Tag Archives: MRA

Institutions Should Include Alluvial Mining Training, Says Basil

alluvial miners at work

Alluvial miners at work on Bougainville

Jerry Sefe | Post Courier | August 17, 2018

Major tertiary institutions in the country must be given the opportunity to involve facilitating trainings and safety regulation in the alluvial mining sector.

Member for Bulolo and Minister for Information and Communications Technology and Energy Sam Basil made the call to the Mineral Resources Authority on Tuesday during day one of its 4th Alluvial Mining and Tradeshow convention held in Lae.

“I want to encourage MRA involve our research and tertiary institutions including University of Papua New Guinea, PNG University of Technology and University of Natural Resource and Environment in our collaborative efforts in alluvial mining and the environmental impacts and safety,” said Mr Basil.

Basil said these institutions are academically and professionally equipped with knowledge, expertise and innovations to expand the sector and in this partnership the country can make a difference in challenging times when resource scarcity and sustainability is concerned.

He said the challenges of the alluvial mining observed from in Bulolo district is the safety aspects that needs to be more regulated when unsafe practices are becoming an increasing concern especially with miners using the underground mining techniques where they dig through tunnels.

“This has resulted in numerous deaths over the years. This is because of the alluvial resource knowledge has always been a barrier in advancing the alluvial mining operations” said Mr Basil.

Basil said it is a must that all concerned stakeholders join forces and embrace the new developments in this era of alluvial mining because the alluvial mining sector is owned by Papua New Guineans using downstream processing.

“This area must be carefully considered because it has a high potential to enhance multiple revenue streams through maximum participation of our rural populace.”

He said MRA as the concerned regulator must strive in its efforts in maintaining safety practices within the alluvial mining communities.

Basil added that environmental compliance is another issue that must be strictly regulated by the Conservation Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) however mentioned that CEPA are yet to be fully aware of what is happening within the alluvial mining sector.

“I am aware of the financial requirements of the sector in supporting alluvial miners therefore as local MP for Bulolo we will be fully supporting our local miners through our district development authority” he said.

Meanwhile, the minister also commended MRA’s initiative in the alluvial resource mapping programs currently taking place in Bulolo to build the resource inventory of the district.


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Wafi Landowners Slam Kokopo Meeting

Mine consultation meeting in East New Britain has left Wafi-Gulpu landowners feeling betrayed

Post Courier | August 13, 2018

The landowner group from Wafi-Golpu mine in Morobe Province has described the consultative meeting in Kokopo as political maneuvering.

Paramount chief and landowner for Babuaf tribe Ezra Kwako said such political maneuvering is a disgrace to the Wafi landowners.

Mr Kwako accused the meeting of being hijacked over to Kokopo, East New Britain Province between the government and the miner, Wafi Golpu JV.

He questioned why the sharing consultative meeting was moved to Kokopo and not held in Lae.

He said legitimate landowners were left out when the meeting was moved to Kokopo.

He said only a few of their “paper landowners” attended the Kokopo and have ill-documented the meeting as the representative of the tribe when the case was still before the National Court pending decision, which is soon to be handed down.

“We were not properly consulted and the meeting venue over to Kokopo was a denial for the better process when we are yet to identify the real legitimate landowners of Wafi mine development area,” Kwako said.

“We do not want to keep on making mistakes like that of the Hidden Valley Mining, enough is enough.

“Political interference to propagate better process is not to be entertained. Bring your discussion points to the village and let’s share with the people of mine affected areas. The MOA signing is one key document that will benefit the landowners and thus be very mindful of this current trend after all clan vetting process if fully completed.

“This is Morobe resource and we must discuss this issue amicably with well-informed dialog including the legitimate landowners in Morobe and not elsewhere,” Kwako said.

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Alluvial Mining Meet Begins In Lae This Week

Post Courier | August 12, 2018

The Mineral Resources Authority will stage its 4th annual alluvial mining convention and trade show on August 14-15 at the Lae International Hotel.

Participants, presenters and attendees will include various stakeholders including gold exporters, miners and service providers.

Alluvial miners number more than 100,000 collectively contributing K300 million to the national economy in 2017.

This is an important sector of the economy that will rightly be given the attention it deserves by the government through MRA.

Under the theme ‘transitioning the alluvial mining sector for growth’, the two day program will cover programs and initiatives the MRA’s mines inspectorate has in terms of regulating safety in the alluvial mining sector.

Safety while conducting alluvial mining is an issue that the MRA has been addressing.

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ENB leaders want Sinivit gold mine reopened

location map

The National aka The Loggers Times | August 2, 2018

East New Britain leaders want the abandoned Sinivit gold mine reopened.

Governor Nakikus Konga and Sinivit LLG president Boniface Gerep said this during the launching of Sinivit road infrastructure under Sinivit mining project memorandum of agreement at Riet yesterday.

