Tag Archives: Newcrest Mining

Fiji: Newcrest tries to defend operations in face of landowner opposition

namosi

NJV: Only Mineral Exploration And Technical Studies For Namosi Now

Rachna Lal | Fiji Sun

The Namosi Joint Venture has once again reiterated that no mining activities have begun for the proposed Namosi Mine.

Country manager, Greg Morris, has stated it will be undertaking mineral exploration and technical studies but not mining.

The company’s Special Prospecting Licence (SPL) 1420 has been renewed for the period April 1, 2015 until March 31, 2020 by the Government.

See also:
Fiji landowners reject mining
Ninety-two percent oppose mining exploration
Mineral Resource Department has no respect for landowners

Mr Morris confirmed they are also aware of some landowner objections to this renewed license.

But he said the SPL renewal went through a very thorough and comprehensive review process by the Government.

“We acknowledge the diligence of the Minister and Ministry officials in this process and that the majority of landowners within the SPL supported the SPL renewal,” he said.

Mr Morris further assured:

“NJV has in conjunction with the landowners completed all the rehabilitation work associated with past exploration activity which has been signed off by Government and Landowner representatives.”

Community contribution

Further to this, Mr Morris confirmed that over the past five years, the Namosi Joint Venture has used over $2.8 million as part of its community assistance programme in Namosi.

The company’s community programmes have included support for a variety of programmes in its host communities and surrounding villages in the order to $900,000.

It has also provided tertiary education assistance to 856 students to a value of $978,000.

As well as the company has made compensation payments of $960,000 to those Mataqali where they undertake exploration activities.

“Land owner and community consultation is a feature of our approach to date and this will continue,” Mr Morris said.

“Our commitment is to ensure that the landowners and local communities are fully-informed of our activities.

“Environmental management aspects are incorporated into all NJV activities and NJV will continue to take its environmental and community responsibilities seriously.”

The renewal

The Special Prospecting Licence renewal allows the Namosi Joint Venture to progress the Environmental and Social Impact assessment studies for the Waisoi Project.

Mr Morris said it allows them to undertake further mineral exploration within the Special Prospecting Licence area as well as ongoing community development programmes.

“The Waisoi Project is in the prefeasibility study stage and NJV is undertaking an extensive environmental and social impact assessment,” he said,

“No decision has been made to develop the project.

“Once completed, the environmental and social impact assessment will be presented to government.

“This is so that an informed assessment can be made as to the projects impacts and benefits and whether a mine at Waisoi can be built safely, economically and in an environmentally acceptable manner.”

Some General background:

The Namosi Joint Venture (NJV) is a group of three companies who have come together to explore for and potentially mine mineral resources in Namosi and Naitasiri Provinces.

  • NJV includes Newcrest (Fiji) Ltd (70%), Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (28%) and Nittetsu Mining Co. Ltd (2%). Newcrest is the operator and manager of the NJV.
  • NJV has been granted a Special Prospecting License (SPL 1420) by the Fiji Government to explore for minerals in the Namosi region, about 30kms west of Suva. The licence area is primarily in Namosi and Naitasiri Provinces.
  • In addition to exploration, NJV is studying whether a gold and copper mine could be developed at Waisoi in Namosi.
  • The Government has confirmed that under the Environmental Act 2005, the Waisoi Project requires an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) to be undertaken to assess the potential impacts of a mine in the area.
  • The Waisoi Project ESIA is underway and is anticipated to be completed in late 2016.

Leave a comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Exploration, Fiji, Human rights

Fiji government tries to defend Namosi exploration

mineral resources

No Grounds To Reject Licence, Says Ps For Mineral Resources 

Maika Bolatiki | Fiji Sun

The Namosi Joint Venture (NJV) was given an exploration licence because there were no grounds to reject its application, says Permanent Secretary for Lands and Mineral Resources Tevita Boseiwaqa.

