Tag Archives: MCC

Ramu mine faces huge deficit

Post Courier | April 04, 2017

THE Ramu nickel-cobalt project in Madang is facing a huge deficit balance accounting to more than K100 million despite achieving 100 per cent design capacity beginning this year.

The deficits are due to the declining commodity prices and serious April 2016 fatality at Basamuk refinery forcing the project to shut down indefinitely at the time incurring huge production losses.

Vice President of Ramu NiCo, Zhao Deqian announced this during the monthly KBK elders’ project update meeting in KBK on Saturday. Mr Zhao was accompanied by Executive Deputy General Manager KBK Mine Li Bentao and Deputy General Manager Commercial KBK Mine Liu Tianhua.

“We have achieved milestone production reaching 109 percent design capacity but at the time when nickel price is at US$13,000/ton low and production loss during Basamuk April 2016 incident costing hundreds of millions of Kina deficit.

“We are still recovering from production loss but capable to sustain ourselves given the current production stability,” Mr Zhao said.

He said the project operation cost can sustain itself from little money made including salary for employees and the deliverance of Project MOA commitments.

“We are now emphasising on safety issues and taking strict control on safety standards on site so we do not repeat the same Basamuk April 2016 incident. We cannot afford another production loss,” Mr Zhao said.

He said the company has identified some priority areas to cut down costs including the reduction of Chinese employees and increase of national employees through localisation programs.

“Our aim now is to make profit, deliver benefits to landowners and ensure high safety standards,” he said.

The Vice President acknowledges the landowners for their support and asked for their continuous support for the Project until it clears off the deficit balance.

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Government to pay Ramu mine landholders

After nine years of operation, the stakeholders have not seen the benefits

Tax holidays mean the Chinese are still digging for free at the Ramu mine

Why is the government having to pay out K20 million when it receives no revenues from the Chinese owned Ramu mine? Isn’t the point of these large-scale resource extraction projects that they contribute to government revenues – not add another drain on taxpayers money? 

Ramu Nickel/Cobalt project LOs to get K10m in Business Development Grants

Post Courier | February 13, 2017

THE impacted landowners of the Ramu Nickel/Cobalt project in Madang have welcomed the announcement by Government that it will pay the balance of K10 million owed to them.

This is in Business Development Grants (BDG).

‘The assurance was given by Mining Minister Byron Chan after Usino/Bundi MP Anton Yagama had raised the issue on the floor of parliament.

Chairman of Kurumbukari landowners association Tobby Bare, in welcoming the announcement said the initial commitment of K20 million had been made by the former Somare Government.

However, this commitment had been honoured by the O’Neill Government, with the first K10 million being paid.

Mr Bare said the landowners were grateful to the O’Neill Government and had urged that the balance be paid before the 2017 General Elections.

He said given the downturn in the PNG economy, the landowners had great difficulties in securing business opportunities and added that the funds would provide some relief.

“While other landowner companies in other project area have been able to progress, we have been struggling,” Mr Bare said.

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MCC to build $4bn Sepik industrial park

Chinese owned MCC love to describe the Ramu mine as world class...

MCC have struggled to build a simple pipeline in Madang, can they really build an industrial park in the Sepik?

Chinese investors set to build $4bn industrial park in Papua New Guinea jungle

Global Construction Review | 3 February 2017

China has agreed to build a vast industrial complex in a jungle region of Papua New Guinea (PNG) with factories processing tropical foods and minerals.

A memorandum of understanding was signed in December between a group of investors from the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen and the government of PNG, a small South Pacific country that shares the island of New Guinea with Indonesia, just north of Australia.

Patrick Pruaitch, the country’s treasury minister, told Reuters that the plan was to build two processing and manufacturing plants in West Sepik province, a dense jungle region in the north of the country about 30km from the Indonesian border.

One will process timber, fish, cassava and tropical spices and the other will handle steel, cement and other industrial products.

The projects are to be developed in phases at a final cost of $3.8bn. The government of PNG said it hoped construction would start in 2017, but the plans were “very long term”.

The main contractor for the parks is expected to be the Metallurgical Corporation of China, which was responsible for the main Chinese investment in the country to date, a $2bn nickel mine completed in 2012.

The PNG projects fall under the heading of China’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy, which is being extended from the classical Silk Road to Europe to include the 16th-century “Silver Road” to America, developed by the Spanish navigator Andres de Urdaneta.

