Tag Archives: Mineral Resource Authority

Samar Exits MRA

Post Courier | April 17, 2018

Mineral Resources Authority’s (MRA) managing director (MD) Philip Samar’s term in office has expired since April 9.
Mr Samar served as the managing director for four years since his permanent appointment as MD from 2014-2017.
He was appointed acting MD for the MRA in 2012, a post he held until 2014 when he was made permanent.
The outgoing managing director also took the opportunity to thank the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and the government for the opportunity given to lead the MRA in the last six years since 2012.
Mr Samar thanked the Prime Minister for his confidence in appointing him to be head of the statutory authority responsible for regulating the exploration and mining sector in PNG. The last six years have been the highlight of his career over the last 21 years as a public servant.
“I am privileged to serve the government, the people of Papua New Guinea especially the mining project stakeholders and the exploration and mining industry.
“I am satisfied I have done my part in nation building through managing the MRA and servicing the mining industry. Since the MRA’s establishment in 2007, the statutory authority has performed well in regulating and promoting Papua New Guinea’s mineral sector,” he said.
Mr Samar said for the last 10 years, the mining industry has been the single largest contributor of revenue to the national purse contributing over 60 percent of revenue annually.
“This makes the sector important and the government must continue to support the sector by creating a conducive environment where the industry is allowed to operate sustainably, safely, profitably and responsibly,” Mr Samar said.
He said the government must realise the expected benefits to be derived from these projects such as employment, taxes, duties, royalties, dividends, compensation, training and business spinoffs.
As outgoing MD, Mr Samar said there was still room for more improvements and urged the government to consider to:
– Support the MRAs ongoing regulatory roles by strengthening its governance, independence and resourcing.
– Revise the proposed amendments to the Mining Act to capture additional practical administrative improvements.
– Review and revise the Mining Safety Act 1977.
– Strengthen the regulation of the small scale mining alluvial gold sector.
– Improve training, create awareness and provide capital and appropriate technology to the alluvial miners around the country.
– Change the current benefits sharing arrangements via MOAs to a more project delivery model.
– Review and revise the government’s equity participation in major mining projects.
– Better organise itself to optimise its participation in the Wafi and Frieda copper projects.

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Tuke Praised For Alluvial Mining Plans

Post Courier | March 12, 2018

PLANS to reserve alluvial mining for locals has attracted praise from local landowner companies across the country.

Minister for Mining Johnson Tuke said he wants to enable locals to build up wealth and capital to prosper in the next stages of the mining-especially in the mineral rich areas.

An aspiring umbrella landowner company, Tundaka PNG Limited of Mt Tundaka exploration licence area, applauded the move.

The new prospect is located in Enga’s Kandep district along the border with Magarima in Hela.

“As the chairman of the umbrella company, I congratulate Mr Tuke and support this initiative to empower landowners to the landowners to venture into such lucrative businesses on extractive industries,” chairman Pokya Pea said.

He said to break the barrier of landowners being the collectors of royalties only and spectators in their own resource developments is the step in the right direction.

“We can’t be bystanders for foreigners to extract our valuable resources and giving us 2.5 per cent only as equity share especially in the extractive industries.

“The proposal, when established, will strengthen our economy through setting up our bullion bank and financially empowered,” he said.

Mr Pea called on the government to amalgamate the Mineral Resource Authority and the Department of Geo-hazards Management to bring about new extractive projects as well as to build the capital wealth of people.

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NGO fights mining plan on seabed

Image: Alliance of Solwara Warriors

Lemach Lavari | The National aka The Loggers Times | February 27, 2018

The Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) has received an objection by a non-governmental organisation representing impacted communities of the seabed mining project.
The Alliance of Solwara Warriors represents impacted communities from New Ireland, East New Britain, Madang, Manus and Milne Bay.
Spokesman Jonathan Mesulam told The National the group had lodged its objection against exploration licence 1196 (EL1196) in the waters off west coast Namatanai, New Ireland, and the Duke of York Islands, East New Britain.
Mesulam said MRA had received their objection.
He said MRA would conduct a stakeholder meeting for all parties to discuss their views.
These included Nautilus Minerals, Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (Cepa) and National Fisheries Authority (NFA), Mesulam said.
According to MRA, exploration licences are to be renewed every two years.
Any stakeholder can protest against the issuing of an exploration licence.

