Tag Archives: Mining Act

Wafi-Golpu Negotiations Have Not Recommenced – Newcrest

Matthew Vari| Post Courier | March 16, 2020

NEGOTIATIONS into Morobe’s Wafi-Golpu project is still pending according to project joint venture partner Newcrest Mining Limited.

Newcrest Mining PNG country manager Mr Stanley Komunt said this in response this paper queries in relation to comments made by Mining Minister Johnson Tuke last month on government’s intention to resumes negotiation following the dismissal of the memorandum of understanding in court case relating to the project.

Mr Komunt said the main reason for uncertainty was the relays [sic] in the proposed revised mining act, which is still yet to be passed by government and  how concerns raised may be factored into the amended act.

“We from the JV’s point of view have not made a commitment as yet to progress any discussions.

“There is a couple of reasons why and number one is more to do with the current discussions on the revised mining bill.

“We really don’t know where that is going to end. Whilst the Prime Minister has given us, the industry and SNT (State Negotiating Team) team to go and back and since our meeting in January 17 in Brisbane.

“He has given us two months and we have been meeting last month now and we are slowly getting there but there is still some major, not so much disagreement, but misalignment I would say,” Mr Komunt pointed out.

Komunt pointed out other particulars also in the air such as benefit sharing, royalty and contracts have all been relayed to the minister responsible for mining.

“Whilst we appreciate, the company, not only us but the industry appreciates that country needs to get a better share and we want to make sure that is realized through the negotiations that we will have.

“We are not quite there yet to start the negotiations for Wafi. We have relayed that to the minister.

“Because if the revised mining act changes it will have an impact on the project economics and how we have done our planning and that is a major concern and we can’t do anything.

Prime Minister Marape has indicated his government is set on delivering the project, a point Komunt added the PM is well aware and supportive of an understanding going forward.

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PNG New Ireland Deputy Governor Tells Social Media Mining Critics : Get Smart or Get Screwed

Pacific Mining Watch

 Papua New Guinea’s Deputy Governor of New Ireland, Sammy Missen, said today that it is actually amusing to see all the talk on social media about the failure of politicians to take action to make the mining sector work better, to the benefit of the people of the country.

Mr. Missen said “I find it amusing, because all these people are just missing the point. If they are so concerned about making changes in the Mining Act, then they should start supporting those who really want to make changes rather than just complaining all the time.”

The Deputy Governor said that there is one politician in the country who is serious about making the Mining Sector work to the advantage of the people. “That person is Sir Julius Chan. Sir Julius has been saying for more than ten years that the Mining Act should be changed. He has been saying that the current Mining Act takes huge wealth from the landowners and only gives them a few toea in return. Sir J says that the landowners should get automatic ownership in any mine. Landowners should never have to buy shares in a mine – they should get shares free, automatically. The gold and the copper and the nickel is in OUR ground.”

And, Mr. Missen said, “Sir J says that any company that wants to come in an operate a mine should be able to do so, but they will just be contractors. The owners of the mine will be the owners of the land – the State, the Province or the landowners, whoever owns the land where the mine is operating. And the benefits to the landowners will go up by five times from what they are now. Em tasol.”

Mr. Missen said that Sir Julius has been trying to make these changes in the Mining Act for years. “Almost three years ago Sir J introduced a Private Member’s Bill to Parliament to Revise the Mining Act. But the O’Neill Government did not act. And when the Marape Government came to power one of the first things it did was to invite a New Ireland Team to sit down with him and explain how the Mining Act should be revised. The Prime Minister said he would support those changes, but so far nothing has been done.”

Mr. Missen said criticism of the Mining Minister, the Hon. Johnson Tuke, is misplaced. “Minister Tuke fully supports the changes Sir Julius has proposed,” he said. “He supports giving ownership of the mines to the people who own the land, increasing royalties for the people and increasing all benefits coming from mining. But he can do nothing without the support of the Prime Minister.”

“And that is what people should understand,” said the Deputy Governor. “They should stop criticising everyone, and realise who their friends are. They should realise that they have an ally in Sir Julius. They have an ally in Minister Tuke. What the people need to do is to Get Smart. The need to telephone their MPs email their MPs, go on social media and tell their MPs they demand that they support the changes Sir Julius wants to make. The people need to make some NOISE! They need to demand a Revised Mining Act that will make the people rich from the wealth that is coming from THEIR ground.”