He was yesterday reacting to the claim by the Tikina Namosi Landowners Committee (TNLC) that they were not consulted on the issue of the licence.

TNLC co-chair Agavito Koroimanono told the media that there was no consultation made and they wanted NJV to stop the exploration on their land.

“The Prime Minister had once stopped the exploration and now they are still continuing with the agreement of the Minister for Lands and Minerals by renewing the exploration licence SPL 1420,” Mr Koroimanono said.

He said they were never asked to give their consent, so their voices weren’t heard.

See also:

Fiji landowners reject mining

Ninety-two percent oppose mining exploration

Mineral Resource Department has no respect for landowners

Mr Boseiwaqa however said when NJV applied for the renewal of the licence they had to follow procedures before the approval was made.

The Ministry of Land and Mineral Resources officers led by the Deputy Permanent Secretary and the director of lands had visited the villages to hear from the landowners themselves and they had given their support.

“Their voices were heard.”

They then made their technical verification and also certified the support on the ground.

He said they concluded that NJV had fulfilled all the requirements needed and there was no ground for them to reject the application.

“All the landowners gave their support.”

However, Mr Koroimanono maintained they had been ignored and demanded NJV to stop the exploration. He said they would now seek a meeting with the Prime Minister as they represented the majority of the landowners.

They were totally against mining in Namosi and wanted another type of development carried out on their lands earmarked for mining exploration.

He said as of yesterday they had received no replies to all their correspondences in regard to the issue and this included the Prime Minister’s Office.

Leave a comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Fiji, Human rights

More on the Namosi landowners dispute with their government

namosi protest

Fiji: State grants lease

Sikeli Qounadovu | The Fiji Times

THE five-year extension of the Namosi Joint Venture Company’s special prospecting licence by the Government has drawn opposition from some landowners.

Two months ago, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama ensured Fiji and the Namosi landowners that the environment would always come first.

While there has been a strong opposition from the Tikina Namosi Landowners Committee (TLNC), Minister of Lands Mereseini Vuniwaqa confirmed “due diligence was carried out by Government prior to the renewal of the SPL”.

“This included environmental and social verifications,” she said.

“After these verifications Government was satisfied that the SPL could be renewed, hence the renewal.

“Extensive consultations were carried out by the ministry with the landowners in its quest to hear directly from landowners. These consultations were over and above our legal obligations for renewal but it was done because we wanted to know the stance of relevant landowners. We were also happy with the outcome of these consultations.”

However, the issue has caused divisions in villages with at least the mataqali Nabukebuke, whose land is being occupied by NJV, split on the extension of the licence.

NJV, who are prospecting for gold and copper in the Namosi area, had its operations suspended by Government, who were adamant the environment needed to be protected first.

The Tikina Namosi Landowners Committee (TNLC) is seeking the Primer Minister’s intervention to terminate the work being carried out by the Namosi Joint Venture (NJV).

TNLC secretary Ana Vulakoto claims 92 per cent of landowners have agreed for the termination of the special prospecting licence (SPL 1420) which was given by the Government to NJV in exploring minerals in the Namosi area.

Ms Vulakoto said since NJV started with its SPL 1420 operations, they had not received any environment impact assessment despite numerous requests.

“Our people have been living with the impact of prospective mining companies in our land for over 40 years. Our daily experience has taught us that the land of our forefathers is what that gives us life, not mining. The forest, the soil, the waterways, the air we breathe, provide for our people every day,” she said.

“All we are asking Government for is not to stress our environment. We have reached a stage we have become tired, disillusioned and frustrated with its plans to destroy our land.”

NJV land manager Netava Bakaniceva said the company was not aware of protests or grievances from the landowners and that there was no destruction to the environment as claimed by the landowners.

Meanwhile, according to the TNLC members a villager who was against the exploration of the land was yesterday arrested by police for setting up a roadblock.

Fiji Police Force spokesperson Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri confirmed that a man from Namosi was arrested by Navua police yesterday.

