Tag Archives: Newcrest Mining

Zifasing community dispute MMJV claims of consent to Wafi-Golpu pipeline

harmony

newcrest

The Zifasing people in Morobe Province are accusing Harmony Gold and Newcrest Mining of lying over claims (see media story below) they have consented to the laying of a pipeline and access road for the Wafi-Golpu mine across their land. 

Kenn Mondiai

Another TWISTING of the TRUTH by the use of the Media !!!

The MAJORITY of the Zifasing Clans & Community never attended the MRA Warden’s Hearing on the 23/11/2016 (13:00pm) at Zifasing Ward 19 Wampar LLG regarding SML for Wafi Glopu to give their approval, they never agreed to the access road or the pipeline passing through their land. 

The gazetted location was “Zifasing Community Hall”, but there is no such place at Zifasing. The common and known traditional meeting place at Zifasing is the Community Meeting Place in the centre of village under the mango trees.

Instead the Warden’s Hearing was held outside and away at a Hall build by politicians far from the village centre (traditional meeting place) with a few people without ALL CLAN LEADERS & WARD 19 COUNCILLOR.

The Mining Advisory Council (MAC) should know the TRUTH !!!

Community agrees to pipeline proposal
Pisai Gumar | The National aka The Loggers Times | 25 November 2016
THE Zifasing community in Huon Gulf, Morobe agreed this week to let Morobe Mining Joint Venture (MMJV)* build an access pipeline through their land.
The pipeline from the interior Wafi-Golpu project site is anticipated to cross over the Watut and Markham rivers and run through clan land in Wampar before reaching the Lae main wharf.
Based on an MMJV mining engineering plan and the Mining Act section 108, Special Mining Lease (SML) 10 caters for mining easement 91 (ME 91) pipeline and mining easement 93 (ME 93) northern access road.
Zifasing village land mobilisation chairman Nathan Aquila told Chief Mining Warden Andrew Gunua and MMJV community affairs manager David Masani said that the entire community agreed to this pipeline proposal.
Aquila also asked whether it would be possible for MMJV to build a pump station on customary land instead of the Markham Farm, which was a State lease. Masani told Aquila that the decision to build a pump station was based on the mining engineering plan but the nature and magnitude of the operation at Wafi-Golpu would determine if there would be need be expand onto customary land in future.
Gunua and Kevin Gamenu from the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) are conducting the warden hearings with landowners at Yanta and Hengabu from Mumeng, Bulolo, Babuaf and others anticipated to be impacted by the mine pipeline and access road.
Masani told the villagers that the 32 km road would start from the interior project site and cross the major Watut and Markham rivers as well as the three small creeks.
Meanwhile, Saab-Babuaf clans from Mare and Chiatz villages interjected and raised concern over the course of the pipeline from Wafi across Watut.
They said the pipeline would encroach on their land so they would like to know the full extent of the environmental impacts.

* Harmony Gold and Newcrest Mining are the owners of Morobe Mining Joint Venture

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Hidden Valley landholders furious at MRA delays

Newcrest has sold its stake in the Hidden Valley mine to Harmony

Sampson Bonai | Post Courier | November 18,2016

THE revised Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) of the Hidden Valley gold mine in Wau is gathering dust at the Mineral Resource Authority head office in Port Moresby pending its endorsement two years ago.

A furious Nakuwi Landowners Association president Rex Mauri questioned the motive behind MRA’s delay in its endorsement of the revised agreement during a media conference in Lae yesterday:

“Why has MRA delayed the endorsement of the revised and initial agreement of Hidden Valley gold mine for its implementation two years ago?

“The revised agreement had been negotiated by all stakeholders including Morobe Mining Joint Ventures, Mineral Resources Authority, Treasury, Morobe Provincial Government and the Hidden Valley landowners in 2013-2014”.

It had been initialed and is awaiting endorsement from the government for its implementation, since four years ago.

“I’m very disappointed over the long delay and call on the relevant state agencies to fast track the approval process and endorse the revised agreement for the benefit of all stakeholders,” he said.

The outspoken president said the delay had greatly affected the three landowner villages of Nauti, Kwembu and Winima from participating in all the major spin off business activities from the mine.

