Tag Archives: Newcrest Mining

PNG Mine Waste woes an indictment of 30 years of mining and the double standards of the mining industry

Thirty years of mining by the world’s largest mining companies but PNG still needs foreign aid because it can’t manage mine waste. The mining industry dares to describe PNG laws and regulations as ‘world class’ while indigenous people struggle with the impacts of the environmental destruction they cause. BHP, Rio Tinto, Barrick, Newcrest, Harmony Gold and the rest would not dare to pollute and destroy in their home countries but they are happy to shit all over PNG…

Deal to improve mine waste management

The National aka The Loggers Times

THE Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is partnering with PNG to control mine waste management in the country.

The deal was signed between JICA, the Mineral Resources Authority, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazard Management (DMPGM) and Conservation and the Environment Protection Authority in Port Moresby last Friday.
Reviews from DMPGM showed that PNG lacked comprehensive policies and regulation frameworks to control increasing mining activities within the country in last decade resulting in considerable amount of mine pollution affecting surrounding environments where mine activities were present.

MRA managing director Philip Samar said: “PNG currently has nine operating mines and these mines have their fair share of contribution in terms of mine wastes whether it’s generated from the mine, industrial waste from fuel; all of those are waste from mine.

“Look at the next ten years, four next world class mines are set to come on stream … Wafi, bigger than Ok Tedi, Frieda, Yandera and Mt Kare plus two others. If we are not able to manage the wastage, that put out by the existing nine then we are simply playing a catch up game. Mine waste is something that needs to be managed and managed well.”

JICA chief representative Shigeru Sugiyama said technical cooperation between the agency (JICA) and PNG would ensure that development of the country’s mining sector was economically stable and at same time environmentally responsible.

“This cooperation will improve the strategic framework of environmental management focused on waste from mines across the country,” he said.

“Parallel with framework its output is set to come up with data collection analysis of mine waste. This output is expected to assist the PNG Government in the mining sector, to elevate the capacity of capturing and monitoring the overall impact of mining activity and contribute to improve the transparency in the sector.”

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‘Numerous social and environmental challenges’ limit Porgera value to less than $100 million


Gold giants on hunt for Barrick mines

Bridget Carter and Gretchen Friemann | The Australian

Newcrest, OceanaGold and China’s mining goliath, Zijin, are among the seven to eight contenders pursuing Barrick’s two gold mine assets, according to sources, despite the increasingly skittish conditions for the yellow metal.

Indicative bids on the Credit Suisse-run process are due on April 2 but prospects are now fading for a $1 billion price tag.

It’s understood up to eight contenders have entered the race for the two mines on the block, the Cowal mine in NSW and the Porgera project in Papua New Guinea.

However, value expectations for the two assets have dwindled with a deal likely to be struck at about the $800 million mark.

The more bearish price assumptions gained greater strength last week after UBS published a research note assessing Cowal’s value, by far the larger and more attractive asset, at $665m.

While the Swiss bank’s analysts highlighted that operating gold mines tended to change hands for less than the approximate net present value, insiders pinpointed $700m as a reasonable price tag.

Porgera, located in PNG’s highlands and beset by numerous social and environmental challenges, is expected to fetch close to $100m.

Barrick’s decision to jettison the bulk of its Australian and PNG assets — it will retain a half share in Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines, which runs the Super Pit, has long been in the offing.

The Canadian miner, and the world’s largest gold producer, considered divesting Cowal, 350km west of Sydney, two years ago when the gold price was far higher the outlook far rosier. Back then the mooted price hit close to $800m. While many regard Zijin, the Chinese mining group that owns most of Norton Gold Fields as among the most likely suitor, it’s understood gold and copper producer, Newcrest, is also casting an eye over the portfolio.

News of its involvement comes as the Melbourne-based miner continues to feel the pressure from a class-action lawsuit launched last year by Slater & Gordon.

That case, which had been expected to start later this year, has now been delayed until early 2016.

It’s understood Newcrest and Slater & Gordon have squabbled over the scale of provision of information so far with a hearing scheduled next week in the Melbourne federal court aimed at resolving the discovery problem.

However, the looming class action, characterised by many investors as a minor irritant, has left little dent on the miner’s acquisitive ambitions.

OceanGold is also viewed as a contender given its intentions to expand to three or four producing assets in two to three countries.

UBS ranked the company as the fourth most likely buyer for Barrick’s mines, with Independence Group considered the most logical suitor due to its healthy balance sheet, a refreshed board and keen growth aspirations.