Leave a comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Fiji, Financial returns, Human rights

Namosi Landowners adamant about mining

namosi protest

Pacific Network on Globalization via Loop PNG

The Tikina Namosi Landowners Committee (TNLC) today called on the Honorable Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to intervene in the ongoing dispute regarding exploration for minerals in the province of Namosi.

The call on the Prime Minister to intervene in the Namosi mining issue comes after7 years of considered negotiations between majority landowner interests, the mining company Namosi Joint Ventures (NJV) and the Department of Mineral Resources.

TNLC Co-Chair, Mr. Agavito Koroimanono today confirmed that they have offered to help the Fiji Government deliver it’s green growth strategy through the promotion of eco-tourism to take advantage of the natural beauty of Namosi such as camping, mountain villas, bird watching, cable cars for sightseeing of natural forest, famous bilibili ride from Namosi down to Nausori as well as mountain climbing.  In addition to undertake Government sponsored sustainable agricultural projects, and underground water bottling.

The offer to contribute to Fiji’s economic growth however does not include mining or sustainable mining said Co-Chair Agavito.

The call for the Prime Minister to intervene comes after the recent decision to renew SPL 1420 issued by the Minister for Mineral Resources Hon. Mereseini Vuniwaqa. She had renewed the extension for the exploration license 1420 without the knowledge nor the consent of the majority of the landowners of Namosi in what the TNLC is calling a serious breach of trust in ongoing negotiations.

“This is especially when the Honorable Minister has promised TNLC to inform them with the result of the consultation done by her Ministry which she has failed miserably to do,” Mr. Agavito said.

“TNLC have consistently demonstrated their good faith in negotiations with the respective department and the Minister responsible for mining by conducting extensive consultations and a secret vote to determine whether the extension for the exploration license should be terminated or granted.  The outcome of the secret vote within the Namosi Tikina, Tikina Wainikoroiluva and Tikina Waidina demonstrates an overwhelming support where 92% of the people voted for termination of the exploration license which the Minister responsible has chosen to ignore in her decision making process, said TNLC Co-Chair Agavito Koroimanono.

The majority decision for the termination of the exploration license comes after 47 years of history of experiencing the ill effects of exploration amongst the people of Namosi which TNLC have informed PM about back in 2012.  We have experienced firsthand what exploration for minerals means for our water systems, our livelihoods, our environment, and our culture, he said.

It is this experience which drives the majority of the people in Namosi through TNLC to stand up and support other forms of productive economic activities such as eco-tourism and agriculture to contribute towards Fiji’s economic growth.

TNLC believes that the GREEN ECNOMY is the world most important part in its ecosystem and without it the world plus man would collapse anytime. Engaging with sustainable development is another way of supporting the Government approach of preventing climate change, Mr. Agavito said.

Mr. Agavito stressed that TNLC value creation as it was the beginning of life. We believe and support that everything created was created for a special reason. Man should search for this only special reason in order to harmonize the purpose of why the Creator created it, he highlighted.

Leave a comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Fiji, Human rights

To Get and Get Out: The story behind Lihir

It seems an immutable trade off: the greater the rights of corporations, the less the rights of real persons, we indigenous people…

“The company has spoilt our environment…I don’t know what the future holds for us”. Mrs. Francisca Wesparo and Thecka Inial are the only remaining elderly women at Londolovit.

“The company has spoilt our environment…I don’t know what the future holds for us”. Mrs. Francisca Wesparo and Thecka Inial are the only remaining elderly women at Londolovit.

Cyril Gare | PNG Blogs

When the Airlines PNG Dash 8 aircraft touched down on Lihir airport on Aug 9, 2015 I couldn’t believe that this rich gold mining township airport runaway is bare soil, sending clouds of dust backwards as we taxi in to park at the small terminal nearby. For a first timer, first impression counts. The miner is not serious in sealing the runway. ‘They’re here to get and get out’. The ring road around the airport parameters are bare soil. Even Camp 1 and 2 which houses the official residence of the Newcrest Mining Limited (NML) general manager, Craig Jetson is bare soil causing dust everywhere each time a vehicle passes through.

