Tag Archives: Lihir gold mine

Lihir numbers not so impressive in the breakdown


All Lihir’s gold has only delivered the equivalent of K2.67 per week for each New Irelander

Newcrest Mining has been proudly boosting [see below] about the royalty payments it has made from its Lihir mine in New Ireland. At first glance the numbers seems impressive, over K500 million paid out to the Provincial and local governments and landowners. Some may rightly ask where all that money has gone, as services and infrastructure in New Ireland are no better than in any other Province in PNG. But dig a bit deeper and Newcrest’s numbers don’t seem quite so impressive.

The royalty payments are a cumulative total after nineteen years of mining, break that K529 million down over 19 years and the annual figure is less than K28 million.

If that K28 million was shared equally among all the 200,000 people living in New Ireland, each would receive just K140.

So, the returns to New Ireland from 19 years of mining, K529 million, represents the equivalent of just K2.67 per person per week!

K2.67 per week from the production of over 9 million ounces of gold worth, at todays price, US$ 12,600 million (or K 40,000 million).

YES the gold taken from Lihir is today worth K40,000,000,000!

Lihir mine pays out royalty payment
Source: The National,aka The Loggers Times, Friday July 1st, 2016
THE Lihir Gold Limited had made royalty payments of K529,251,440 million to recognised parties in the past 19 years [an average of about K28 million each year].
It released a royalty payments update from 1997 to 2016 showing how much each party had received since 1997.
New Ireland provincial government received K264,625,720 million [K14 million per year] and the Nimamar local level government received K158,775,431 million [K8 million per year].
The special mining lease block owners  received K105,850,289 million [K5.5 million a year].
Lihir Gold Limited general manager Craig Jetson said royalty distribution from the Lihir gold mine was different from other mining operations in PNG.
This is because of an agreement by the State. A series of memorandums between the Government and the NI provincial government, LLG and Lihir Mining Area Landowners Association (LMALA), diverted all of the State’s entitlement to royalties to New Ireland.
He said the distribution were 50 per cent to the provincial government, 30 per cent to the LLG and 20 per cent to SML block owners.“For NIPG and NLLG, 100 per cent of their respective royalty portions is paid directly into their nominated bank accounts every month. “For the block owners, 5 per cent tax is deducted and paid to the Government and 20 per cent is paid as a savings component.”,” he said.


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PNG a global hot spot for toxic tailings dumping



In some parts of the world, mining companies directly dump this mine waste into rivers, lakes and oceans. In fact, mining companies are dumping more than 180 million tonnes of hazardous mine waste each year into the world’s waterways, threatening vital bodies of water with toxic heavy metals and other chemicals poisonous to humans and wildlife.

This Tailings Infographic [pdf file] shows the extent of the problem.


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Lihir Mine yet to confirm cause of tidal surges


The National aka The Loggers Times | June 2nd, 2016

OPERATOR of the Lihir gold mine in New Ireland, Lihir Gold Limited, says it is yet to confirm the cause of a tidal surge on May 12.
Villagers at Londolovit where the mine gets its water from had blamed continuous waste rock dumping at sea floor and dynamite blasting at the mine.
Londolovit Sagomana Association Inc chairlady Roselyn Arau said Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari had been informed about “on-going man-made disasters” occurring along the coastline of Lihir island. 
She said Londolovit village had become a victim of these “man-made” disasters. On May 12, a sudden tidal surge struck at 11am causing millions of kina worth of damage to properties. 
No lives were lost.  
Arau said people fled for their lives leaving Londolovit (Lihir) town deserted.
She said it was the sixth time tidal waves had struck their village.
Arau said in a letter to Lupari dated May 23 the association demanded:

  • Payment for the May 12 damage;
  • Intervention by the national disaster and emergency office by instigating a scientific study into the cause of these waves; and 
  • LGL to claim liability. 

General manager Craig Jetson said the company was working with the Nimamar local level government and stakeholders to investigate what caused it. 
“For example, there have been reports of the tidal surge being experienced in the Namatanai area which if confirmed indicates that it may not have been a localised event 
“As there are a wide range of potential factors involved, the investigation should be thorough.” 


