Tag Archives: Mt Kare

ABG President refutes RTG claims

Autonomous Bougainville Government President John Momis.

One PNG | 22 January 2020

I refer to RTG Mining Inc.’s most recent announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) dated 21st January 2020 whereby RTG deliberately made false claims to mislead their shareholders, the general public and the ASX.

Firstly, the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (SMLOLA) was an entity established under the controversial Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) regime, which mistakenly placed landowners into individual blocks. This is in fact inconsistent with the traditional land inheritance system whereby land is owned by clans and families. The ABG has started the process to rectify this grave past mistake with the rejection of BCL’s licence over Panguna, thereby deeming all current mine affected landowner associations, including SMLOLA illegal, null and void.

So while it is true that RTG are the joint venture partner of SMLOLA as they have confirmed, I would like to confirm SMLOLA have no legal rights over Panguna and cannot enter into any legally binding agreements relating to Panguna. I am happy to advise however that the ABG will be assisting the true and genuine landowners to ensure proper social mapping is carried out in order to establish new legal landowner associations and entities.

Secondly, as per a media statement released from my Office on the 23rd December 2019, I would like to re-confirm and reiterate that the below RTG executives currently still have a travel ban on them, preventing them from entering Bougainville:

  1. Mr Michael J Carrick – Chairman of RTG Mining
  2. Ms Justine A Magee – CEO and Executive Director of RTG Mining
  3. Mr Mark Turner – COO of RTG Mining
  4. Mr Robert N Smith – Non-Executive Director of RTG Mining
  5. Mr Phillip C Lockyer – Non-Executive Director of RTG Mining

I also re-confirm and reiterate that this travel ban will not be uplifted under any circumstance. Whilst there was a travel ban into Papua New Guinea, it has recently been uplifted due to RTG’s lies and deceptions to the PNG government and immigration department about their purported involvement in the Mt Kare project – a project that the world knows it will not succeed. It is therefore concluded that RTG have taken advantage of the fact that both the PNG and ABG operate independently of each other and do not always consult each other on foreign companies, and that RTG’s interest in the Mt Kare project is merely an expensive ploy and deceptive tactic to be able to have a presence in PNG and access to their only real interest – the financial rewards of the Panguna pit.

RTG and their executives should be totally and utterly ashamed of themselves for their corrupt, disruptive and divisive behaviour. They have tried to take advantage of our landowners and people and have shown a complete lack of respect for government authorities. RTG have completely misled the markets for their own financial gain and convenience. The ABG will not rest until all RTG and their executives are banned for life from Bougainville and Papua New Guinea.

As it is my duty to protect the people of Bougainville from immoral charlatans, I appeal to the ASX, TSX and OTCQB, as your duty to protect current and potential shareholders, that you perform a full investigation into RTG Mining and their executives and their misconduct. My Government would be more than happy to assist you with any enquiries relating to RTG and their activities whilst in Bougainville.

For current and potential shareholders and financial markets, I hope that this clears up any confusion or misunderstanding on RTG Mining’s position in Papua New Guinea, Bougainville and Panguna.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bougainville

RTG Mining inks deal for Mt Kare gold project in Papua New Guinea

RTG Mining has signed a deal to potentially acquire a majority stake in Papua New Guinea’s controversial Mt Kare gold project.

Lorna Nicholas | Small Caps | December 10, 2019

RTG Mining has inked a deal in the hopes of acquiring an 80% stake in the historic 2.1 million-ounce Mt Kare gold deposit in Papua New Guinea.

The junior explorer today announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Canada’s GMG Global Mining Group and Tribune Mt Kare, the two priority applicants for the project.

Under the deal, RTG will acquire the majority interest if and when the applications are converted into a new exploration licence.

RTG said the terms of the agreement equate to a purchase price of about US$8.80 per ounce of gold in total historical mineral resource.