According to Reuters, investors from the Chinese coastal province of Fujian are close to signing a deal to build a huge industrial centre that will turn PNG’s lumber into furniture.

The nominal GDP of PNG in 2016 was around $19bn, so the size of these Chinese investments are enormous relative to the country’s economy.

Other Chinese developments on the horizon in West Sepik are a copper and gold mine – mining company PanAust has completed a feasibility study and launched an application to begin work – and a dam to provide hydro power for these new sites and provide a disposal site for the mine’s tailings.

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Chinese Ramu mine owes landowners K10 million

Ramu landowners will get royalties, assures Chan

Chinese mining company MCC is yet to pay any royalties despite 5-years of operations

Ramu LOs will get royalties, assures Chan

Cedric Patjole | Loop PNG | January 28, 2017

Chan made the assurance in Parliament on Friday when asked by Usino-Bundi MP, Anton Yagama.

Yagama said since the project began, tons in mineral exports have left their shores at Basamuk, however, to this date there has been no royalty.

He also queried when the outstanding K10 million would be paid to the landowners.

Chan said the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) and project developers, Metallurgical Company of China (MCC), had recently agreed to pay landowners royalties.

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Ramu nickel mine still to achieve full output and deliver tangible benefits

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MCC vice president Wang Baowen meets local supporters

RamuNico thanks LOs for support

Post Courier | December 28, 2016

PREVAILING low world prices on nickel, cost reduction and production issues were matters that the developers of the Ramu mine in Madang had to contend with in 2017. The environment would have been made even tougher, had it not been for the support of the landowners of the four impact areas of the country’s lone nickel and cobalt mine. This was acknowledged and the landowners thanked, at a Christmas party its Community Affairs Department hosted for them in Madang last Wednesday.

In attendance was the miner’s vice president Wang Baowen.

“Despite these financial deficits, we have overcome most of the technical problems with improved management system, and today our product output has improved with low operational costs.

“We hope that the nickel price improves soon, so we can earn some profits and deliver to our project partners.

“Social security, including landowners’ expectations on employment and business opportunities are major challenges as well. This happens everywhere and our project is no exception. We fully understand the expectation of our landowners,” Mr Baowen said.

Peter Tai, chairman of Maigari who spoke on behalf of his three colleagues Tobby Bare (Kurumbukari Mine), Sama Melambo(Basamuk Refinery) and  Jeffrey Kinang (Coastal Pipeline), thanked the company for its support and continued operation in-spite of the economic challenges. Mr Tai, while vowing their continued support, had also cited some outstanding issues and urged both the government and the developer to ensure a resolve.

Chairman of RamuNiCo umbrella company, Raibus Limited, Steven Saud representing all project landowner companies acknowledged that 2016 has been a tough year for RamuNiCo and landowner businesses due to the global economic situation affecting all PNG companies. He thanked the company for not quitting.

General manager of Community Affairs, Martin Paining said RamuNiCo project is unique in PNG and urged the landowners to support it until the economic climate is healthy so all parties can benefit.

“So we have a situation and environment to understand each other well and work for common benefit,” Mr Paining said.

Meanwhile, the vice president said:

“RamuNiCo management endeavours to bring the project operation to successful production design capacity of 100 per cent soon and deliver tangible benefits to all our partners including you all here today.”

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Tibetans in anguish as Chinese mines pollute their sacred grasslands

Landscape along the road from Xining to Yushu in Qinghai province. (Giulia Marchi/For The Washington Post)

Landscape along the road from Xining to Yushu in Qinghai province. (Giulia Marchi/For The Washington Post)

With the Chinese expanding their mining interests in Papua New Guinea, is the pollution and desecration being suffered in Tibet a foretaste of the anguish to come in PNG? 

Simon Denyer | Washington Post | December 26 2016

High in western China’s Sichuan province, in the shadow of holy mountains, the Liqi River flows through a lush, grassy valley dotted with grazing yaks, small Tibetan villages and a Buddhist temple. But there’s ­poison here.

A large lithium mine not only desecrates the sacred grasslands, villagers say, but spawns deadly pollution. The river used to be full of fish. Today, there are hardly any. Hundreds of yaks, the villagers say, have died in the past few years after drinking river water.

