Tag Archives: Porgera

Gold is Stolen on a Massive Scale in PNG

Sam Jay Kaupa | PNG Blogs | 

There is a question that people need to ask. Why can’t the Central Bank of PNG buy gold to curb smuggling and also build the reserves to stabilise the plummeting Kina?

The mining sector accounts for about 9% of the GDP and the overall resources sector contributes about 26% of the GDP. This will continue to rise with the current demand for cobalt which as a by-product of the mix hydroxide precipitate from the Ramu Nickel.

Copper is on the rebound with nickel and so is gold which is now hovering above $US1,300/oz. Gold price will continue to go up according to analysts and from graphical representations from Kitco (where I get most of my data from)

Currently, gold is stolen on a massive scale in PNG Mines. Gold production from mines is under-reported. This is a massive scam. For example – 20 million ounces were mined from the giant Porgera Gold Mine and bullions shipped off-shore by helicopter to Mt Hagen and by private jet to Perth almost every few days over the last two and a half decades.

Who from the IRC, Customs, Treasury or the MRA checks the exact amount of gold that is shipped out?

NO ONE – I MEAN NO ONE.

The MRA gets a little piece of paper called Form 25 where minerals exported are recorded from the Registered Mine Manager (who are all expats for the big mines)

That information is not enough. It is criminal to accept as gospel unverifiable sales records, especially for gold shipments.

Then the Treasury department relies of this MRA record of sales to project future revenues and plug that into the budget. The same info is shared with the BoPNG and other agencies.

For God’s heavenly grace – why can’t we have some of these fat lazy public servants at the point of exits like the helipad in Porgera to physically weigh, record and sign off on all gold shipments? Guess we caught the late bus. Tough luck now. 20 million ounces out the back door.

The other mines like Lihir and Ramu Nickel are doing the same thing. The PNG government does not have people on the ground like what I used to see everywhere in Africa where I used to work. They are everywhere. They are everywhere because that’s where the money comes in from. It’s not rocket science. You don’t collect revenue for the government by sitting in air-conditioned offices and pray for God’s interventions? Get your fat bums out and get your smooth fingers dirty.

So the bottom line is gold is stolen everywhere. It’s prevalent.

Why on earth does the BoPNG even give licences for companies to export gold?

“Bank of PNG should buy the gold instead and put the money there (in gold) instead of reserving the dollars alone. They should reserve dollars and gold together to stabilise the Kina starting with the artisanal gold market.

As an example, the Tanzanian government has a prolonged spat with Barrick fully owned subsidiary Acacia over a $190 billion tax bill for its mining operations in the East African nation. Exactly the same thing they were doing in Porgera until the Government found out and back-calculated the tax owed to them. So what I’m saying here is doable if the PNG government is serious in recouping lost revenue.

In 2017, that government passed laws to reform their mining sector that the industry complained would be costly and onerous.

In PNG when such laws are proposed, the industry backed by the PNG Chamber of Mines bitterly contests because they want PNG to continue to become an impoverished nation. And this is strongly supported by PNG government agencies (you know who they are).

But I tell you, one day, one friggin day this will change and the people of PNG will take back their resources and develop it with decent developers so that the benefits will trickle down right to the doorsteps of the people whose faint cries are always ignored by greedy people.

Don’t mess with God’s people. One day they will rise and the stealing will cease.

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Rising tide of opposition to large-scale mining in Papua New Guinea

Porgera Landowners protest against Barrick Gold (2018).

PNG Mine Watch

Opposition to large-scale mining in Papua New Guinea is becoming more and more visible as communities become much more vocal in expressing their anger and disapproval.

Both existing and proposed new mines are feeling the heat from landowners who are realising the benefits they are promised are illusory and it is they and their families who suffer the severe negative environmental and social consequences of large-scale resource extraction.

Landowners in Enga have lodged a US$13 billion claim against the government over unfilled promises and environmental and social damage from the Porgera mine. The miner is owned by Barrick Gold and Zijin Mining and has been operating since 1989.

Meanwhile landowners in Madang are petitioning the government not to allow a planned K5 billion expansion of the Ramu nickel mine and they want the existing Basamuk refinery shut down. Again, it is the lack of tangible benefits and the environmental and social costs that are angering local people.

Proposed new mines in Morobe and the Sepik are also facing opposition.

Last week, landowners in Morobe forced the evacuation of the site of the proposed Wafi-Golpu mine. They are unhappy at the terms of an MOU agreement signed by the government with the mine owners, Harmony Gold and Newcrest Mining.

The landowners protest is supported by Morobe governor Ginson Saonu, who has already declared his opposition to the mine:

“People are not like before, when they had no knowledge, no idea, no education to read what’s happening in other parts of the world where there is environmental damage and so forth. Everybody is knowledgeable about what’s happening in other mines around the world, and even in Papua New Guinea like Ok Tedi, Bougainville and others.

The governor has identified agriculture and tourism as better development options in his Province.

At the same time, the Morobe Provincial government has passed a resolution rejecting the MOU for the mine and landowners living along the coast have declared their opposition to the planned dumping of toxic tailings in their seas.

The proposed Frieda river mine, to be developed by the Chinese company Guandong Rising Assets Management, is also facing strong opposition from landowners worried about the impacts of mining on the Sepik river, which is their lifeblood.