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Chan pushes Lihir peace talks

A gorgor, made from the twisted leaves of a ginger plant

A gorgor, made from the twisted leaves of a ginger plant, at the Lihir mine site

Francis Uliau | The National aka The Loggers Times | May 9, 2016
THE State, through the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA), continued the peace process between major stakeholders in the Lihir gold project in Namatanai, New Ireland, on Friday.
“Mining Minister Byron Chan and New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan both attended with a big delegation including MRA officials from head office in Port Moresby,” Lihir Mining Area Landowners Association (LMALA) chairman James Laketan told The National on Friday.
MRA Lihir project coordinator Vincent Kisso could not be contacted to provide background reports on the event.
Questions over MRA’s (and the State’s) stance on issues and laws governing gorgor placements also remained outstanding.
Friday’s ceremony was a follow-up to the spiritual and traditional reconciliations held in Kavieng and on Lihir Island in February and March.
Minister Chan, who attended the March 5 traditional reconciliation ceremony between the Nimamar LLG and LMALA spoke highly of the peace process and assured all parties, including local landowners and developer Newcrest Mining Limited that the National Government fully endorsed the current way forward.
He assured the project proponents that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and all Cabinet ministers had recognised and endorsed the reconciliation ceremonies.
Governor Sir Julius did not attend the March 5 traditional ceremony because he was then overseas for a minor surgery. However, he was on the island on Friday.
Laketan said part three of the reconciliation process on Friday would allow for outstanding benefits and commitments in the Lihir memorandum of agreement (MOA) and integrated benefits package (IBP) to be honoured.
“Mining activities on Lihir are ongoing and all project proponents must also step up on our activities.
“The Lihir Agreements Review (LAR) process is long overdue. Now is the time to sit down with the State, through MRA, and developer Newcrest and fast-track all prerequisites to the IBP,” Laketan said.
“The Lihirian people have suffered enough.
“Years of infighting have created instability and suffering for our people.”
A review of the IBP had been outstanding since 2007.
LMALA general manager Joachim Malele said the ongoing conflict had affected the implementation of projects and programmes under the Lihir Sustainable Development Plan (LSDP).
Malele, who was general manager LSDP until his elevation to head LMALA in late March, said there was a major need to progress all chapters of LSDP through the State, landowner association and the local, district and provincial governments.
Meanwhile, describing LAR, MOA and IBP processes as “taking too long”, Minister Chan said MRA and Newcrest Mining must release all outstanding commitments, including grants and benefits, to the Lihir people and their local, district and provincial governments.
“Put aside your differences and progress discussions to obtain and deliver what rightfully belongs to the people,” the minister said.

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Lihir plans to optimise mine operations


The National | May 2nd, 2016

 LIHIR gold mine in New Ireland has a potential mine life of more than 30 years based on current gold reserves, mine general manager Craig Jetson says.
He told a recent stakeholders meeting that an optimisation plan known as the “Lihir Pit Optimisation Plan” would set the pace of the mine’s operations into the future.   
An explanatory note from Lihir owner Newcrest to The National said the optimisation plan was being undertaken to optimise the integrated life of mine plan for Lihir, including seepage barrier options.  
“It is effectively looking at different mine sequencing and ore scheduling options, the most appropriate mining methods and civil engineering options to help Newcrest decide the best way to expand Lihir’s open pit and access additional ore sources,” the company said. 
“One of the key challenges is how to stop the water in Luis Harbour from entering the open pit as the expanded pit gets closer to the harbour edge, hence the references to a seepage barrier.”  
The project had been completed to prefeasibility study stage and in February this year, Newcrest approved the project to progress to feasibility study stage. Highlights from prefeasibility study included:

  • Forecast reduction in estimated capital expenditure requirement for the seepage barrier to US$215 million (K673 million), compared to the US$1.29 billion (K4.04 billion) in 2013 prefeasibility study which included a cofferdam;
  • lateral mine sequence development affirmed; and,
  • near shore cut-off wall and harbour infill replacing previously proposed cofferdam.

As part of the feasibility study, Newcrest would work with all relevant government agencies and communities to identify any approvals and consents necessary to implement the proposed mine plan.
Craig revealed expansion plans to build an inner harbour wall that is expected to start late this year at an estimated cost of K1 – K1.5 billion. 
He said completion of the project would set up mining for next 30 years.
“That’s a bright future for the Lihirian people and Papua New Guinea,” he said.  
“It is great to work with an asset of much inherent value such as Lihir.”

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Ceremony marks end to Lihir mine conflict


Post Courier | March 14 2016

A RECONCILIATION ceremony marked the end of a six-year conflict over the ownership and benefits from the Lihir Gold Mine in New Ireland Province.

The ceremony marked an understanding that was signed in Kavieng by Governor Sir Julius Chan, Nimamar Local Level Government president Ambrose Silul and LMALA chairman James Laketan in March 2015 to work together for the best interest of the people of Lihir and New Ireland.

The reconciliation process concluded that there would be two parts to the peace process: the first being the spiritual reconciliation held on February 26-27.

The second part was performed on Lihir Island at Potzlaka, a Government station on March 5. A provincial Government delegation led by chairman sports and youth representative Engelberth Lutham attended the reconciliation ceremony at Potzlaka. Mr Lutham congratulated the leaders of Lihir, especially the LMALA chairman James Laketan and Nimamar president Ambrose Silul for their initiative, dedication and commitment through hard work towards the preparation of the successful event.

“Working together, there is nothing we cannot do,” Mr Lutham.