He said the original Memorandum of Agreement was signed in August 5, 2005 by the developer and all the stakeholders in Wau before the commencement of the construction work on the mine in 2006. The mine began mining operations and poured its first gold bar in the first quarter of 2009. The mine was commissioned by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill on September 30, 2010. The review of the original MoA had been done after four years of operations between 2013-2014 and a revised agreement had been initialed.

He explained that the landowners have become spectators on their own land and outsiders have capitalised on the delay by taking out most of the major contracts from the mine. He called on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to intervene and direct MRA to forward the revised agreement to the Government to have it signed and endorsed.

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St Barbara’s PNG gold fails to lure precious bid

St Barbara CEO Bob Vassie

St Barbara CEO Bob Vassie

Barry Fitzgerald | The Australian | November 15, 2016

St Barbara has pulled the sale of its Papua New Guinea gold assets — including the 100,000 ounce a year Simberi mine — after bids failed to match the company’s expectations.

“While a number of potential buyers expressed interest in the PNG assets, their level of interest did not meet St Barbara’s assessment of the value of these assets,’’ the company said.

Simberi has a mine life of about two years ahead of it, with a possible seven-year life extension if a $135 million development of the operation’s sulphide mineralisation was to proceed.

St Barbara stopped short of making any decision on the sulphide project but has come up with a possible life-extending oxide solution in a joint venture with Newcrest.

Under the deal between the pair Newcrest will explore for copper-gold on St Barbara’s tenements on the nearby Tatau and Big Tabar islands.

Newcrest could earn up to a 75 per cent interest by spending $US25 million ($33m), with St Barbara retaining the rights to oxide and sulphide material capable of being treated back on Simberi, either through the existing oxide plant, or the contemplated sulphide plant.

St Barbara itself will continue to push ahead with its own exploration across the Tabar island group for life-extending ore for Simberi, if not make a stand-alone discovery.

Managing director Bob Vassie said Simberi was now consistently generating good cash flows.

“We’ve tested each strategic option for the future of the PNG assets, and we are now clear about the preferred strategic direction,’’ Mr Vassie said.

Credit Suisse mining analyst Michael Slifirski said the decision to keep Simberi in part reflected St Barbara’s reduced need for cash for debt reduction given the strong cash flows from its Australian operations.

He said the high cost and scarcity of acquiring a replacement asset and the materially improved operating performance of Simberi were also likely to have been factors.

“But reserves (at Simberi) are depleting fast.’’

St Barbara shares were caught in yesterday’s sell-off in gold equities in response to continued gold price weakness, falling 25c or 9.8 per cent to $2.28. Gold has fallen from more than $US1300 an ounce before the US election to $US1223 an ounce late yesterday.

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St Barbara retains PNG assets, forms exploration JV with Newcrest

simberi

Simberi island

Esmarie Swanepoel | Mining Weekly | 14 November 2016

Gold miner St Barbara Gold has decided to retain its Simberi operations, in Papua New Guinea, following a strategic review.

The company in February this year launched the review to evaluate “various options” for the assets, including continued ownership, exploration and development, possible joint ventures and divestment of some or all of its assets in the country.

St Barbara said on Monday that while a number of potential buyers had expressed interest in the Papua New Guinea assets, their level of interest did not meet the company’s assessment of the value of the assets.

Instead, the company has inked an option and farm-in agreement with gold miner Newcrest’s Papua New Guinea exploration arm, for copper/gold porphyry exploration on the tenements on nearby Tatau and Big Tabar Island, subject to the completion of conditions precedent.

The agreement gives Newcrest the option to earn a 75% joint venture interest on tenement holdings, and will require Newcrest to pay an initial $3-million in exploration fees over a two-year option period, conducting 4 000 m of diamond drilling.

The company can then earn a majority share in the projectareas by spending a further $25-million in exploration and drilling 32 000 m of diamond drilling, over two stages ranging up to six years.

Under the agreement, St Barbara will manage the explorationduring the initial earn-in period, and will retain the right over all oxide and sulphide material which is, or has the potential to be mill feed for existing oxide or the contemplated sulphide plant at Simberi.

In addition, St Barbara will spend between A$6-million and A$7-million in 2017 on its own exploration across the Tabar Island group, including Simberi.