The total resource estimate currently stands at 2.1Moz, including 1.2Moz of measured gold resources and 900,000oz of indicated and inferred resources, valuing the deal at about US$18.48 million (A$27.06 million).

An additional payment of US$2.40 per ounce of gold in historical mineral resource is payable upon a decision to mine.

Mt Kare project

Mt Kare is located about 600km northwest of Port Moresby in PNG’s Enga Province. It lies 15km southwest of Barrick Gold’s Porgera gold mine, the country’s second largest mine and considered to be one of the world’s top 10 producing gold mines.

Gold was first discovered at Mt Kare in the 1980s and it is estimated that more than A$60 million has been spent on the area by several companies, including 454 diamond drill holes totalling almost 74,000m.

Delisted ASX company Indochine Mining had acquired the project in 2011 and announced the 2.1Moz historical mineral resource estimate in 2013. However, the company was placed into voluntary administration in 2015 and the exploration licence, which expired in 2014, was not renewed.

In 2017, the PNG Mineral Resource Authority confirmed GMG had priority over the exploration licence application, but this was challenged by Tribune in the courts. The two parties ended up settling their disputes and agreeing to work together.

RTG said it would focus exploration on the depth potential of the deposit, with Mt Kare being situated on the same north-east trending structure as the Porgera mine with similar geology including the same host rocks, mineralisation types and age, and similar geological structures.

The area recently came into the spotlight in July when French news agency AFP reported on an alleged link between the control of Mt Kare and a PNG tribal massacre. However, this connection appeared unclear and Indochine reportedly told media it was no more than “speculation”.

Other gold projects

RTG also has a proposal with a landowner lead consortium to secure an exploration licence at the high-tonnage Panguna copper-gold project on PNG’s island of Bougainville.

The company’s other projects include a 40% stake in the Mabilo copper-gold-magnetite project in the Philippines and during the September quarter, RTG entered into a sale and purchase agreement with White Cliff Minerals  to acquire its 90% stake in the Chanach gold-copper project in the Kyrgyz Republic.

Leave a comment

Filed under Mine construction, Papua New Guinea

Massacres: land rights over resource rich land may have played a role

Mt Kare in the Papua New Guinea Highlands. A large gold mine is planned for the area. Source: Supplied

Lush and humid, Papua New Guinea’s highlands look idyllic. But a brutal massacre of women and children has highlighted a deadly turf war on our doorstep.

Benedict Brook | News. com | July 15, 2019

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE

The images that shot around the world last week were shocking enough. The hacked bodies of women and children, victims of a bitter inter-clan conflict.

Their remains wrapped in cloths, tied to branches and lying beside a sun-soaked country road. There is a brutal logic to some of the deaths.

The scene was gruesome but what also horrified many Australians was that it happened so close to our shores.

The 16 people murdered hailed from the Hela province of Papua New Guinea. At its closest point, the PNG coast is just four kilometres from Australian islands in the Torres Strait.

Australia used to govern the nation until as recently as 1975 and, with the US, Canberra is setting up a military base in the country.

PNG’s Prime Minister James Marape has condemned the slaughter and told the culprits bluntly: “I am coming for you.”

The massacre occurred in the country’s humid highlands, a region drunk on a heady cocktail of bitter clan rivalries, mining riches, lawlessness and even sorcery. In one grim incident, young boys were beheaded.

Locals stand by the bodies of victims recovered in recent tribal violence in Papua New Guinea. Picture: Pills Kolo via AP. Source: AP

Even in an area where killings are not uncommon, PNG watchers have struggled to comprehend the sheer brutality of these murders.

“I wish I could say violence was a surprise in this part of PNG,” Jonathan Pryke, Director of the Pacific Islands Program at think tank the Lowy Institute told news.com.au.

“But targeting women and children is what makes this stand out. It’s sadistic.”

One answer to the sustained violence in this part of PNG may be found several valleys away in the shadow of a mountain. Deep beneath the grassy exterior of Mt Kare, rich seams of gold run. Just down the road, the Pogera gold mine is one of the world’s largest.