Parts of Lihir Island have sealed roads and permanent houses because of mining benefits except the West Coast where almost nothing is there; roads are neglected for years, people leave in traditional hamlets and evidence of neglect are sporadic. But thanks to the missions especially the Catholic Church for being there with them and providing basic health and education opportunities.

Newcrest Mining Ltd (formerly Lihir Gold Limited, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto) is the world’s sixth largest gold producer. It abstracts gold from the Luise Caldera, an extinct volcanic crater that is geothermally active, and holds one of the largest known gold deposits in the world.

Lihir Island has a population of about 8,000. This is about the size of one big Motuan village alone. One wonders why the rich gold mine operating on their island or group of islands provides for few and not all.  In fact, the Lihir mining agreement – which I wasn’t privileged to see a copy – covers for Kapit and Putput villages only all to the great disadvantage of the rest. Their landowner company – Lihir Mining Area Landowners Association or LMALA is currently under fraud investigations causing uncertainties among beneficiary villagers.

There isn’t a thing called ‘mine affected villages’ like in other resource development agreements in Papua New Guinea. Hence, villages in the West Coast and that of Londolovit situated in the bay miss out greatly.

To the left is the Lihir township and to the right is the mine wastes from both the town and mine impact on Londolovit. NML dumps waste rocks into the sea to reclaim land by some 200 metres so far and is still extending is prowess on reclamation. Land claimed is where the processing plant, incinerator, etc are built.

Whether land reclamation is in the mining agreement or not cannot be ascertained. The facts are that the beautiful shoreline between Londolovit, Kapit and Putput villages is gone forever. Their children now can only see photographs to imagine their once very beautiful coastline.

Villagers say fish and other marine lives are not as tasty like before and each day fear is mounting among villagers whether mine wastes (tailings) that are being dumped into the ocean do not affect marine lives which people feed on.

“In the past things were ok. Today mining has damage our natural environment.

“In the past we use salt water to cook with. Today, we are scared of using salt water because of mine wastes being dumped into the sea so we are forced to buy salt in shops with money.

“We use to wash and drink from fresh streams and creeks. Today there are no more fresh streams and creeks as the company gets all the water and later sends it back in taps which we now use to wash and drink from. This is not good water.

“This is the situation today. The company has spoilt our environment…I don’t know what the future holds for us”

Asked if their worries have been brought to the attention of their local Member of Parliament and Mining Minister, Byron Chan (Namatanai Open) and other leaders, Mrs. Wesparo said: “they know about our problem but can do little”.

At the time of my visit – Aug 9-11, 2015 – several coconut trees were uprooted as a result of high sea level and crushing waves which locals blamed on NML’s waste rock dumping activity. Coupled with climate change and sea level rise, Londolovit is destined for more trouble. Yet Londolovit and all other villages on the island are not covered under the mining agreement.

The next day visit to inland deep forested mountains of Londolovit passed through resettlement sites at Sepuk Bual, Kuanmakiat, Huonatunuo, and Lilitop finishing off at 228 dead-end. It holds settlers relocated from Kapit village, one of the two coastal villages in the Special Mining Lease (SML) area.

Firstly, the Kapi villagers lost their beautiful beach after the mine started its land reclamation activity. Secondly, their whole village was bulldozed and place taken for stockpiling of ores. NML has sighted more gold beneath their village and told them to relocate with cash incentives. Relocate to where?…into the mountains on land belonging to the Londolovit people. Again, there was no consultation. NML has no formal agreement with the Londolovit people for this repatriation exercise. If any, it would base on individual traditional landowners’ consents and not with the consent of the holistic community. This is dangerous which could result in serious repercussions in future.