MD and CEO Bob Vassie told shareholders on Monday that the strategic review had been rigorous, and that the company had tested each strategic option for the future of the Papua New Guinea assets.

“What we own in the Papua New Guinea would be difficult to replace in the current market. St Barbara’s diligent work over the last few years has successfully turned around the Simberi operation, which is now consistently generating good cash flows.

“The prospectivity of the region, and the potential for exploration discovery on the Tabar Island group is demonstrated by the significant option and farm-in agreements with Newcrest.”

Vassie said that the gold miner’s focus was on continuing exploration work to extend the oxide mine life at Simberi, improve the sulphide opportunity, maximise the value from exploration interest, and work with Newcrest to achieve success from the joint exploration

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Landholders call on Government to fast-track Land Titles for Mining town and Benefits

wafi-golpu-landowners

Scott Waide | EMTV | 26 October 2016

Leaders from five villages  in the Bulolo District who will be affected by the Wafi-Golpu project  have called  on the  National Government to  fast track the hearing of the Land Titles Commission  to determine the  ownership of the land on which the future mine sits.

They have also called  on the National Government to outline plans for the development of  a township in the Mumeng-Bulolo area.

Leaders from the five villages,  gathered at Gurako  along the  Lae-Bulolo Highway calling on the National Government to fast track  a Land Titles Commission hearing.

The concerns are longstanding  and have come  to the fore again as work towards opening one of the largest mines in PNG  progresses.

They’ve also raised questions about the  future benefits of the mine, seeking clarification  from the MRA as to where a township if any will be built in the Bulolo District.

The leaders of the villages  previously called for a response from the National government but got none.  They are among several groups claiming ownership of the area where the mine will be developed.

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Mining industry to meet in Sydney to plan further exploitation of PNG resources

PanAust-Frieda-River-Camp-Richard-Dellman_06

Frieda river mine camp

Papua New Guinea’s resources sector still has some ‘bright stars’, says Anderson

David James | Business Advantage | 19 October 2016

Times are undoubtedly tough in Papua New Guinea’s mining and petroleum sector, but as the industry prepares for its biennial conference in Sydney in December, the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum’s Greg Anderson tells Business Advantage PNG there are still ‘bright stars’ to get excited about.

In spite of encouraging rallies this year from gold and silver, global prices for mineral commodities remain  low. PNG’s mining and petroleum industry is not alone in feeling the effects.

Profits are down worldwide and exploration activity is at a low ebb.

But experienced hands like Greg Anderson, Executive Director of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, understand that the industry is cyclical in nature and that the preparatory work that will create the next upturn is already underway.

‘There are still some bright stars, in spite of the global situation,’ he tells Business Advantage PNG.

Anderson and his team at the Chamber are preparing for the 14th Papua New Guinea Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference, set to be held at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney from 5 to 7 December.

The biennial event, the industry’s major gathering, will provide a comprehensive overview of these positive developments, as well as providing updates on PNG’s many existing resource projects, including the ExxonMobil-led PNG LNG project.

More LNG to come

Anderson believes the takeover by ExxonMobil of InterOil (finally approved by a US court in the last week in September) will clear the way for greater synergies between the existing PNG LNG project and the Papua LNG project, the country’s second planned LNG development in which InterOil had a significant stake.

He expects ExxonMobil and France’s Total SA, which is the designated operator of Papua LNG, to optimise the project.

‘Papua LNG is expected to be in the lower cost quartile of LNG projects around the world,’ he observes, indicating that prospects for financing of the second LNG project are positive.

In addition to this, ExxonMobil’s promising efforts to develop the P’nyang gas field in Western Province could well underpin the opening of a third train at its LNG plant outside Port Moresby. That would be a significant expansion for a project already beating production targets.

Mining progress

‘The highly promising Frieda River and Wafi-Golpu copper-gold projects continue to make significant progress towards commencement,’ notes Anderson.

PanAust, the developer of the Frieda River project, applied for its mining lease in late June, less than a year after being acquired by Chinese provincial investment fund, Guangdong Rising Assets Management.

Newcrest Mining and joint venture partner Harmony Gold are not far behind, having applied for a special mining lease for Wafi-Golpu only last month.

