference of the majors was particularly for joint ventures at the asset level.

‘Batteries in electric vehicles are likely to use 927,000 tonnes of copper a year by 2030.’

‘To me, that would be the form that a transaction would likely take. BCL would ensure the social licence to operate, and look after stakeholder management, political and administrative management on the ground, with perhaps a partner coming in providing financial and operational support.

‘So, it is likely to be a large industry player used to dealing in remote locations, eliciting strong local community engagement, and creating local employment as an obligation and priority. All those things are going to be required.’

Risks

Satish Chand, Professor of Finance at the University of New South Wales and based at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra, says risk assessment will be crucial.

‘There has been a history of conflict where a very small number within the population has the ability to stop a very large mine. That risk remains.

‘There is a contest over the distribution of proceeds and that has not yet been settled to my understanding. There is little that is known about the magnitude of the cost involved in the clean up.’

Chand notes that the Bougainville Mining Act says 51 per cent of the mine must be locally-owned. The non-binding referendum on Bougainville’s independence from PNG scheduled for 2019 must also be considered a ‘risk’.

Greg Evans agrees the local shareholding requirement makes the financing prospect ‘more challenging’.

‘The biggest successes that the majors have had in countries such as Africa and South America, have been where they’ve engaged local communities, shared the profits, and shared the benefits. The control over how those profits flow and are allocated is equally the challenge—as it is the solution.

‘You’ve always got to come back to the quality of the resource; which will always make it attractive.’

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Association in standoff with BCL

The National aka The Loggers Times | 14 July, 2017

THE Special Mine Lease Osikaiyang Landowners’ Association of the Panguna mine in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville continues to refuse to engage with the Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL).

Association chairman Philip Miriori said they disagreed with the public statements made by the company recently.

“Interestingly, they also suggested they have every confidence that the outstanding issues can be resolved, and yet, they have never met with the owners of the minerals, the Special Mine Lease Osikaiyang Landowners’ Association, to negotiate and engage in a discussion with regard to their desire to benefit from, and more particularly, develop our minerals,” Miriori said.

“Further, BCL in its public statements places significant reliance on the reference to the other landowner groups. This is misleading because we are the only landowner association that owns the minerals.

“Accordingly, we are the only landowner association that can consent to access for the grant of an exploration licence. Without our consent, nothing will happen.

“We firmly believe all Bougainvilleans must benefit from the Panguna mine this time around. But at this stage, given we own the minerals, our consent is the only critical hurdle. And to date, they continue to ignore our wishes and treat us disrespectfully.”

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Caritas Calls For Halt To Experimental Deep Sea Mining

Caritas Aotearoa | SCOOP | 13 July 2017

“We call for an immediate halt to all deep-sea mining including exploratory testing as this will undermine the ability to achieve sustainable development goal 14” said Julianne Hickey, Director of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, speaking in New York at an event associated with a United Nations High Level Political Forum on the progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

Mrs Hickey expressed deep concerns about the long-term impact on the oceans and marine life arising from experimental Deep Sea Mining.

“Such mining is far from being an established practice around the world. The technology involved is in its infancy and it is not credible to talk about so-called ‘best-practice’ regulatory regimes in the Oceania region. The fact is that many of the countries in which multinational mining corporations are seeking licenses do not have established regulatory scrutiny of such activities.”

“A factor that exacerbates the risks is the huge reliance of communities on the oceans. For example our community partners in Kiribati and the Solomon Islands rely on the oceans and healthy marine ecosystems for their very livelihoods” said Mrs Hickey.

But there was some good news too. Caritas welcomed two specific initiatives towards better care of the oceans and marine resources. In particular Mrs Hickey highlighted the development of special Marine Protection Areas in Tonga.

“The development of Marine Protection Areas at Felemea in the Ha’apai Islands of Tonga signals a very welcome approach to sustainable use practices in the region” said Mrs Hickey.

“We also acknowledge and welcome the move by the New Zealand government to ban plastic microbeads which have been shown to be harmful to waterways, fish and shellfish” said Mrs Hickey.

Mrs Hickey was speaking in New York this morning (NZ time) to an event associated with a United Nations High Level Political Forum on the progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals. The specific goal on which Mrs Hickey presented was Goal 14: conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources – with regard to the Oceania region.

Mrs Hickey is representing Caritas Oceania in order to ensure that the voices of Pacific peoples are heard on the world stage. Caritas works closely with partner organisations around the Pacific region – including Samoa, Kiribati, Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.

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Downturn in exploration affects jobs [oh, and our profits too!]

Nice bit of spin from the mining industry – all they care about is their own PROFITS not jobs for local people!

The great news is the people in the picture still have jobs living on and farming their own land. What the foreign mining execs are really worried about is losing their own jobs!

The truth is the foreign mining companies depend on PNG, but PNG does NOT need to depend on them. Sustainable development in PNG should be about agriculture, tourism and small manufacturing NOT big destructive mines!

Loop PNG | 11 July, 2017

A significant downturn in mineral exploration has resulted in loss of jobs and business opportunities in the country.

In its bi-monthly issue, the PNG Chamber of Mining and Petroleum highlighted the drop in exploration investment, which has the potential to severely impact the country’s mining sector.

In a survey conducted by the Chamber, covering the period between 2012 and 2015, mineral exploration expenditure dropped from a peak of K944.3 million in 2011 to K325.5 million in 2015.

This followed a near decade of high activity from 2003 to 2011.

The Chamber adds despite feasibility studies for the Frieda River and increased exploration expenditure in 2015 for the Wafi-Golpu Project, the overall expenditure was still well below 2013 levels.

The downturn has already affected many rural Papua New Guineans through the loss of direct employment and potential new business opportunities, while businesses and suppliers have also lost much-needed income as a result of many junior exploration companies ceasing their operations.

During the Chamber’s annual general meeting, president Gerea Aopi said this concern is exacerbated by the proposed changes to the mining act.

“We have to make every endeavour to ensure that this downward trend does not continue, although we have little or no control over the global commodity price market,” Aopi said.

“What PNG can control is the fiscal and legal frameworks that directly impact this sector. Our aim must be to ensure PNG can continue to grow existing projects and also foster an environment conducive to attract new investments.”

Aopi further added that the lodgment of Special Mining Lease applications for Frieda River and Wafi Golpu projects last year is an indication of why PNG must maintain its investment attractiveness.

“These projects are very important to the PNG economy as existing mines like Ok Tedi, Porgera and Lihir are in mature stages.

“Both projects, when developed, will have positive economic impact for PNG and together with the operating mines, could place PNG as one of the top copper and gold producers in the world,” he said.

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