Barrick’s auction comes amid an increasingly uncertain outlook for the yellow metal as a rally in the US dollar continues to pile on pricing pressure. These conditions are unlikely to sway the Canadian miner’s course though as it tackles a near $US3bn ($4bn) debt pile.

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Watut Union wants more time for Environment Consultation

DEC only allowing 28 days for community submissions

DEC has not given communities copies of the proposed environmental plan

Previous payments for environmental damage as low as K4 and K11 per family 

Sylvester Gawi | EMTV

The Union of Watut River communities in Morobe province have expressed concerns over the environmental damages that may happen when the Wafi mine comes into operation.

They claimed that damages done by mine tailings from the Hidden Valley mine in previous years were not compensated well by the Morobe Mining Joint Venture.

They are now calling on the Department of Environment and conservation to give enough time for the impacted communities to be consulted before an Environmental permit is approved.

The Union is saying that the 20 days given by the Department of Environment and Conservation to review Wafi mine’s environmental permit is inadequate.

They are now asking for the timeframe to be extended until the end of this month, to give enough time for them to consult the communities in the impacted areas of the mine.

President of the Union of Watut River communities, Reuben Mete, says they cant allow the permit to be approved without consulting the people.

“We want an expension of time so that the people of Upper Watut, Mumeng, Wampar and Salamaua LLGs be given ample time for discussions on issues that will be affecting them regarding the Wafi gold mine,” says Mete.

The union claimed that in previous years, communities affected by tailings from the Hidden Valley mine were not compensated well.

Payment documents from previous incidents revealed that locals were paid as low as K4 and K11 for damages done to their plants and food gardens.

What the union wants to see is impacted areas; especially riverine communities are consulted and fully informed on compensation methods before a permit is approved.

Chairman of Mining in the Morobe Provincial Executive Council, Okam Paton, has denied being consulted by the Department of Environment and Conservation.

He is expected to bring this matter to Tutumang’s attention when they convene this Thursday.

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Fiji government silent on Namosi mining dispute

‘No Comment’

Ana Sovaraki | Fiji Sun

The Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources will not comment further on the dispute between Namosi landowners and the Namosi Joint Venture (NJV).

Last month, head of the Mataqali Nabukebuke, Daniele Vakatawabai of Namosi Village claimed there was a split among the landowners.

He said this led to a roadblock carried out by those causing the split in the area which was being explored for minerals by the NJV.

Lands Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa said they were not commenting because they we’re dealing with sensitive mataqali issues.

“We have asked the mataqali to try and resolve the issues internally so that we can move forward with this development. I believe at the moment they are addressing the issue and they will come back to us if a decision has been made,” Ms Vuniwaqa said.

Meanwhile, she said following the ministry’s lands consultation, landowners were now well informed.

“Misinformation was there; it was very evident prior to elections and in the first few weeks after elections,” Ms Vuniwaqa said.

She said the public consultations that were carried out were in relation to the formalisation of informal settlements.

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Golpu good for foreign investors but how will it benefit PNG’s rural majority?

While a small local elite and foreign mining companies have made their fortunes out of PNG’s mineral resources, rural people in PNG have suffered the environmental and social damage while seeing local services actually deteriorate. Why will the outcomes be any different with planned new mines like Golpu… 

PNG mines are good for fat cats like Harmony CEO Graham Briggs but not for local people

PNG mines are good for fat cats like Harmony CEO Graham Briggs but not for local people

Harmony leans on Golpu to diversify, limit risk

Natasha Odendaal | Mining Weekly

Harmony Gold’s new “game changing” copper and gold play in Papua New Guinea would enable a more risk-diverse portfolio, with the company now “getting into position” to develop its 50% joint venture project with Australian gold miner Newcrest Mining.

The $2.3-billion Golpu project showed a “spectacular” orebody with a large copper component that was “affordable and mineable” and its development would be a “big focus” this year, Harmony CEO Graham Briggs said during a conference call on Monday.

The gold miner had applied for an environmental permit from Papua New Guinea’s Department of Environment and Conservation to start advanced exploration and feasibility support activities, including the development of access roads, decline development to the orebody and associated works.

Following the completion of the prefeasibility study covering Stage 1 development, which targeted the upper higher value portion of the orebody, the company had now completed the Stage 2 concept study, which demonstrated a technically feasible and economically viable plan to mine and process the remaining portion of the Golpu copper-gold reserve after depletion of Stage 1.

