Tag Archives: Petromin

How the elite profit while a nation suffers their incompetence

Port Moresby, a city where the elite profit while the rest suffer the consequences of their incompetence

PNG Exposed | 19 February 2018

Imagine a company that is in debt, heavily in debt and still racking up more losses.

Imagine a company that in 2016 alone lost over K354 million.

Imagine a company where the total liabilities exceed the total assets by more than K218 million.

Imagine that this is a company set up by the government to manage a nations interests in its abundant mineral resources.

Now imagine no more and say hello to Kumul Minerals Holdings Limited, formerly Petromin PNG Holdings Limited.

The figures above are from Kumul Minerals Holdings latest Annual Return, which is for the 2016 financial year.

How could a company that, according to Statute, is supposed to be the commercial enterprise that participates in mineral exploration, development, production, processing and marketing activities,on behalf of the State be run into near bankruptcy?

But never fear, the Directors, the people responsible for this appalling state of affairs are still profiting handsomely.

While the company was racking up losses of K354 million in 2016 alone its Board members were still taking a handsome pay packet:

Director Remuneration
Brown Bai K 159,759
Ian Goddard K 211,337
Jerry Wemin K 126,227
William Searson K 102,654
Richard Tengdui K 99,809
Issac Lupari K 68,232
Peter Pokawin K 23,959
Arunavu Basu K 182.816
Peter Graham K 59,028
Stanley Lira K 33,129
Richard Kuna K 34,379

 

In total K1,101,329 paid to eleven men [yes, all men, no room here for gender diversity let alone equality] many, if not all of whom, already occupy other well paid jobs.

K1.1 million paid for overseeing losses of over K354 million, losses that were almost three times greater than in the previous year, 2015 (K133 million).

And the excess does not end there. In addition to the Board remuneration, Kumul Minerals Holdings had 10 staff who earned more than K100,000 each in 2016.

One of those staff earned over K920,000, two more over K620,000, another over K450,000 and one over K300,000. Two more earned over K270,000.

In total, Kumul Minerals Holdings paid its staff just under K9 million in 2016 and spent a further K1.5 million on consultancy and professional fees.

Who is ultimately responsible for this negligent mismanagement of our nations mineral wealth, and the looting of an empty pot?

Well it has to be the trustee shareholder does it not, the person who effectively owns the company on behalf of the nation, who is none other than one Peter O’Neill.

It seems our trustee is not doing a very good job!

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Government nets next to nothing from Tolukuma mine sale

The government sold the Tolukuma gold mine to a Singapore company, Asidokona, in 2015, for a reported price of K81.35 million. However, Mine Watch can reveal, the government has only ever received K700,000.

Despite Petromin’s claims Asidokona would invest heavily in the mine infrastructure, a new road and restart production, the whole deal looked dodgy from the very start.

Then Mining Minister, Byron Chan, described Asidokona as “reputable, committed” but  Asidokona is not a mining company, it is a front for Singaporean speculator, Philip Soh Sai Kiang     .

In 2016 Mine Watch revealed that Asidokona was trying to offload the mine for US$ 212 million to a Singapore nightclub company, LifeBrandz. That deal fell through.

All the while the government has been trying to convince landowners that mining will soon recommence and they will benefit handsomely from a new royalties deal as well as the 10% shareholding agreed as part of the 2015 sale.

This was tantamount to bare faced lying by the government, as officials must have known all along that Asidokona had no intention of restarting mining and, indeed, has only ever paid a tiny proportion of the sale price.

According to an audited financial report for Kumul Minerals Holdings Limited, the successor to Petromin, the sale of Tolukuma was completed on 30 November 2015, not for the reported price of K81.35 million, but K26 million.

Even worse, only K700,000 has ever been received and the balance of K25.3 million is still outstanding.

Apparently the buyer, Asidokona, was due to pay a further K16 million on before 31 December, 2016, but never paid. A further K2 million was to be settled by 31 December 2017 and K1.4 million by 31 December 2018.

According to the directors of Kumul Minerals “recovery of the outstanding sales proceeds is considered doubtful” and the debt has been written off.

To cap the sorry saga, Tolukuma Gold Mines has now been liquidated for non payment of its debts.

The Tolukuma landowners have every right to feel they have been betrayed and deceived by government authorities.

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Nautilus Minerals working with ghosts

Nautilus Minerals has been going through a rough time recently, so rough the company is now claiming to be working in partnership with a ghost, a company that no longer exists.

Nautilus Minerals wants to be the first to mine the seabed, but has been on financial life support since last year, unable to raise the $300 million it needs to complete its preparations for mining. In the meantime it is being kept alive only by a series of short-term loans from its major shareholders.