Hela provincial administrator William Bando told news agency AFP last week that the killings might have a connection to local rivalries at Mt Kare.

Location of the Hela region in Papua New Guinea. Picture: Google Maps. Source: Supplied

WHY ARE MINES SUCH FLASHPOINTS?

Mines are generally run by major firms but a proportion of the royalties are distributed locally, to the government and landowners.

In a poor country, the effect of that cash can be huge. Indeed, Hela province itself was carved out of another government region so the local Huli people could more directly benefit from the proceeds of a huge liquefied natural gas project in the town of Hides, backed by the US company ExxonMobil.

PNG experts news.com.au has spoken to have said it’s too early to tell if the new Mt Kare mine and the massacre are connected. Violent disputes can be for many reasons. The mine’s owner Indochine has said that linking the site to the tragic incident is nothing more than “speculation”.

A plausible alternative explanation is the slaughter was a tit-for-tat action for other recent killings. But land rights, including over mines, have turned violent in the past. During the 1990s, more than 20,000 people died in PNG’s Bougainville province, largely over who would benefit from an enormous mine.

Resources are big business in PNG with the industry making up 21 per cent of the nation’s economy.

Luke Fletcher, Executive Director of Jubilee Australia, an organisation that advocates for communities in the Pacific region, told news.com.au the entry of big mining firms into remote regions had fundamentally changed the way of life.

“It impacted the whole fabric of society. There was a lot more cash coming in. Disputes became associated with land and who was the landowner of a particular tenement identified for a mining project.

“The Huli ethnic group has a complex social connection to the land so it’s been very difficult for the Government to identify who is a landowner.”

That’s led to not only skirmishes over property but also the withholding of some royalties as the mining firms don’t know who to give the money to.

These disputes have rumbled alongside more longstanding feuds as well as desperation brought on by poverty.

At the same time, promises of modern infrastructure haven’t, in some cases, eventuated. And while shiny new hospitals and schools have been built, in a number of cases, funds to pay staff and materials have dried up.

“There is more cash around but in some ways that has been just as much of a problem. Because there’s so much cash, there are now so many weapons,” said Mr Fletcher.

“This isn’t the first violence we’ve seen, it’s just the most egregious.”

GOLD RUSH

Michael Main, an anthropologist and PhD candidate at Australian National University, knows Hela well. On visits to the lush mountain valleys he recalls having to persuade locals he was merely a student and not a geologist looking to pinpoint the next rich fissure of gold.

“When a piece of land acquires a much greater value (due to mining) that does exacerbate things; even if it’s only perceived in that way. With the hype around mining some think a mountain is literally full of gold.”

There had been a “gold rush” in the early 2000s at Mt Kare, he said, where nuggets were found in the soil and dug up by locals. But that was all now gone with the remainder of the riches beneath the surface.

The Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea is one of the world’s largest. Source: News Limited

STONE AGE TO ARMS RACE

The population of PNG’s Highlands were completely unknown until the 1930s when Australian patrols stumbled across a people who, essentially, were no more progressed than the “Stone Age”, said Mr Main.

The modern age has arrived with speed: mobile phones now sit alongside age old beliefs in sorcery. It’s a place where rivalries run as deep as superstitions, all unencumbered by the usual trappings of the nation state, like police, who are rarely seen.

But in times past there was a framework around violence.

“Most people would not have been involved in fighting and it would have been bows and arrows facing off,”

“There is no longer the strong tradition of dispute resolutions through dialogue. Guns have changed the power dynamics,” he said.

“It’s become an arms race. One clan will be well armed, the another clan they have a historical enmity with will get armed too.

“You can even hire guns from a friend.”