Stage 1 targeted first production in 2020 and was expected to have a life of about 27 years.

Harmony, which aimed to fund the earlier stages of the project from internal cash flows, was also reviewing other funding options for the latter stages.

During Stage 1, 146-million tonnes would be extracted at an average grade of 1.02 g/t of gold and 1.6% copper.

The proposed start-up production rate is three-million tonnes a year, mined from Block Cave (BC) 1, and six-million tonnes a year, mined from the deeper BC 2.

Stage 2 would focus on BC 3.

The attributable yearly production for Harmony was a “significant” average of 500 000 gold-equivalent ounces a year from 2024 to 2029.

During the second quarter of the 2015 financial year, Harmony’s headline loss a share widened to 114c, from the 61c in the preceding quarter. The group’s basic loss a share plunged more than 100% from 61c in the first quarter of the year, to 197c apiece in the quarter ended December 31.

Harmony’s net loss for the quarter under review increased to R856-million, compared with the net loss of R266-million posted in the September 2014 quarter.

Harmony reported a 16% decline in revenue to R3.7-billion owing to a 14% decrease in gold sold to 275 851 oz and a 2% decrease in the rand gold price received to R432 963/kg.

The group also reported a 10% decrease in gold production to 271 963 oz, which, in addition to a lower gold price, also led to a decrease in production profit to R618-million in the December quarter, compared with R913-million in the previous quarter.

“Gold production during the March 2015 quarter is expected to be higher once Kusasalethu [mine’s] restructuring is finalised and Hidden Valley returns to full production, positioning our operations to benefit from higher gold prices,” Briggs said.

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Newcrest Mining Rides a Gold Roller-Coaster


One kilogram gold bars sit in a wooden storage box. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG NEWS

Lihir Mine Continues to be a Headache

Rhiannon Hoyle | The Wall Street Journal

Few companies have experienced the ups and downs of the commodities cycle like Newcrest Mining Ltd., Australia’s biggest gold producer, whose shares have soared as high as 36 Australian dollars (US$28) and crashed to as low as A$7 over the past three years.

One of the worst periods was 2013, when Australia’s securities watchdog began investigating the company’s disclosure practices; its chairman and chief executive both said they were quitting; and it was forced into a humiliating US$6 billion write-down of assets it purchased during gold’s decadelong bull run.

More recently, Newcrest has begun to recover some of its shine. Its shares are trading at an 18-month high, buoyed by the weekslong run-up in gold prices amid concern over the health of the global economy. And on Friday, Newcrest surprised investors by setting a higher annual production target.

The company said it expected to produce between 2.3 million and 2.5 million troy ounces of gold in the year through June, compared with an earlier 2.2 million-2.4 million forecast. Management also reported a 2.7% increase in gold output in the final three months of last year, and lifted its estimate for copper output in the current fiscal year by up to 20%.

The brighter news, announced in a second-quarter update, follows a spate of production downgrades in recent years, and routine disappointment for shareholders when hoped-for guidance upgrades failed to materialize.

A one-time darling of Australia’s share market, Newcrest has faced setbacks of almost every sort: from engineering faults at its mines and rain disrupting operations to unexpected tax bills. The producer, which was forced into write-downs as recently as August, has been working hard to rebuild its image by focusing on improving the reliability of its global operations.

Still, Friday’s upgrades failed to put much of a spark under Newcrest’s stock, which has already risen by more than 25% this year. Investors remain concerned, mainly, about the outlook for its Lihir mine in Papua New Guinea, which Newcrest acquired as part of its A$9.5 billion takeover of Australian-listed rival Lihir Gold Ltd. back in 2010.

The mine, which Newcrest had high hopes for, has faced repeated setbacks, including several unplanned disruptions caused by problems with processing machinery and conveyor belts at its facilities.

“Lihir continues to underperform against its potential,” Newcrest’s chief executive, Sandeep Biswas, said on Friday, but added that he was confident the right strategy and people were now in place to boost production at the operation. Gold output at the facility was below the company’s expectations and costs rose, the company said in the quarterly update.

The performance of Newcrest’s other operations was patchy. It recorded strong second-quarter output at its Cadia and Telfer mines in Australia, but weaker-than-anticipated production at its Gosowong mine in Indonesia and Hidden Valley operation in Papua New Guinea.