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App brings alluvial miners, buyers closer

The National aka The Loggers Times | February 26, 2018

ALLUVIAL miners throughout the country will now be able to trade directly with buyers all over the world through a mobile phone application.
The Mintrad app was launched in Alotau, Milne Bay, on Thursday during the Alluvial and Small Scale Mining Convention 2018.
It is an initiative of the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) and is a platform for facilitating trading of alluvial gold.
Miners will be able to communicate with buyers, negotiate prices based on world market prices and get the best maximum selling prices.
It is about making trade easily accessible to simple rural miners in the comfort of their own villages.
The app will be upgraded and improved as trading commences and feedback is received from users.
It was launched by Mining Minister Johnson Tuke and Esa’ala MP and Minister for Justice and Attorney-General Davis Steven.
MRA managing director Philip Samar said the alluvial and small-scale mining sector was the mining sector’s small-to-medium enterprise.
He said launching of the app was consistent with one of MRA’s main target this year, which was to develop the small-scale mining sector through awareness, funding assistance and appropriate technology.
The staging of the convention was an initiative of the Esa’ala district development authority with the leadership and support of Steven.
Samar commended Steven for his initiative and urged other MPs who represent mining districts to partner with MRA to develop the sector.

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Chamber concerned with passing of MRA bill

ENN | 27 February 2018

The Chamber President, Gerea Aopi, said today the MRA has been a success story for Papua New Guinea and the Government.

“The Chamber and the mining industry believe that the performance of MRA over the last decade is a credit to Government, and the excellent operating standards within the mining sector are an indicator of the good work of the regulator. It would be a tragedy for all mining industry stakeholders if this progress is lost,” Aopi said in a statement. 

“MRA has managed the regulatory environment for mining, as an arm of government, in a firm, fair and responsible manner. It has earned the respect and support of industry and other stakeholders, including landowners, and contributed to rising professional standards throughout the mining sector.”

Aopi said mineral exploration and production companies have three major concerns about the legislative changes:

  1. Removal of direct industry representation on the MRA Board
  2. The doubling of the production levy rate from 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent and
  3. The allocation and remittance of 35 percent of the annual production levies directly to the Department of Mineral Policy & Geohazards Management.

Aopi said the initial impetus for the establishment of MRA was provided by the European Union, which decided after the severe 1997 drought that the strengthening of the regulatory regime for mining would contribute significantly to diversification of the PNG economy and help mitigate unexpected emergencies such as drought.

An initial 50 million Euro grant (about K200 million) under a mining sector support program in 2002 led to the implementation of a range of projects and detailed discussions and planning between all stakeholders. This laid the groundwork for the establishment of MRA, which began operations in 2006.

The MRA was also created so that it can be adequately funded, and effectively regulate an industry that was very critical to the PNG economy. 

“Successive PNG Governments have benefitted from the independent role played by MRA in regulating the minerals sector, including the operational and safety aspects of PNG’s mines which have enable PNG mining operations to be benchmarked against global standards,” stated Aopi.

“By not allowing industry representation on the MRA Board, the Government has effectively negated the intent of the original legislation of ensuring effective and efficient administration and regulation of the mining sector through a meaningful involvement of industry and private sector at the Board level.”

Aopi said the doubling of the production levy was a de facto increase in tax and an additional burden on existing and future mining projects, even though the current levy has proved to be adequate for the funding of MRA operations.

“The new Act will see 35 percent of the increased levy diverted directly for the use of the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management. These funds can also be used for State obligations under Project Agreements entered into by the State and for ‘development initiatives’ within project areas approved by the MRA Board.

“The industry is gravely concerned the diversion of funding to outside activities may lead to a deterioration of MRA’s capacity.

“This is wrong and a major shift in Government policy, under which an industry tax levy can be used to directly fund another Department outside the budgetary process and to underwrite social obligations of the State managed by MRA as well as the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management.”

Aopi said for many years, successive Governments have reaffirmed their confidence in the MRA “model”.

“Why are we making these changes now to weaken a very important Government body that has performed exceptionally well? The benefit of having an effective regulator over many years can clearly be seen in the professional way issues are managed in the mining sector.

“Indeed, it is a working model that is being discussed by Government and industry to be applied to the oil and gas sector to help manage the issues impacting their operations,” he said.

The Chamber is also very concerned about the Government’s delay in expediting an independent process to review amendments to the Mining Act as agreed to between Government and the industry.

This was an important undertaking it made in 2017 to ensure changes to the legislation were fair and represented the interest of all stakeholders, including the Government.