To make matters worse, in November last year, the company supposed to be supplying the mining support vessel, the key piece of infrastructure for a seabed mining operation, cut off funding for the ship build.

With no money and no ship and forced to close its Papua New Guinea offices, perhaps it is no surprise senior staff have started bailing too. First, Chairman Russell Debney, on December 27  and then President, PNG Operations, Adam Wright.

But even given this alarming state of affairs, industry observers have been shocked to see Nautilus Minerals claiming, in its official Toronto Stock Exchange notices that it is still [12 February] working “closely with its partner Petromin”.

Clearly that statement can’t be true as Petromin is dead, it was extinguished by the Kumul Minerals Holdings Authorization Act of 2015. The Act replaced Petromin with Kumul Minerals Holdings Limited.

Kumul Mineral Holdings extract showing Petromin ceased to exist in December 2015

How could Nautilus Minerals not know that its partner in the Solwara 1 mine had been abolished by an Act of Parliament and replaced?

Whether a case of ignorance or sloppy management of its stock exchange statements, claiming to be working closely with a ghost is not a good look.

And there is more bad news for Nautilus. Unfortunately, the replacement of Petromin by Kumul Mineral Holdings just further undermines Nautilus’ lack of financial credibility, as Kumul Minerals Holdings is effectively bankrupt.

Kumul Minerals Holdings Annual Return for 2016, reveals a loss for the year of K354.7 million and total liabilities that exceed the total assets by K218.1 million.

Kumul Mineral Holding Ltd Annual Return 2016, page 11

This raises the question of whether Nautilus Minerals has informed its shareholders and the stock exchange of its partners financial strife and the ‘material uncertainty‘ it will be able to ‘realise its assets and settle its liabilities‘?

But then again, they are all probably reading this blog anyway!

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Tolukuma Mine Begins Full Production In July

Tolukuma Gold Mine, In Central Province, Will Begin Full Production Next Month.

Rosalyn Albaniel | Post Courier | June 13, 2017

Tolukuma gold mine, in Central Province, will begin full production next month.
This is under the management of the new operator, Tolukuma Gold Mines Limited, a subsidiary of Asidokona Mining Resources Pty Limited.
Tolukuma Gold Mines Limited executive director Vincent Siow said the firm had taken over from Petromin after they had been approached.
He said for the past year and a half, the company had been preparing for the production phase.
He said while the mine still had a lot of potential, the firm acknowledged with it would come with challenges as well.
He said unlike in the heydays of the mine, staff strength had been reduced from 600 plus, and it would be going into production with levels between, 300-400 workers, while production from the 9,000 ounces to just 1000-2000oz, with plans to ramp up.
“Production will not be full scale because equipment is a bit old.”
“We are expecting there will be some stress points. We may have to buy new equipment after we indentify the stress points, but we have everything all planned,” Mr Siow said.
Commenting on the revised the Memorandum of Agreement, which had been signed off yesterday by all except one of the parties, Mr Siow expressed relief on the part of the company.
He said when the firm took over from Petromin, they had agreed to take on all the commitments that had been agreed on by their predecessor.
“The board in Singapore had agreed because to disagree would only mean further delay,” he said.
“By and large, this MOA is a very important document. It identifies the role of all parties; if we all stick to it, I believe we will have a very good working relationship. I hope to see that good cooperation among all parties,” he added.

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Singapore nightclub owners pull out of Tolokuma gold mine purchase

life-brandz

LifeBrandz entertainment group said on Thursday it will not proceed with a proposed acquisition of Tolokuma gold mine

Singapore based entertainment company, LifeBrandz, is pulling out of its planned purchase of Tolokuma gold mine.

The PNG government controversially sold Tolokuma to Singaporean financial speculator Philip Soh Sai Kiang, for around K80 million, in November 2015.

Philip Soh Sai Kiang (also known as Soh Sai Kiang, Mr Soh and Mr Kiang), was inline to make a windfall profit of around K590 million from the proposed sale to LifeBrandz – Govt needs to explain huge difference in mine sale prices – but now he will be searching for a new buyer.

LifeBrandz decision is more egg on the face for Mining Minister Byron Chan who described Asidokona Resources, the front company Kiang used to but Tolokuma, as “reputable, committed, has integrity and capacity”, when it purchased Tolokoma – yet 12 months later the mine remains mothballed and ‘for sale’.