The reconciliation process paves the way forward for the six-year conflict over the ownership and benefits of Lihir sustainable development plan as stipulated in their integrated benefits package 2 signed in 2007. The six clans and 15 wards, with all the leaders of Lihir Island stood together to express great satisfaction as a result of the successful ceremony after suffering from past years’ difference over the benefits from Lihir gold mine.

Governor Sir Julis Chan, who was overseas and could not attend, said this was a significant event not experienced elsewhere in the country.

“Once again, New Ireland has shown the way to a peaceful and lasting settlement of disputes,” he said.

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Why Is Mine Waste Being Dumped Directly Into the Ocean?

“Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Norway lead the way using DSTP at their mines”

The Los Pelambres Mine in Chile proposes to dump wastes into the ocean.

The Los Pelambres Mine in Chile proposes to dump wastes into the ocean.

Terry Odendahl, Roy Young and Gary Wockner** | Eco Watch | March 4, 2016 

Picture a 4-foot diameter pipe running into the ocean filling the offshore canyons at a rate of 160,000 tons per day. The pipe runs from an enormous gold and copper mine directly into the Indian Ocean. The pipe is filled with mine “tailings”—a toxic sludge of heavy metals, rock and coagulants mixed in with the pulverized mine wastes that spreads and covers the seabed dramatically impacting plant and animal life and polluting the surrounding water. That is the Deep Submarined Tailings Disposal (DSTP) system at Newmont Mining’s Batu Hijau copper and gold mine in Indonesia.

Although Batu Hijau is the biggest mine that is using DSTP, at least 16 mines in eight countries are also using DSTP, with others to follow. Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Norway lead the way using DSTP at their mines. In Chile, mines in the mountains north and east of Santiago are proposing to run pipes 50-100 kilometers so they can dump into the canyons of the Pacific Ocean off of the Chilean coast. The enormous Los Pelambres Copper Mine in Chile proposes to use DSTP in the future, discharging its wastes directly into the ocean.

The 4-foot diameter pipe dumping mining wastes into the ocean at Batu Hijau mine in Indonesia.

The 4-foot diameter pipe dumping mining wastes into the ocean at Batu Hijau mine in Indonesia.

While you might think this mining disposal would be limited to the unregulated developing world, Norway actually leads with the most mines using this polluting disposal system. The mining wastes are dumped into Norway’s pristine fjords, filling much of those fjords over time. One such mine has prompted a backlash by Norwegians who, working with Friends of the Earth International, have started the Save The Fjords campaign.

As stated on their website, “In April 2015, the Norwegian government gave its final permission for an open-pit mine in a mountain called Engebo. The mine will dump more than 250 million tons of chemicals and waste into the pristine Forde fjord.”

The Forde Fjord in Norway would be partially filled with mining wastes.

The Forde Fjord in Norway would be partially filled with mining wastes.

The Norwegian proposal sparked the “biggest civil disobedience actions in newer Norwegian history” where hundreds of people protested and 80 people were arrested blocking the mining action and trying to save the fjord. Through Global Greengrants Fund, a grant has been given to Friends of the Earth International to help inform Norwegians about the Engbo mine and its ocean disposal.

wegian protestors rally against filling their fjords with mining wastes.

Norwegian protestors rally against filling their fjords with mining wastes.

It could make sense in some cases to dispose of mining wastes in the ocean, but only if those wastes were non-reactive and only if the toxic heavy metals in the wastes are removed. In addition, if ocean disposal does take place, it should be closely monitored and regulated and it should only happen where local people are not dependent on the marine environment for food. Proposals to use DSTP along the coastline of Chile threaten the Humbolt Current System (HCS) which sustainably produces almost 20 percent of the annual harvest of fish biomass. The HCS is the most productive marine ecosystem on the planet. Just four mines would dump one million tons of mine waste into the HCS every day, one gigaton every three years.

Over the last 25 years, international regulatory bodies including the 1996 London Convention and Protocol by the International Maritime Organization and the 1992 Oslo Paris Convention have attempted to set minor regulations for DSTP, but those standards are mostly being ignored.

In the very few places where monitoring has occurred, studies have measured dramatic decreases in the amount of benthic meiofauma (animals less than I millimeter long) as well as all forms of benthic macrofauna (larger than 1 millimeter), which, along with phytoplankton, form the basis of the food chain in marine environments. Almost no research has occurred about the consequences of dumping 100’s of millions of tons of mine wastes at current DSTP sites. This phenomenally destructive pollution is virtually unregulated across the planet’s marine environments.

** Terry Odendahl, PhD, is president and CEO of Global Greengrants Fund. Roy Young is the former executive director of Global Greengrants Fund and founder of Nature’s Own. Gary Wockner, PhD, is an environmental activist, writer and consultant to Global Greengrants Fund.


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