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Industry regulator not bothered by liquidation

MRA won’t intervene in Tolukuma mine fiasco

No Cancellation of Licence

Post Courier | February 25, 2018

Mineral Resources Authority managing director Philip Samar says any assumption of the cancellation of the Tolukuma Mine licence following it being put under liquidation is not true.

He said the government and MRA, the industry regulator, have not cancelled anything and the issue is a purely commercial one for the operator of the mine and Singapore-based Asidokona Mining Resources limited and its creditors.

Mr Samar said the liquidation order handed down where MRA and the Government had not caused the liquidation.

“The mine owner, they have been operating the mine they went and took credit for services and now they have not repaid those creditors.”

“So one of the creditors decided to take the company to court and they are entitled to do that. This is where it is and that is exactly what this is about.”

“One of the creditors has taken the company to court because the company has not repaid them, so nothing to do with the government and nothing to do with MRA,” Mr Samar said.

He said as the court has appointed a liquidator, the liquidator has powers to now dispose of the assets of the company to recoup funds to repay the creditors.

“We need to keep the government and the MRA out of this. Every company goes through that process and if you owe somebody something those people will come and take you to court.”

Early this month the National Court ordered the mine to be liquidated after a service provider took Asidokona to court for non-payment of bills totaling more than K715,000.

The court ordered on February 08, 2018, the mine be placed into liquidation under the provisions of the Companies Act. IPI Catering and Pacific Development Contractors submitted in support their statements to the court, as they were also owed K1.6 million and K1.8 million respectively by Tolukuma Gold Mines. Asidokona Mining Resources is a private company that bought Tolukuma gold mine in Central Province in 2015 and they took over from Petromin.

Tolukuma Lies With Financiers

February 25, 2018

Following orders by the National Court to liquidate the assets of Tolukuma Gold Mine to pay off creditors, potential financiers of the debt will have the opportunity to take up stakes in the mine.

Mineral Resources Authority managing director Philip Samar said about the process the mine will have to go through.

“So the court has now appointed a liquidator, which is the administrator, and so the liquidator now has a court appointed process to now say that this mine is available and anybody who wants to offset the credit can come and see me.

“Asidokona is now going through its finances trying to get the money to repay, talking to potential financers to give it the money so that they can repay the creditors and take back the mine for themselves,” Mr Samar said.

He said this also means is that any person with the finances can call up the liquidator and lend some money to help.

Mr Samar said whoever can assist the liquidator sort out the creditors can have the mining lease transferred to them.

“If Asidokona can go and find the money and sort out the liquidators then the mining lease reverts back to them.

“Is somebody else fronts up to the creditor and got funds and are able to offset all of that than the mining lease gets transferred to them,” he said.

Creditors of the company are required to lodge their claims by March 14. From this a real debt figure for the mine will be determined for either the operator or interested financiers to pay.

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Alliance of Solwara Warriors to object exploration license

Loop PNG | February 25, 2018

The Alliance of Solwara Warriors* will submit their objections to Exploration License 1196 (EL 1196) to the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) on February 26.

EL 1196 is situated on traditional shing and ceremonial waters of West Coast Namatanai in New Ireland Province and Duke of York Islands in East New Britain Province.

In a statement, the Alliance of Solwara Warriors said:

“As maritime communities whose wellbeing and quality of life depend on the health of the sea, we were not consulted before licenses and leases were awarded by the National Government for seabed mining project in the country.

“We were not given the opportunity to exercise our rights as stated in the United Nation’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous people on Free Prior Informed Consent.

“We also recognise through our local and traditional knowledge of tides and currents that many of our communities will face disastrous impacts if this experiment of seabed mining continues.

“Recent natural disasters such as the Kadovar eruption have highlighted the ine ciency of national authorities to respond to disasters.”

The Alliance said carrying the voices of their communities, they call on the Mining Minister, Johnson Tuke, to recognise and acknowledge that they are not ‘external groups’.

“We are the custodians of the sea!”

Furthermore, the Alliance has thanked the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea (ELC PNG), Catholic Bishops Conference (CBC), Caritas PNG, the PNG Council of Churches (PNGCC) and the Pacific Council of Churches (PCC) and His Eminence, Cardinal John Ribat, for recognising and acknowledging them as the custodians of the sea.

* The Alliance of Solwara Warriors is a growing group of communities and supporters from Madang, East New Britain, New Ireland, Manus and Milne Bay Provinces

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