Nor has exploration activity altogether stalled in PNG.

Harmony Gold, which only this month ramped up its presence in PNG by acquiring joint venture partner Newcrest’s 50% share of the Hidden Valley gold mine, is getting exciting results from its Kili Teke prospect in Hela Province. Latest estimates suggest a resource of some 1.2 million ounces of gold and half a million tonnes of copper.

Meanwhile, Anglo American and Highlands Pacific are continuing exploration activity in their joint venture in the Star Mountains in West Sepik Province, north of the Ok Tedi copper-gold mine. 

New Act

If there’s one key issue outstanding for miners, it is the proposed new Mining Act. Despite a lengthy drafting process, industry still has many major outstanding issues with the current draft.

Anderson says what PNG needs is ‘a continuation of our successful internationally competitive and stable legal, fiscal and regulatory regime so that benefits such as royalties, employment, education and training among others are maintained and that there is continuous growth in both the mining and petroleum sectors.’

The 14th Papua New Guinea Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference will be held at the Hilton Hotel, Sydney from 5 to 7 December. 

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Benefit sharing remains a great challenge

lihir

Cyril Gare | PNG Blogs | 17 October 2016

Resource development, ownership, and fair and equal sharing of benefits accrued from development projects such as mining and oil and gas remain a biggest challenge yet for Papua New Guinea 41 years on as an Independent country.

And the people of Londolovit on Lihir island, New Ireland province are among one such group of resource owners who are still searching for a correct matrix to balance the scale.

They own the traditional Londolovit river where Newcrest Mining Limited (NML) operator of the Lihir Gold Limited (LGL) extracts water for its operations since 1995.

Their fight is three fold between LMALA (Lihir Mining Area Landowners Association) who are owners of the “gold”, LGL, and State.

Their issues have been to:

  • get LMALA to acknowledge them as “water” resource owners and remit adequate benefit as possible under the Integrated Benefit Package (IBP) of the Lihir mine Agreement which stand is justified on the premise that water is fundamental in gold processing without water there will be no gold;
  • LGL to acknowledge and sign a new water use and impact agreement with them as the current water impact agreement was obsolete since it was first created in 1998 and does not include payment for water use except environment impact; and
  • State to acknowledge them as original and traditional owners of the Londolovit river and not State as stipulated in the Environment Act 2000 so that State to create a separate facility (trust account) for them to share with State all monies paid to State by LGL as issuer of water permit and “owner” (in their stead) of Londolovit river. 

It has been four years since the search for answers began. Delegation after delegation and costly trips between Lihir and Port Moresby were taken only to become a “football” kicked here and there between MRA (Mineral Resources Authority) and CEPA (Conservation and Environment Protection Authority) each shrugging off liability and responsibility alike over the Londolovit water resource owners’ issue.

It was in February this year after LGL refused to become a party in a new proposed Londolovit river water use and impact agreement that prompted the Office of the Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari (Office of the Prime Minister and National Executive Council) to show some sign of interest and intervention.

Directions were issued to CEPA to re-look at the issues of the Londolovit community. This also prompted the Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate, Hon. John Pundari to intervene and getting CEPA off its comfort zone at the Beemobile building at Gordons.

LGL had refused to become a party to sign on a new proposed water use and impact agreement that will supersede the obsolete Supplementary Agreement of 1998 which only cater for a minimal payment of K300,000 per annum for environment impacts on their traditional Londolovit river where LGL has a weir which extracts water for its mining operations.

The creation of the Londolovit Sagomana Association (LSA) through the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) on 16th February, 2016 was a breath of relief and new lease of energy and confidence to further pursue their long standing water fight.

On the 09th September, 2016, LSA Chairperson, Ms. Roselyne Arau led a small delegation to Port Moresby and held talk with Minister Pundari.

Among others, the K113 million claim against LGL for water extraction “over and above” permitted rates were discussed. Failure by State (CEPA) to effectively regulate and monitor water extraction by LGL according to the conditions of the water permit was also discussed with the view for State to admit liability for negligence.

The good Minister agreed to look into these outstanding issues and sort these issues before Christmas out once and for all. Prior to doing so, he arranged for an advance team led by CEPA’s Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Dilu Muguwa to travel to Lihir for fact finding and for a report to be presented to him within two weeks.