A pullback in the gold price in recent days is also causing investors to tread carefully, according to local fund managers. Gold futures posted their sharpest decline—2.4%–in more than a year on Thursday as a more-hawkish Federal Reserve signaled the U.S. economy was strengthening, dampening demand for bullion which is often treated as a haven in turbulent times.

“Even if management resolve the issues at Lihir, it’s certainly going to be a difficult proposition to show increasing profits when gold faces such a big macro headwind,” said Angus Gluskie, managing director of White Funds Management in Sydney, pointing to the scope for the greenback to strengthen when U.S. interest rates eventually climb, reducing the allure of gold to investors.

_ _ _ _ _

Newcrest lifts gold production target

AUSTRALIA’S biggest gold miner Newcrest has lifted its full year production target while lowering its costs.

CHIEF executive Sandeep Biswas said he was happy with Newcrest’s Australian mines, but disappointed with the performance of its major Lihir operations in Papua New Guinea, which achieved a lower than expected production increase.

Milling operations at another PNG mine were also stopped for 17 days following the death of a worker in early December.

Stronger than expected overall production in the three months to December was achieved as capacity upgrades at Newcrest’s largest Australian operation, in NSW’s central west, progressed ahead of schedule.

Newcrest now expects to produce between 2.3 million and 2.5 million ounces of gold in the 2014/15 year, up 100,000 ounces on its previous guidance.

Copper production guidance has also been lifted to a range of 90,000 to 100,000 tonnes, up from the previous guidance of 75,000 to 85,000 tonnes.

Newcrest also lowered its full year all-in sustaining cost guidance, to a range of $2.3 billion and $2.5 billion, due to stronger copper production and improved efficiencies.

But the company’s shares have fallen, as the gold price endured its sharpest drop in more than a year.

The price fell due to a stronger US dollar, and a move by traders into other investments in anticipation of an interest rate rise in the US.

Newcrest shares dropped 14 cents to $13.56.

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Fiji: Namosi Roadblock Explained

Maika Bolatiki | Fiji Sun 

Landowners in Namosi Village are split, claims the head of the mataqali Nabukebuke in the village Daniele Vakatawabai.

This had led to a roadblock in the area being explored for mining  by the Namosi Joint Venture.

Mr Vakatawabai told the Fiji Sun at Namosi Village yesterday that the roadblock has now been lifted and the Namosi Joint Venture could use the road.

“Those who carried out the roadblock are causing the split,” he said.

He added the Namosi Joint Venture wanted to caryy out drilling at Wainaba, but other companies had already carried out drilling at that place.

“Na qivaqiva sa vakayacori oti e Wainaba mai na yabaki 70 kei na 80, (Drilling at Wainaba had started in the 1970s and 80s),” he said.

“Last year, there was a change in our committee as all the former committee members were not re-elected.”

The new committee, he said, had laid out a five-year dalo planting plan for the clan and the advice from the Namosi Joint Venture was to involve the Ministry ofAgriculture so that Government was involved.

The officers from the Ministry of Agriculture responded positvely to the mataqali’s request and Mr Vakatawabai said they conducted a survey and tested the soil at Wainiba.

“The soil at Wainaba was found to be good for our dalo project and it is mataqali land,” he said.

“Just when we were about to start with this project at Wainiba, the roadblock started.

“As head of the mataqali Nabukebuke, I’m querying as to why this group within the clan erected the roadblock.”

He said the group said they were erecting the roadblock because the piece of land was for them to feed on (kanakana).

However, Mr Vakatawabai said currrently members of the Nabukebuke clan were planting on land given to them and they wanted to move their plantation to their own piece of land, but the group just erected the roadblock.

He said they wanted to move to that piece of land because the company wanted to carry out drilling further up. Mr Vakatawabai did not want to go into details about this issue, as it was now a Police case.

On their project, he said currently they had 55,000 dalo plants on the ground and in February, they would plant another 55,000.

Village headman and spokesman, Atonio Anasa said Namosi Joint Venture had supplied them with manure, weedicide, three chainsaws, 20 knapsacks, 20 digging forks, 50 manure Teitei blender, 20 barbed wire coils, drums, nails, hammers, etc. The company, he said, bought the clan $31,000 worth of farming equipments.

He claimed no financial assistance has come from Government and they were hoping help would come their way one day.

They have the market and the plan is to send a container of dalo every month overseas.

Mr Anasa said Police were at Namosi yesterday to continue their investigation on the roadblock.

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