Electricity and Water Cables: Pardon my limited technical knowledge but true water and electricity cables are connected parallel to each other through the main highway between the mine and the township. How safe are these connections come moments of disaster? How safe come moments of road maintenance works? Scary but true as this workmanship by NML shows.

Londolovit Dam or Weir: Newcrest is currently undertaking a major expansion of the Lihir process plant known as the Million Ounce Plant Upgrade (MOPU). The MOPU includes installation of a new crushing facility, and upgrades to the ore processing plant. Additional power generation capacity and water supply is therefore planned.

Londolovit is not getting paid for the use of their traditional water hole but the State through the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) because the agreement states that “water belongs to the State”.

NML formerly through Lihir Management Company (LMC) in a 1998 agreement pays Londolovit only for damages or “impact” on the Londolovit river environment and not for “usage” of water. The dam upstream caused decrease water level and lose of aquatic lives and other social inconveniences to the community. Payment is very minimal: K35,000 per annum then to K60,000 pa to K120,000 pa and currently at K300,000 pa.

“Yes, we’re receiving these payments but it is for environmental damages and not for actual usage of our water,” said Steven Massau, spokesman for the Londolovit impact community.

Last year, Londolovit commissioned an independent water usage investigation by a consultant and the report found gross extraction of water by LMC now NML “over and above” the permitted rates: 113,949,504,000 litres of water valued at K113, 949,504.

Currently, a delegation from Londolovit is in Port Moresby pursuing the K113 million claim.

After weeks of pursue, neither the DEC, Mineral Resources Authority, or NML owns up to pay the K113 million. They are paying marbles on them and keep passing the buck.

The last time gorgors are placed at the Londolovit weir/dam and at other mining sites was on June 6, 2015 forcing the mine to shut down for 36 hours. Collaborating with the State (MRA), NML flew in 17 heavily armed policemen who removed the gorgors and prevent further disruption by resource owners.

When the creature ‘State’ compromises with corporations the end result is political suppression and economic deprivation of fair benefits and opportunities. In addition, they leave massive and irreversible damages and destructions to our environment which holds our land and cultural heritage.

It seems an immutable trade off: the greater the right of corporations, the less the right of real person, we indigenous people.

The Ailaya rock is the only landmark left along the Lihir coastline to show where the original sea boundary was. Continuous land reclamation by NML currently is suspected of causing sea level rise and damage to marine lives to villages like Londolovit but without proof of scientific studies.

The Ailaya rock is the only landmark left along the Lihir coastline to show where the original sea boundary was. Continuous land reclamation by NML currently is suspected of causing sea level rise and damage to marine lives to villages like Londolovit but without proof of scientific studies.

That once was Kapit village is now bulldozed to the ground and people relocated to inland mountains of Londolovit without proper agreements in place. NML eyes the place because of promise of more gold deposits beneath. Pics by CYRIL GARE.

That once was Kapit village is now bulldozed to the ground and people relocated to inland mountains of Londolovit without proper agreements in place. NML eyes the place because of promise of more gold deposits beneath. Pics by CYRIL GARE.

Leave a comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Fiji: Mineral Resource Department has no respect for landowners

Fiji landowners say the Mineral Resource Department is ignoring the wishes of the people and failing to apply their own Code of Conduct in refusing to stop the exploration activities of the Namosi Joint Venture…

Mala Finau 1 Mala Finau 2 Mala Finau 3 Mala Finau 4

2 Comments

Filed under Environmental impact, Fiji, Human rights

Fiji: Ninety-two percent oppose mining exploration

Ninety -two percent of Tikina Namosi landowners oppose the extension of mining exploration rights on their land. Yet the Fiji government has ignored their pleas to favour foreign-owned mining interests – a decision the landowners have labelled as corrupt.

The landowners have now written to Prime Minister Bainimarama pleading with him to personally intervene and ensure their wishes for a green economy and protection of their land rights are respected…

Namosi 1

Namosi 2

3 Comments

Filed under Corruption, Environmental impact, Exploration, Fiji, Human rights