China’s thirst for mineral ­resources — and its desire to exploit the rich deposits under the Tibetan plateau — have spread ­environmental pollution and ­anguish for many of the herders whose ancestors lived here for thousands of years.

The land they worship is under assault, and their way of life is threatened without their consent, the herders say.

“Old people, we see the mines and we cry,” a 67-year-old yak herder said, requesting anonymity for fear of retribution. “What are the future generations going to do? How are they going to survive?”

A local environmentalist, who also declined to be named to avoid backlash from the authorities, said he had done an oral survey of local opinion and found that Tibetans would oppose mining projects even if companies promised to share profits with local communities, to fill in mines after they were exhausted, and to return sites to their natural state.

“God is in the mountains and the rivers, these are the places that spirits live,” he said. “When mining comes and the grassland is dug up, people believe worse disasters will come. It destroys the mountain god.”

Salt deposits at the Jiajika lithium mine in Tagong township in China’s western Sichuan province, seen in August. Local herders have protested at least twice against the mine, saying it has polluted the Liqi River and killed fish and yaks downstream. (Simon Denyer/The Washington Post)

Salt deposits at the Jiajika lithium mine in Tagong township in China’s western Sichuan province, seen in August. Local herders have protested at least twice against the mine, saying it has polluted the Liqi River and killed fish and yaks downstream. (Simon Denyer/The Washington Post)

‘We just knew they had lied’

It was in 2009 that toxic chemicals from the Ganzizhou Rongda Lithium mine first leaked into the river, locals say, killing their livestock and poisoning the fish.

“The whole river stank, and it was full of dead yaks and dead fish,” said one man downstream in the village of Balang, who declined to be named for fear of retribution. Another pollution outbreak and a protest by villagers in 2013 forced the government to order production temporarily stopped, locals said.

“Then ... officials came to the village to try to persuade people,” the man said. “They said we have to have the mine but promised they would take time to fix the pollution problem before reopening it.”

But in April, just after mining restarted, fish began dying again, ­locals said. “That’s when we just knew they had lied,” the man said.

In May, residents staged a second protest, scattering dead fish on a road in the nearby town of Tagong. The protesters were surrounded by dozens of baton-wielding riot police. Again the government stepped in, issuing a statement to “solemnly” promise that the plant would not reopen until the “environmental issues” were solved.

But the problem at the Jiajika mine is not an isolated one. Across Tibetan parts of China, protests regularly erupt against mineral extraction, according to a 2015 report by Tibet Watch.

tibet-image

China is focused on copper and gold extraction from Tibet but is also exploiting a whole range of minerals “with increasing intensity,” including chromium, iron, lithium, iron, mercury, uranium and zinc — as well as fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, the report said.

Although China boasts of its ­development work in western ­regions where Tibetans live — hauling millions out of poverty and nearly doubling life expectancy over the past five decades — the report argued that much of the transport and other infrastructure in the region is aimed at extracting minerals rather than benefiting residents. Projects usually import workers from other parts of China, seldom employing Tibetans in significant numbers.

When protests break out, ­China’s response “has generally been heavy-handed,” with authorities seeking to politicize the protests, Tibet Watch wrote.

Understanding those risks, ­Tibetan communities sometimes use creative ways to get their message across.

When hundreds of people gathered in August 2013 in Zadoi county in Qinghai province to protest against mining on what they considered to be a holy mountain, they flew Chinese flags to demonstrate their loyalty to the state and erected posters and placards quoting President Xi Jinping’s words on the need to balance economic growth and environmental protection.

It didn’t help. Police and paramilitary forces arrived in large numbers and fired bullets above the crowd, according to campaigners at Free Tibet. The group said eight people were arrested and many more injured.

A camp at a lead and zinc mine in the high-altitude village of Xingniangda in the southern part of Qinghai province. Only Han Chinese work there. (Giulia Marchi/For The Washington Post)

A camp at a lead and zinc mine in the high-altitude village of Xingniangda in the southern part of Qinghai province. Only Han Chinese work there. (Giulia Marchi/For The Washington Post)

In the villages outside Xiaosumang township in Qinghai, residents blame a lead and zinc mine for the deterioration of the grasslands for miles around, and even for falling harvests of caterpillar fungus, a highly prized health cure that is the backbone of the local economy.

Contaminated water from the mine, residents said in a joint letter to the authorities in 2010, not only killed their livestock but also caused people who drank it to die of cancer, they said.