“As the former chairman of Uramot Company, the blame falls squarely on Mineral Resources Authority and the State,” he said. “Sinivit gold mine would have been a very successful mine, but unfortunately we did not get support from the mining department.”

Konga urged Mining Minister Johnson Tuke to ensure the mine reopened.

He said it was an economic opportunity for East New Britain now that the province had been given greater autonomy.

Gerep said resources owners had not benefited from the mine when the developer left abruptly.

Locals looted and vandalised everything at the mine, including explosives and chemicals.

Reports had surfaced of chemicals from abandoned vats flowing into the Warangoi River.

Tuke concurred with Konga and Gerep, saying he wanted to see the mine reopened.

He said he was ready to work with the authorities in East New Britain to ensure that the mine reopened and provided jobs for locals.

Developer New Guinea Gold Ltd abandoned the mine in Sept 2014 blaming the government and MRA for not quickly renewing their mining lease.

It was understood the matter was before the court.

MRA said that the environmental issues that had been raised were for the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority to deal with.

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Porgera landowners frustrated with State

Chairman of the Resource Owners Federation of PNG, Jonathan Paraia.

Freddy Mou | Loop PNG | July 31, 2018

The Resource Owners Federation of PNG, a landowner company for the people of Porgera in Enga, are calling on the Government to fulfil its commitment in the MoA signed between the landowners in 1989.

The landowners are claiming that breaches in the MOA have caused negative impacts on the social, environmental and economic lives of the Porgera landowners.

Chairman of the Resource Owners Federation of PNG, Jonathan Paraia, said the 1988 proposals sought State approval and issuance of a Special Mining Lease (SML) for the mine to construct mining infrastructure that was capable of processing eight thousand tons of crushed ore through its mill over a mine life of twenty years.

However, he claimed that the State allowed what was called a “minor variation” after five years of the mine operations to double the processing rate to 17,000 tons per day.

“The landowners were deceived by the State since their lodgement of their position statement, failed to address their complaints, resulting in the landowners issuing a Notice of Dispute in April of 2015 which the State also failed to respond to.”

Paraia said the landowners are now planning to invoke the arbitration provisions in the MoA.

He added that the State’s failure to respond to the legal steps being followed by the landowners pursuant to the MoA is unbecoming of a responsible government.

Paraia reiterated that State agencies, especially the Mineral Resources Authority, are negligent of their duty to deal with the dispute in an orderly and responsible manner to ensure that the complaints are properly dealt with.

He further claimed that the State’s continuous ignorance of the issues raised by the landowners will do nothing but increase the frustration and anger of those affected, which could eventually lead to the disruption of yet another resource project in the Highlands region of Papua New Guinea.

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Frieda Mine Lease On Hold

Frieda River mine camp

Frankiy Kapin | Post Courier | May 31, 2018

Frieda mine project developer PanAust Limited has indicated further alterations to its initial proposal for mine development thus holding back the Special Mine Lease (SML) application.

Mines regulator, Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) revealed this week that the assessment of the application had to be put on hold as the applicant has indicated there may be significant changes to the initial proposal for development and feasibility study.

According to MRA, PanAust is considering a range of potential material changes.

These include the relocation of the integrated storage facility to Frieda River from the Nina River, and increasing the hydro potential to over 300 Megawatts.

The project is also considering development of a public road corridor between Vanimo and Hotmin instead of using the Sepik River.

“This is to significantly reduce its activities within the river system.

“The proposed airport may be upgraded to a regional status and there may be consequential changes to tenements. Some relocation of landowners may also be required,” said the MRA.

MRA confirmed that PanAust’s application for a SML for the Frieda project is on hold pending the company’s lodgment to the government indicating amendments to the development proposal.

According to MRA, the tenement holder initially lodged the SML last year in June 2016 but has indicated to the State negotiating team that it may submit an amended proposal for development and feasibility study by October this year.

“Mining Act and Environment Act approvals will be delayed as a result against the original timetable.

“To date, PanAust has yet to submit its amended proposal two,” MRA issued.

MRA further stated that PanAust will also be required to lodge any amended environment impact assessment report to the Conservation Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) if the original proposals alter.

East Sepik Governor Allan Bird said as the host province, the provincial government will have a say once all mine development documents are assessed by MRA and submitted to the provincial heads.

The Frieda River project is copper dominated with gold and silver as bi-products and presently the project’s mine life is 17 years with a potential to extend.

Current indications from initial submissions are that the porphyry copper gold deposits contain an estimated total combined mineral resource of over 2.7 billion tones at an average grade of 0.42 per cent copper and 0.23 grams per tonne gold.

From this assessment, the project has a total mineable ore reserve of 608 million tonnes at 0.49 per cent copper and 0.27 grams per tonne gold.

The Frieda River project operator is Frieda River Limited (FRL), a subsidiary of PanAust.

Frieda River Project is located in the provinces of West and East Sepik and jointly owned by PanAust (80 per cent) and Highlands Pacific (20 per cent).