Lifebrandz ends Papua New Guinea buy, eyes firm with Mongolia business
Jamie Lee | The Business Times | October 27, 2016

LIFEBRANDZ, an entertainment group, said on Thursday it will not proceed with a proposed acquisition of a company based in Papua New Guinea, and will instead try to buy a company with business in Mongolia.
It said that it will no longer acquire all the shares of Tolukuma Gold Mines, a company incorporated in Papua New Guinea, for US$212 million.
The company owns a non-operational gold mine there. Tolukuma also holds five exploration licences, and has one exploration licence under application.
Lifebrandz said that the term sheets have lapsed, and both parties have not been able to finalise the agreement.

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Tolukuma mine owners deny profitering in sale to Singapore nightclub company

lifebrandz 2

One of the Singapore nightclubs owned by LifeBrandz

Asidokona Mining Resources, the owner of Tolukuma mine, has put out a press release [see below] trying to calm fears over the proposed sale of the mine to a Singapore nightclub company and denying any profiteering.

Asidokona is a Singapore company owned by financial speculator Philip Soh Sai Kiang (also known as Soh Sai Kiang, Mr Soh and Mr Kiang). Asidokona is the sole shareholder and owner of Tolukuma Gold Mines Ltd which it bought from Petromin for around K80 million in November 2015.

Asidokona is now proposing to sell Tolukuma Gold Mines to another Singapore based company, LifeBrandz for US$212 million. But this will not signal the end of the involvement for Asidokona and Soh Sai Kiang, as LifeBrandz will pay for the purchase of Tolukuma Gold Mines by issuing shares in LifeBrandz to Asidokona. Asidokona will then become the largest shareholder in LifeBrandz which will in turn own TGM.

Asidokona denies any “exchange of cash or profiteering by the shareholders of ASK” but the simple truth is they are making a huge profit – selling a mine they bought from Petromin for K80 million to LifeBrandz in exchange for shares worth US$212 million (around K670 million), shares which they will then be free to sell for cash.

Rather tellingly, Asidokona says two of the main benefits of the sale will be be the short term funding of the mine and the recommencement of mining operations – a tacit admission that Petromin sold the mine to a company without the resources to fund the ongoing operations or reopen the mine!

Asidokona has not made any mention of what it will do about the pollution of the local river system with heavy metals, which has been described as a genocide for local people.

Interestingly, the press release also makes no mention of Soh Sai Kiang and his ownership of Asidokona or any mention of the value of the shares in LifeBrandz, $212 million, he will be receiving. It also makes no mention of who the other owners of LifeBrandz are.

Obviously there are some things Asidokona and Soh Sai Kiang would rather keep from the people of Central Province…

Tolukuma Mine acquisition strengthened by LifeBrandz input
Asidokona media release | PNG Loop | July 16, 2016
The proposed acquisition of the Tolukuma Mine in the Goilala District of Central Province has brought in an interested party to the table.
Lifebrandz Ltd (“LB”), a company listed on the Stock Exchange of Singapore (“SGX”), announced on July 13, 2016, it has entered into a Non-Binding Term Sheet (“Term Sheet”) with Asidokona Mining Resources Pte Ltd (“ASDK”), for the proposed acquisition of Tolukuma Gold Mines Ltd (“TGM”).
The Term Sheet also includes the requirement for LB to provide funds to TGM for its operations prior to the completion.
TGM is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ASDK. The announcement concerns a proposed acquisition and there has not been any sale or transfer of ownership in TGM, nor has there been any exchange of cash or profiteering by shareholders of ASDK.
The Term Sheet concerns an all share deal where LB will acquire TGM (the “Proposed Acquisition”). The Proposed Acquisition is subject to certain conditions, key being the recommencement of mining operations and the exploration programme currently underway at TGM.
If the conditions are met, the value of TGM will far exceed the value of LB and the resultant effect, should the Proposed Acquisition proceed, is that the shareholders of ASDK will become the majority shareholders of LB as the consideration will be paid for in new shares issued by LB.
Hence, TGM will be owned by a listed company that in itself will be majority owned by the current (and potentially future) shareholders of ASDK.
The nature of the Proposed Acquisition is commonly known as a Reverse Take-Over Exercise (“RTO”) and will still be subject to the necessary regulatory and supervisory authorities in Singapore.
The Proposed Acquisition is expected to be completed by June 2017.
EFFECTS OF THE PROPOSED ACQUISITION
The Proposed Acquisition will have the following effects:
1. Access to additional funding to TGM to support its operations in the short term and prior to completion of the Proposed Acquisition.
2. Recommencement of mining operations, creating stable employment for the Golaila community, income for the company, as well as royalties to landowners and the PNG government.
3. Upon completion, TGM will be owned by a listed company, meaning greater access to further capital for expansion. TGM intends to convert its surrounding exploration licences to Mining Leases and commence mining operations there.
4. TGM will be propelled onto the international financial stage, with PNG Nationals as senior executive management.
5. PNG will benefit from additional foreign direct investment, tax income, and royalities from expanded operations.
6. As a listed company in Singapore, transparency and integrity are key governance metrics which TGM will strictly abide by.
About Tolukuma Gold Mines Ltd
Tolukuma Gold Mines Ltd (“TGM”) is a company incorporated in Papua New Guinea (“PNG”) and the holder of mining lease No. 104 issued under the Mining Act 1992 of PNG (“Mining Lease 104”), located in the Golaila District of the Central Province. TGM has been in operation since 1995 and was acquired by Asidokona Mining Resources Pte Ltd on 30 November 2015. TGM also holds five (5) exploration licenses and one (1) exploration license under application.