“And if their MPs do not listen to them,” Mr. Missen said, “if their MPs do not support giving the people a much larger share of the benefits, then the people need to make it very clear that those MPs will not get their votes in the next election. That is the only thing politicians understand. The People must tell their MPs one thing – if you refuse to support changes to the Mining Law that will benefit us, then you will no longer represent us. Em tasol!”

“And that,” Mr. Missen concluded, “is what people should be doing. They need to Get Smart. They need to realise who their friends are, and support them. If people just continue to moan and groan and refuse to work together, all our mines will end up just big holes in the ground, and all the wealth from them will be sitting in foreign bank accounts!”

In closing, the Deputy Governor said, “I can tell you one thing for sure. If we don’t Get Smart, we will surely Get Screwed!”

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Frieda landowners want deal to be based on amended law

Map showing the location of the proposed Frieda River mine. Photograph: Jubilee Australia

“We want the project to be the beginning and an example for other future mines in PNG with best benefits for the people of Telefomin and PNG.”

The National aka The Loggers Times | September 23, 2019

FRIEDA River project landowners in Telefomin, West Sepik, want the mine agreement to be based on the amended Mining Act that is yet to be passed by Parliament.

The landowners made the call to the Government, through Telefomin MP and Foresty Minister Solan Mirisim, at Okisai village, Frieda River, on Thursday.

Spokesman Bob Onengim said the landowners wanted the mine to be the first in the country to come under the amended Mining Act.

He said the mine was going to be one of the biggest in Papua New Guinea, the landowners wanted to set a new bench mark for the local mining industry.

Onengim said landowners also wanted the State not to give tax concessions to the companies that would operate and development Frieda River project.

He said giving tax concessions continued to affect the country and the people of Frieda did not want that to be repeated for the Frieda project.

He said that was one way of taking the country back as alluded to by the Prime Minister James Marape. He said after the experiences of other mines like Lihir, Misima, Porgera and Ok Tedi, the state was in a better position to negotiate the best for the landowners and the country.

“We want the Frieda project to be unique and they want the project to be at a different level,” he said.

“We want the project to be the beginning and an example for other future mines in PNG with best benefits for the people of Telefomin and PNG.”

Onengim said one of the issues they needed to address before the mine began operation was to identify the principal landowners and related issues within the special mine lease areas.

He said the landowners wanted to see a Frieda River project awareness programme conducted as well as looking into other issues like a resettlement programme.

He said people also wanted an audience with Mining Minister Johnson Tuke and James Marape to discuss their concerns about the project.

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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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Govt To Have Dialogue With Mining Industry On Laws

Post Courier | July 2, 2019

Changes or amendments to the current resource laws will not be a shock to the industry, says Prime Minister James Marape.

Mr Marape while responding to the Rabaul MP Dr Allan Marat said the government will be engaging with the industry and will advise them on its thoughts and views and will listen to what the industry has to say before making any changes.

He said the Constitution was drafted by the founding fathers of this nation, however, the environment of doing business today has migrated so much away from what it was in the 70s, 80s 90s and early 2000s that is why it is necessary for the change.

“We will be engaging, having a by petition approach in the area of resource laws and finding a balance in not chasing away our investors but getting to ensure that we pick from the resource harvest through the systematic and proper shift in our resource laws,” he said.

“I put to this House in my view that amendments that we make will not be radical and such that will shock the industry.

“We will introduce to the industry what we have in mind and exactly what we have in mind must come forth from the discussions.

“Our discussions must be signaled in a systematic manner to the industry so they know exactly what we are talking about here and in this house I am comforted in having greater experience around me.”

He said the government is not in the business of chasing away miners in the country.

“They are here to partner us but as they partner us, the laws that we have will be the ones that we’ll honour and deal with them.

“But going forward I am in the business of discussing with all likeminded leaders of both sides of the houses, as well as our civil servants and advisors to ensure that we tailor make a new series of law and a constitution and these laws will not differ much or the laws will not differ from the intention of our Constitution,” he said.

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Top Lawyer Queries ABG’s Interpretation Of Mining Act

The controversial Panguna mine which land holders are fighting to stop being re-opened for foreign profiteers.

Post Courier | June 21, 2019

One of the world’s leading mining lawyers, Michael Hunt, an advisor to the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (SMLOLA), has issued a stinging attack on the statement which attempted to justify the proposed changes to the Bougainville Mining Act (BMA).

The changes were rejected by the Bougainville Parliamentary Committee on Legislation last week (read the full legal assessment).

This statement was a submission to that committee lodged by Minister Wilson and was published on June 19, 2019.