A Huli man in traditional ceremonial dress at a mobile phone shop in PNG’s capital of Port Moresby. Source: Supplied

BRUTAL LOGIC TO KILLINGS
Weapons mostly came in from the neighbouring Indonesian province of West Papua. But some come through Australia’s Torres Strait. While the few police will sell individual bullets to supplement their meagre wages. The Government’s own armoury has been pilfered from.

“The amount of guns vastly outnumbers those held by the entire PNG defence force,” Mr Main said.

The recent violence has been eye opening, however. Women, who in Huli society are never armed, have become victims as have children. And traditional tools — like the bush knife — have also been used to butcher victims.

“When I was there, there was the case of young children being beheaded as part of the conflict,” he said.

He added there was a brutal logic to killing kids: “It’s making sure the next generation doesn’t grow up to take revenge.”

Mr Main likened the violence to that which has occurred in many parts of the world, from the Balkans to Ireland, where groups jostle for land and prominence.

The Lowy Institute’s Mr Pryke agreed: “There’s nothing distinct about PNG people; it’s just where they sit on the development spectrum”.

There was no “silver bullet” he said to end the violence, but the PNG Government needed to make its presence felt.

Some mining firms, he said, had been more successful than others at building local infrastructure and remunerating locals. But they needed to step up.

“The mining industry will tell you they are doing as much as they can and they don’t want to fill the gaps left by the Government. But they need to think more deeply about improved development outcomes, because if this violence continues that could be destabilising for business interests in the country.”

Mr Main said the mines have brought jobs and cash. But much of that was when they were under construction, with many wage packets drying up when mining began.

“When they were in the construction phase there wasn’t much fighting because there was money coming in, development was happening and people were focused on the future.

“Now that vacuum has been filled with all these jealousies and grievances from the past returning.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Indochine intends to review court ruling

Cedric Patjole | Loop PNG | May 4, 2018

Indochine Mining Limited and its subsidiary, Summit Development Limited, are planning to appeal a National Court decision upholding a Ministerial decision to refuse the granting of a mining exploration licence to them.

Justice Leka Nablu delivered her ruling on April 27th 2018 following a judicial review sought by Indochine and Summit, on the former Mining Minister, Byron Chan’s decision not to grant Summit the exploration licence (EL 1093) over the Mt Kare Au-Ag Project area.

In a statement, Summit says it respects the Court process that gave rise to the decision, but intends to immediately review the published judgement when available to determine the appropriate grounds for appeal.

The Company’s and Summit’s view is that an appeal is the only way for Summit to secure its rightful tenure of the exploration licence and undertake the development of the Mt Kare project.

The company says it is financially solvent (it is not under any form of external administration), has a strong technical team in place and is fully capable of performing its obligations under the existing, or any further, exploration licence that is granted in respect of the Mt Kare area.

1 Comment

Filed under Exploration, Papua New Guinea

Judgement on Mt Kare Project EL soon

Cedric Patjole | Loop PNG | April 21, 2018

judgement on the Judicial Review into a Government decision to refuse Summit Development Limited’s (SDL) application to renew Exploration Licence (EL) over the Mt Kare Project will be delivered on 27 April 2018.

The Judicial Review was instituted by Indochine Mining Limited in December 2015 following a Ministerial decision not to renew SDL’s EL 1093.

The Judicial Review was heard on 5th September 2017 by Justice Leka Nablu, who has reserved her decision till the date mentioned.

Indochine acquired the Mt Kare Gold Project in Enga Province in 2011.