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Tolokuma mine owners says people can’t complain about sale

The Tolokuma mine, sold by the government for K80 million in November 2015, is now being traded for K670 million…

The operator of the Tolokuma mine, Asidokona Mining Resources has defended its takeover by a Singapore nightclub operator and says people should stop complaining [see story below].

Asidokona, owned by Singapore speculator Philip Soh Sai Kiang, says Petromin was fully informed the company would be listed on the stock exchange when it sold the mine in 2015 and the listing “was part of the conditions stated in the sale and purchase agreement”.

Asidokona says other parties have also been kept fully informed of the listing and shouldn’t now complain:

“Since we took ownership of TGM, we have in our meetings with the various stakeholders, including Yulai landowners, Central provincial government, MRA, local member Willie Samb and other state agencies, on numerous occasion, apprised them of the probable listing of TGM. So no one party who dealt with us can feign ignorance that they did not know that TGM will be listed”.

Of course, once a company is publicly listed on a stock exchange its shares can be bought by anyone and any other company can make a takeover by buying a majority or all of the shares.

Seems the people to blame here, for Tolokuma ending up with a nightclub owner, are Brown Bai and the rest of the Petromin Board and Mining Minister Julius Chan. They should never have sold Tolokuma to a Singaporean financial speculator in the first place!

They also need to explain how they sold the mine for K80 million but eight months later it is changing hands again for K670 million!

Shirley Mauludu | The National aka The Loggers Times | July 14, 2016
OPERATOR of Tolukuma gold mine in Central, Asidokona Mining Resources, says it is working on raising the standard of the mine.
It was responding to reports that the mine had been been bought by the LifeBrandz Group, a Singapore-based nightclub and lifestyle company.
Asidokona director Vincent Siow told The National yesterday that the company was working on raising the standard of the mine.
“When the then Petromin selected us in their tender exercise to sell Tolukuma Gold Mines, we intimated then that we will list TGM on a recognised stock exchange,” Siow said. “This was part of the conditions stated in the sale and purchase agreement we entered into subsequently with Petromin.
“This listing either by way of an outright initial public offer or reverse takeover is to crystallise by end of December 2016 or a mutually agreed date. 
“Because of the stringent requirements of the stock exchanges especially on the governance aspects, we have been very careful in our dealings with all the stakeholders and we took all measures necessary to ensure that nothing untoward will jeopardise the listing of TGM.
“Hence we rebutted where there are inaccurate account of any of our dealings or any matters about Tolukuma Gold Mines and its operations.
“Since we took ownership of TGM, we have in our meetings with the various stakeholders, including Yulai landowners, Central provincial government, MRA, local member Willie Samb and other state agencies, on numerous occasion, apprised them of the probable listing of TGM.
“So no one party who dealt with us can feign ignorance that they did not know that TGM will be listed.
“We reviewed our options and decided the RTO route to list TGM.
“It so happen that the listed company we selected formerly conducted its businesses principally in the entertainment and recreation sector.
“The company had fallen on difficult times and is wanting of a lifeline and new business.
“As you know in RTO we take over the company and will run TGM as a listed company through this vehicle. 
“Please bear in mind that the RTO has conditions in itself, especially the governance and compliance aspects of the statutes of both the Republic of Singapore as well as the State of Papua New Guinea.
“TGM will have foreign sources of finance and Papua New Guinea has indirect foreign sourced investment. 
“A goldmine in Papua New Guinea has been monetised. 
Yulai Landowners Association and Central Provincial Government are shareholders of Asidokona Mining Resources Pte Ltd and were given free carry shares as part of the SPA. 
“They will own shares, even though their stake will be diluted because of the RTO, can easily realised its market values if they so choose to dispose of their shareholdings.When the RTO is completed it signifies the commitment and reinforce the fact that Asidokona is in PNG for the long haul.” 

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