Mr Hunt said, the Statement, entitled “Interpreting Part 17 of the BMA”, “pretends to explain the Bougainville Mining Act (Amendment) Bill 2019 (Bill) in laymen’s terms but in reality, it is a false and misleading manifesto riddled with errors.”

Mr Hunt categorically confirmed that the proposed amendments would actually abolish all of the landowners’ rights relating to any application by the company 40% of which will be owned by McGlinn’s Caballus Mining and other foreign investors.

He added that all the provisions in Parts 1 to Part 16 of the BMA which protect the rights of landowners are over-ridden by the stroke of a pen in Part A of the Bill.

The confiscation of the landowners’ property and rights under the Bill is “unreasonable, unfair and unconstitutional.” said Mr Hunt in his formal legal opinion.

Mr Hunt confirmed the view previously expressed by SMLOLA: that the Bill “effectively confers a near monopoly on one company over exploration and mining on Bougainville”.

Mr Miriori, the Chairman of the SMLOLA further questioned how it was possible that they got the interpretation of the amending legislation so grossly incorrect?

“Why was Parliament misled? Something profoundly wrong is going on here,” he added.

The Parliamentary Committee reported that the normal practices and safeguards were sidestepped.

Mr Hunt is an Australian legal practitioner, who has written the authoritative book, Mining Law in Western Australia (the fifth edition of which was published in October 2015), the “Energy and Resources” volume of Halsbury’s Laws of Australia and the book Minerals and Petroleum Laws of Australia.

Mr Hunt has been recognised nationally and internationally as a leading mining lawyer, regularly named as such in legal market surveys. He was named in both Chambers Global Guide and Chambers Asia Pacific, putting him amongst the world’s top mining lawyers. Chambers’ review reports: “Michael Hunt is regarded as Western Australia’s pre-eminent expert on mining law.”

In 1987 he conducted a public inquiry into PNG’s mining laws on a commission from the PNG government. His comprehensive recommendations for reform were incorporated into entirely new mining legislation, the Mining Act 1992. The BMA is obviously based in part on the PNG Mining Act 1992.

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Miriori Says Bougainville Executive Council Was Misled

Philip Miriori (ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

Post Courier | June 18, 2019

The Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) Executive Council were allegedly misled at the time it resolved to support the developers proposal and consequential mass amendments demanded to the Bougainville Mining Act (BMA).

The Explanatory Memorandum that has emerged, long after the fact, claims in its first two principal reasons, that developer has developed and operated some of the largest mines in the world.

It now turns out that neither reason advanced was correct.

The truth is starkly different – the developer in question has never financed, developed or operated a large mine, to say nothing of the largest mines in the world.

Philip Miriori the Chairman of Panguna landowner company, Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (SMLOLA), indicated that, had the amending legislation passed, Bougainville would have given away a 4o per cent interest in Panguna and a monopoly over all large scale mining projects in Bougainville, to a person who does not have the relevant skills to finance, build and operate a mine like Panguna or help the ABG.

“The third reason advanced was even more false and misleading, as it claimed that the developer had also raised billions of dollars and so will raise all the money for Panguna for the ABG.

“The developer obviously has not raised billions of dollars as claimed, in fact he has only ever done one public company capital raising of a very modest US$30m, again more than a decade ago.

“So the three key reasons the BEC resolved to support the developer, that he had financed, developed and operated the largest mines in the world.

“And put forward the proposed changes to the BMA, which have now been rejected by the Legislative Review Committee because they were all grossly false and designed to deceive all of us here in Bougainville,” he said.

SMLOLA consultant Lawrence Daveona said the scenario suggest to us is that we all need to sit down collectively and find a workable solution.

“This is a solution that can actually be delivered and will allow us to finally move forward with the redevelopment of Panguna to eventually see all of Bougainville prosper,” he said.

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Proposed Bougainville mining law change referred to Ombudsman

Radio New Zealand | 11 June 2019

A landowning group at the site of Bougainville’s Panguna Mine says it has referred the government’s controversial mining plans to the Papua New Guinea Ombudsman.

The Osikaiyang Landowners group said amendments to the Mining Act, due for consideration in parliament this week, would effectively reverse customary law on the ownership of minerals.

Bougainville’s government has argued that what it is planning, in conjunction with Australian businessman Jeff McGlinn, will ensure landowners are better off.

But the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association said this amounted to an abuse of executive power, the Bougainville Constitution and the PNG Constitution.

Osikaiyang chair Philip Miriori said the group would never allow others to “steal our land, our minerals and both our future and our heritage”.

The amendments are defective and the people pushing them, such as Mining Minister Raymond Masono, are breaching the Leadership Code, which is the basis for the appeal to the Ombudsman, Mr Miriori said.