“Over the years, many herders would sigh and say: ‘Life can’t go on like this anymore. Even drinking has become a big issue for people living on the grasslands,’” the letter said.

A May 2009 protest in the village of Xizha prompted a severe crackdown, the letter said, with guns and tear gas used, seven women severely beaten, and 12 men blindfolded, detained and tortured.

Authorities threatened to cancel poverty-alleviation grants, including income and housing subsidies, if anyone in the region brought up the issue of environmental protection again, the letter said, adding that the crackdown “caused great fear to spread in our hearts.”

Whether the mine is truly the culprit for all the grasslands’ ills is another matter — climate change, for example, is probably an important factor. But that doesn’t soothe local anger.

“When I was young, there was more grass, more flowers, it was really beautiful here,” said a 27-year-old man in a valley downstream from the lead and zinc mine. “Now you see it’s less beautiful every year. People see all this and they are not really sure what happened, so they think it must be the mine.”

A woman washes clothes near the Jiajika lithium mine in Tagong township in China’s western Sichuan province. Local say the mine has polluted the Liqi River and killed fish and yaks. (Simon Denyer/The Washington Post)

A woman washes clothes near the Jiajika lithium mine in Tagong township in China’s western Sichuan province. Local say the mine has polluted the Liqi River and killed fish and yaks. (Simon Denyer/The Washington Post)

A conflict without end

In Jiajika, 300 miles to the southeast, the commercial pressure to reopen the lithium mine is mounting. The element is a vital component in rechargeable batteries used in cars, smartphones, laptops and other electronic and electrical items. Demand — and prices — are skyrocketing.

Last January, Youngy Co. Ltd., the parent company of Ganzizhou Rongda Lithium, promised investors that the local government would step up efforts to reopen the mine in March.

That same month, an article in the local Ganzi Daily newspaper outlined the authorities’ dream of making the area “China’s lithium capital,” calling Jiajika the biggest lithium mine in the world with proven reserves of 1.89 million metric tons and even greater ­potential. Three companies, including Rongda, will invest 3.4 billion yuan ($510 million) in the site by 2020, the article said.

He Chengkun, Youngy’s media officer, said an official investigation had established that the plant was not responsible for killing fish in 2013 or this year.

“The local government has made it clear it is nothing to do with our company,” he said. “They are looking into it and have already zoomed in on some suspects.”

He said the plant has been closed since late 2013 because of problems relating to land acquisition and denied that it had restarted operations in April, as locals claimed.

Nevertheless, across the Tibetan plateau, resource extraction, land grabs and environmental destruction remain flash points for conflict between Tibetans and the authorities, said Free Tibet Director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren, reflecting both local grievances and the wider problem that Tibetans do not have the right to decide what happens to Tibet and its resources.

“Those resources feed the demands of Chinese industry instead of the needs of the Tibetan people,” she said. “That is why their environment is put at risk and their rights are trampled upon, and why we can expect to see this conflict played out repeatedly in the future.”

Xu Yanjingjing contributed to this report.

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MCC admits landholders have not benefited from Ramu mine

After nine years of operation, the stakeholders have not seen the benefits

After nine years of operation, the stakeholders have not seen benefits from the Ramu mine says Chinese mining company MCC…

Post Couruer | November 18, 2016

RAMU Nickel developer Ramu NiCo has expressed concern that since the project inception in 2006, the landowners were off-loaded numerous business opportunities.

But these had not prospered due to lack of competent management acumen.

“The business development opportunities that have been given to landowners will need to be properly managed to ensure stakeholders benefit from these opportunities.

“Unfortunately, after nine years of operation, the stakeholders have not seen the benefits of their investment and this is a very serious concern for us,” Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) said in a statement.

It was responding a threat by landowner groups to close down the mine over failure by the Government to honour commitments to development assistance, including a K10 million grants.

MCC also said the royalty payment would be made soon while the K10 million business grant was a political commitment and outside of the company’s responsibility.

Mineral Resources Authority managing director Philip Samar warned the landowners not to unnecessarily disturb the Projects’ normal operation as this would be illegal under the Mining Act 1992 and perpetrators can be seriously punished.

Under the Ramu NiCo Project MOA, all parties including the four landowner chairmen, Ramu NiCo, the State and other stakeholders must resolve any disputes and misunderstanding amicably and not to take actions that would impact the normal operation of the Project.

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