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MRA Act changes ‘create uncertainty’ as mineral prices rise

Cedric Patjole | Loop PNG | May 19, 2018

Changes to the Mineral Resources Act 1992 have created uncertainty in the mining industry, especially with rising mineral prices.

Former executive director and now advisor to the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, Greg Anderson, said this during the Resources Sector Media Workshop.

He said the uncertainty created will determine exploration activity as well as whether mineral projects are developed.

Anderson gave a detailed presentation on the impact of the MRA Act changes. Positives included:

  • The extension of Exploration License term from 2 years to 5 years, and maximum size o shore increased to 10,000km2
  • Documentation required for a Mining License application now prescribed. This includes:
  • Community engagement plan, LIS, social mapping study
  • Employment and training plan, goods and services procurement plan, business development assistance plan
  • Rehabilitation and mine closure plan
  • Feasibility study and mine waste management plan
  • Resettlement action plan
  • Timelines set for a decision on the State equity participation option linked to the application process for a Mining License (as per Kumul Minerals Authorisation Act)
  • A party to a Community Development Agreement (CDA) (MOA) that fails to sign cannot delay or ‘hold to ransom’ the approval process for the CDA

However he said the negatives significantly outweighed the positives. They included:

  • The State given the right to compulsory acquire (on ‘commercial terms’) any project upon the expiry of the 25th year of the first term of the ML or thereafter (expropriation)
  • Royalty increased to 3 percent (bringing it to 3.5 percent with the increased Production Levy in the revised MRA Act )
  • Limiting of the un-recouped sunk costs for State equity participation to: Only 50 percent of the accumulated exploration costs; and for he current tenement holder only, and for no more than 20 years prior to ML grant
  • Agreements to include a provision on the protection of minority shareholder rights including when and how dividends will be determined, declared and paid
  • There are no “grandfathering” provisions – existing operations are required to comply with all aspects of the new Act within 12 months (social disruption)
  • Very significant increase in reporting requirements; will increase costs and bureaucratic load on the MRA, MAC and explorer/developer. Are these additional plans and reports justified, how are they to be reviewed in a meaningful way, can they be combined or better managed?
  • Any changes to Government policy take precedence over the MDC (totally annuls the sanctity of the MDC). MDC subject to five year reviews
  • There is only one tenement for mining, the ML (SML abolished; one size ts all) & the MAC now approves all tenements (Minister formally grants tenement but has to abide by decision of MAC). Industry endorses MAC’s role in approval of ELs & smaller mining projects but believes direct NEC approval & grant of ML needed for larger projects
  • International FIFO banned under an ML (also financial impact)
  • Unworkable obligation to commence development and maintain production leading to cancellation of ML “Reservation of Land from Mining” provision that does not protect the right of:  existing EL applicants for grant or renewal (they are terminated); existing ML holder to renew when a reservation is in place (cannot lodge an application which could result in the forced closure of a mine)
  • Unsatisfactory conditions for ELs: maximum size of onshore EL reduced 50% to 1,250km2; requirement for year 3 external audit, at renewal (MAC), or anytime by MD fee of K5,000 to surrender an EL; no consolidation of ELs
  • Unsatisfactory Compensation Agreement that must take into account “possible changes in the landholder structure”
  • Powers and duties of authorising o cers excessive and in some cases open to abuse.
  • Penalties are excessive and punitive, eg. A person, engaging in FIFO (not defined) can be locked up for 15 years;
    not a tenement holder, can be locked up for 2 years for not providing information the MD deems “useful for the enforcement of this Act”
  • The definition of “offshore” will lead to confusion with existing projects that are onshore/onshore and the application of the “CAB” needs to be clarified
  • Impractical “Transparency Initiative Publications” – IRC, PG, developer, LOA must submit quarterly benefits report or CEO/chairman ned K25,000

“The Mining Sector is strongly opposed to the revised mining act of which I have just outlined. It is internationally uncompetitive, extremely so, especially with all the tax changes that have gone on as well. It will be a strong deterrent to any future mining projects and a serious impediment to the operations of the current mines,” Anderson said.

Anderson said currently mineral prices were on the rise as witnesses five years ago before a slump. And the uncertainty created by the legislative changes affected exploration and mine development.

“This present all of us with a serious dilemma. We’ve got a rise in commodity prices, the cycle was recovering and coming back in our favour like it did in 2003 and we captured it beautifully.

“Now we’ve got all these uncertainties facing us; how are we going to capture this rise in commodity prices, build new projects and expand our exploration sector?”

He said the PNG Chamber of Mines had done two independent reviews and had encouraged the Government to carry out its own review to authenticate the veracity of those reports and recommendations.

Anderson said the Government must renew discussions with a multi-disciplinary team drawn from all relevant key government organisations, with all meetings chaired by an eminent, independent chairman.

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