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Papua New Guinea appoints reformer to crucial petroleum portfolio

Kerenga Kua is a former attorney general turned prominent opponent of Marape’s predecessor, Peter O’Neill.

Tom Westbrook | Reuters | June 7, 2019

Commodity and energy companies with projects in the resource-rich archipelago have been awaiting the makeup of Marape’s cabinet as a sign of his plans, after parliament voted him in last week on a platform of economic change.Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape installed a reformer as petroleum minister on Friday, handing him a mandate to overhaul the sector and warning investors to “pack up and leave” if they did not like it.

Announcing his ministries in the capital of Port Moresby, Marape said Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua – brought in from the opposition – shared his vision for raising more revenue from the resources sector.

“We are tired of being rent collectors,” Marape told reporters at Government House where the cabinet was sworn.

He promised changes “friendly to the investor but also friendlier to our country”.

Marape had sparked months of political chaos when he quit as finance minister over the government’s handling of a big gas agreement struck in April with French oil major Total SA.

He then rode a wave of discontent over that deal, and an earlier one with ExxonMobil Corp, into the top office, triggering a new round of scrambling – this time from commodity firms clamoring to meet and lobby him.

Kua is a former attorney general turned prominent opponent of Marape’s predecessor, Peter O’Neill.

He has been quoted in the media as saying resource laws should be changed to give the state a bigger stake in extractive projects.

“(He is) widely respected and a noted critic of dodgy deals,” said Jonathan Pryke, director of the Pacific Islands program at Sydney think-tank the Lowy Institute.

Nevertheless, Marape has insisted reforms would be slow, unlikely to take effect until well beyond elections due in 2022, and not designed to harm investment.

Peter Botten, the head of PNG-focused energy firm Oil Search Ltd said in Sydney on Thursday he did not expect to make any significant new concessions on a gas deal it and ExxonMobil Corp hope to strike with the government.

Marape, referring to concern among foreign investors, offered both reassurance and a warning.

“I make no apologies to anyone,” Marape said. “You don’t like the way I’m speaking? Pack up and leave.”

“Peter Botten knows me. I am investor friendly. But I have also to win for eight million shareholders of this country and that’s what this generation of leadership is all about.”

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Proposed Wafi-Golpu Mine On Hold

MOU was signed  “when the constitutional process had not been fully exhausted and, therefore, not only premature but also a clear breach of the Mining Act and the Constitution”.

Jimmy Kalebe | The National aka The Loggers Times | May 10, 2019

A COURT has put on hold operations of the K9 billion Wafi-Golpu copper-gold mining project in Morobe pending a review of a deal signed between the Government and developers.

Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu took the matter to court challenging the legality of the signing of the memorandum of understanding last December between the Government and Newcrest Mining Limited and Harmony Gold.

Saonu on behalf of the Morobe government claimed that the signing of the memorandum was done without proper consultation with, and input from, the provincial government and other stakeholders.

The memorandum was signed on Dec 11 following a clearance letter from State Solicitor Daniel Rolpagarea.

National Court acting judge Justice John Numapo ruled that the stay order also applied to any representation by Saonu or the parties who signed the memorandum regarding the project, including any meetings or consultations.

Saonu and the provincial government had asked the court to review the letter constituting the legal clearance issued by Rolpagarea for the execution of the memorandum.

Lawyer Paul Mawa, representing the State, asked the court to refuse the leave for review because the application was premature, misconceived and defective.

He argued that it was not supported by any clear and tangible evidence.

He said the legal clearance purportedly issued by Rolpagarea was not the decision of a public body or authority and therefore could not be reviewed.

But Justice Numapo stated that Rolpagarea was public office holder and what he did fell under a public body or authority which was subjected to review.

Justice Numapo dismissed the claims by Mawa and ruled that the issues raised by the plaintiffs were prima facie as they contained substantive issues of law.

He said the issuing of the letter to clear the memorandum for signing was done when the constitutional process had not been fully exhausted and, therefore, not only premature but also a clear breach of the Mining Act and the Constitution.

He said the second issue related to the terms of the memorandum was that the Morobe government wanted to benefit fully from the project.
Saonu and the Morobe government had wanted half of the 30 per cent State equity to be awarded to the Morobe government. Justice Numapo said this was not accommodated in the memorandum.

He also highlighted the fourth goal of the national goals and directive principles enshrined in the Constitution which called for collective benefits and equal distribution of natural resources and environment for all citizens.

The case will return for a directions hearing on May 24 at the National Court in Lae.

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