The advance team travelled to Lihir on October 11, met with LSA on October 12 and went through a total of nine (9) terms of references (OR) set by Environment Ministry and returned to Port Moresby on October 13.

As a State Team comprising officers from State Solicitor, MRA, CEPA, and department of PM and NEC is set to follow suit on October 24, the people of Londolovit were grateful of Minister Pundari and Chief Secretary, Ambassador Isaac Lupari for their interventions and are hoping for better soon.

In its six page written submission to CEPA’s advance team, LSA stated among other issues and demands that: “Water and Gold are two different resources. Under the existing benefit sharing arrangements such as the Integrated Benefit Package (IBP) only “gold” resource owners through LMALA tend to enjoy all the benefits compared to “water” resource owners and rest of the impacted surrounding communities on Lihir island. Although water remains the single most important resource needed to process gold, this fact has been long overlooked since the start of the mine in 1995/1997.

“The IBP is subject to jurisdiction of the LMALA management which experience so far has proven that LMALA was only bias and lack the virtue of ‘equal and fair sharing’ of benefits to the water supplying community of Londolovit and or other impacted surrounding communities. Perhaps this is to do with the mineral resource development regime in the country where “gold” resource owners are given more recognition by State and developers than “water” resource owners in mining activity areas in PNG.

“Poor management resulting in recent investigations (Business Audit) into the affairs of LMALA can only further confirm the general feeling of mistrust for LMALA management and its executives among the impacted communities on Lihir island.

“What we want:  The formation of the Londolovit Sagomana Association (LSA) which was registered with the Investment Promotion Authority on the 16th February, 2016 was an affirmation for succession away from the umbrella of LMALA who has failed to adequately stand for and in the interest of the Londolovit water resource owners since 1997.

Among others, LSA’s principal objectives in the Association’s Constitution are simply straight to the point: 

  • to conduct, encourage, promote, advance and administer development aspirations of the Londolovit people from the proceeds of Londolovit River Weir where the Lihir Gold Limited (LGL) is extracting water from for its mine operations; and 
  • to act, at all times, on behalf of and in the interest of the Members and the Association as a mining impact community. 
  • In a letter dated 14th March, 2016 to Coordinator of the Lihir Agreement Review (LAR) committee, LSA blatantly stated: “We intend to pursue our own interest as “water” resource owners in the Lihir gold project for a separate benefit package of our own. We want to have nothing to do with LMALA and the LAR process. 
  • LMALA and LGL to honour all outstanding benefits owed to Londolovit under IBP. 
  • MRA (Mining Warden) and LGL to review and honour all outstanding benefits/compensation owed to Londolovit under LMP 34 and ME 73 tenements. 
  • Option A – State to create a trust account where payments receive from LGL for the “use” of water is shared with Londolovit as traditional (original) owners of the water. The metamorphosis ‘State’ is supposed to be “custodian” to properties of traditional and customary landowners and not itself “owner”. The sacrosanctity of customary/traditional properties rights is in this way lost and stolen by this beast forever. 
  • Option B – State to intervene and impose on the LGL to review its decision why it refused to become a party to the new proposed water agreement by LSA (Londolovit). This proposed water agreement stemmed from Recommendation # 4 of the CEPA sanctioned Londolovit River Environmental Audit Report –August 2015 by Moroka Pty Ltd. 
  • Option C – All State, LGL and LSA to become parties to an all new proposed water agreement over the Londolovit river for its use, impact, and benefit sharing with the view to reaching a long lasting win win situation for all parties in future. 
  • State and LGL to resolve to an amicable outcome and pay K113 million as compensation to the Londolovit people for over extraction of their water illegally.
  • LMALA and LGL to honour all outstanding benefits owed to Londolovit under IBP. 
  • Copy of the Business Development Audit Report be provided to us forthwith for perusal and record.
  • Until Londolovit is more involved and participating from the benefits from the Lihir mining operation Lihir Agreement Review (LAR) is insignificant to the Londolovit water resource owners at its current stage. 

At the time of meeting (October 12) in Lihir, the LAR process attended by a State Team, LMALA, and LGL was in progress in Kavieng without LSA attendance after request by LAR coordination team was turned down.

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