Leave a comment

Filed under Exploration, Papua New Guinea

Indochine falls out with PNG authorities

The gloves are off in the dispute between Indochine and the MRA

Seems the gloves are off in the dispute between Indochine and the MRA

MRA slams licence refusal

The National aka The Loggers Times | 7 March 2016

THE Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) says it is concerned about statement made by Indochine regarding a mining licence held by its subsidiary Summit Development Company (SDC).
MRA noted the Australian Security Exchange announcement last Wednesday released by Indochine in relation to former EL (exploration licence) 1093, which was held by SDC since 2010.  
According to the announcement, Indochine was considering legal actions following Mining Minister Byron Chan’s refusal to award SDC to renew licence EL1093. 
The company said it was disappointed that it was not advised that its application was refused and the reason for the refusal, which may have provided the company an opportunity to deal with the reasons. 
It said this was after they had completed all key milestones required by the Mineral Resources Authority.
Mineral Resources Authority managing director Philip Samar said Indochine made 21 points in relation to the tenement renewal process for EL 1093 , which included:

  • At the end of the term of the tenement (28 August 2014), amongst other matters of non-compliance, there was a sum of outstanding compensation owed by Summit to Mt Kare landowners pursuant to conditions in the EL 1093 licence. This outstanding compensation was consequently paid by the administrators in mid-2015; 
  • Mineral Resources Authority wrote to Summit, at its registered tenement holder address in Port Moresby, on 8 January 2016 notifying it of the Minister’s decision and enclosing a copy of the signed and dated refusal instrument. 
  • the Mining Act does not require the notification of a tenement extension refusal, nor is there a Mining Act obligation to provide reasons for such a decision; and, 
  • Mineral Resources Authority can confirm it has received from Summit a new application for the ground at Mt Kare, but under the system of first in time priority under the Mining Act lodgement regime, this application is currently the 4th application received. 

17 Comments

Filed under Exploration, Papua New Guinea

Breakthrough claimed for Mount Kare people

mt kare landowners

Alfred Kaniniba | Post Courier

Mt Kare, the mountain that brought the biggest gold rush in modern PNG history and with it a curse to the landowners bringing infighting, disharmony and ill-feelings for more than 30 years, is now in the past.

The disputing parties from the Enga and Hela Provinces have been assisted to formally engage and dialogue with each other through a mediated agreement under the National Court’s alternate dispute resolution program.

The dispute resolution program will target the land on which the exploration licence 1093 was granted and previously saw five developers come and go with legitimate and paper landowners ending up embroiled in bitter legal battles over ownership of the land.

The ADR was implemented under the leadership of National Court Judge Ambeng Kandakasi who brought all the Mt Kare clans together from Enga and Hela.

On July 18 and 19, 2015, all landowners with interests within EL 1093 agreed to go to mediation as per the Mediation Order of March 2015, and after freely and willingly participating in the process agreed to 10 terms of agreement.

The first terms states: “The Parties will avoid the long process of litigation in court and solve any future dispute or conflict or differences between them over landownership in mutually acceptable ways as a first option.

The terms also include: “The parties recognised 19 clans as the exclusive landowning clans within the boundaries of EL 1093. Twelve from the Paiela-Based landowning clans of Enga Province and seven from the Tagali–based landowning clans of Hela Province.

It also calls for: “The landowner parties in this agreement identified agree to organise themselves into properly incorporated land groups in accordance with the Incorporated Land Groups Act and the National Government, Enga Provincial Government, Hela Provincial Government and Summit Develop0ment Limited (or its successor or successors) may use their best endeavours to assist the landowner parties.”

During the weekend the Paiela-based clans said they were happy with the mediated agreement and are now looking forward to fast track the project.

Team leader of the 12 Enga clans Ben Hewape said it was now time for Mt Kare to move forward and called on the Government and the Enga Provincial Government help them progress.

Mr Hewape from the Leyapi clan and John Tarale from the Komai clan who spoke on-behalf of the Pakeya, Terewane, (Heli Paiela), Yangeyame, and Yamondaka clan leaders present in Port Moresby as well as the Yolo, Kewai, Tini-Pulumani, Angalani, and Pujero clans called on the Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas to seriously look at helping them, now that a way forward has been agreed to.

“We are calling on the national government and especially our action governor Sir Peter through the provincial government to help is with a mobilisation fund to help our ILGs verification of our clan lists with our lawyers to fast track development.

Leave a comment

Filed under Human rights, Papua New Guinea