Communities have been organising their own protest meetings and have banned Mineral Resource Authority representatives from entering some areas.

Similarly, communities around the abandoned Panguna mine on Bougainville, have successfully petitioned against any moves to reopen the mine, forcing the Autonomous Bougainville Government and governor John Momis into an embarrassing climb down.

In another blow to the mining industry, Nautilus Minerals is on the brink of financial collapse, unable to complete preparations for its proposed experimental seabed mine, Solwara 1. Local communities and environmentalists have been waging a long running campaign against the mine.

Although the PNG government still seems determined to press ahead with new mining operations, the resistance from local communities, both those affected by existing mines and those threatened by the new operations, shows no signs of abating .

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The ecological costs of Canadian mining

Julian Vigo | The Ecologist | 18th December 2018

Canadian mining companies are destroying the earth and disregarding human rights.

The commercial space company, Moon Express, has announced that it was setting up Moon Express Canada in order “to leverage Canadian space science and technology in the exploration of the Moon and its resources”.

What surprised me about this revelation was that Moon Express Canada is apparently planning to mine the moon with its partner companies on board.

Micro and nano space technology company Canadensys Aerospace Corporation, geological imaging company Gedex, LiDar systems developer Teledyne Optech, and mining technologies and robotics company Deltion Innovations, which has been outspoken about making Canada a leader in space mining.

Rights violation 

As I read the reports, I shook my head wondering how Canadian mining companies have been permitted to amass so much damage to the earth and human rights, much less now being enlisted to destroy the moon.

Canada is no stranger to ecological destruction in its mining practices, within the country and also in Latin America. The Mexican Network of Mining Affected People (REMA in Spanish) has been outspoken in recent years over the problems of Canadian mining on indigenous lands.

It has also criticised the use of the Canadian diplomatic corps to negotiate deals between Canadian mining companies and local leaders who violate the rights of the people to property, safe environment, open consultations with public consent, lawfulness and legal security.

One company which has effected enormous damage on Mexican land is Goldcorp, which has broken national laws in purchasing collectively owned property in Carrizalillo, Guerrero and in Mazapil, Zacatecas.

The encroachment of Canadian mining companies in Mexico today shows them operating 65 percent of the mining projects around the country, amounting to 850 mining projects at various stages of development from exploration through to construction and extraction.

Manipulate and abuse

These mining projects have resulted in serious health issues, environmental contamination and destruction, the criminalisation of social protest, as well as the use of threats, harassment, smear campaigns, surveillance, arbitrary detentions and the assassination of political leaders and activists who speak out against these mines.

Mariano Abarca was murdered after he opposed a Canadian mine in Chiapas where he was detained in 2009. In 2014 in Guerrero, Mexico, 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teacher Training College in Ayotzinapa, disappeared with no trace of their whereabouts, except for the remains of 19-year-old Alexander Mora Venancio.

Many believe that the recent and nearby inauguration of Torex Gold’s El Limón-Guajes gold mine in Cocula, Guerrero is related to these students’ disappearance and murder, given that a mine manager had already been murdered, workers kidnapped, and communities protesting over broken promises, contaminated water, and health problems.

Similarly the Honduran leader, Beta Cáceres, was murdered in her home on 3 March 2016 after recent protests against the construction of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam in Río Blanco and various schemes to grab land from the people against which Cáceres was fully mobilised.

It is common to find these companies levelling criminal charges at the protestors – including sabotage, terrorism, rebellion, conspiracy, and incitement to commit crime.

Open-pit mine

Because of the money these companies attract to the local economy, their power within the community is tremendous – and this includes their ability to manipulate and abuse the local laws and collaborate with organised criminals.

In addition to human rights violation, there is grave ecological and biological damage produced by these Canadian mining  companies.

For instance, there is strong evidence of serious health impacts in Carrizallillo, Guerrero which was presented at the International People’s Health Tribunal in 2012 in connection with Goldcorp’s Los Filos mine, one of the largest gold mines in the world.

These impacts  included, but were not limited to, a high incidence of eye, skin, respiratory, and gastrointestinal problems, as well as a significant increase in premature births and malformations in newborns – and that’s just the shortlist.

Mining within Canada is no less controversial. It was recently announced that Gahcho Kué, an open-pit mine, is expected to produce between 6.6 million and 6.9 million carats of diamonds in 2019, and each year thereafter through the end of 2021. 

Disastrous effects

Gahcho Kué is one of the world’s largest new diamond mines which opened in September 2016 on a remote mine site on the Canadian tundra just on the edge of the Arctic Circle, and is jointly operated by De Beers and Mountain Province Diamonds.

While diamond mining is not Canada’s primary industry, Canada is the fifth largest diamond producer in the world and the ecological damage produced by diamond mining are well known.

Uranium levels in nearby Kennady Lake are expected to increase by a factor of 11,000 during the mine’s operation due to acid mine drainage which causes damage to the ecosystem.

Other common problems associated with diamond mining include erosion, formation of sinkholes, loss of biodiversity, and the contamination of soil, groundwater, and surface water by chemicals from mining processes.

Badly executed diamond mining has caused serious problems ranging from soil erosion, deforestation, and the forced migration of local populations. There are also many cases of diamond miners having re-routed rivers and constructed dams to expose riverbeds for mining, all with disastrous effects on fish and wildlife.

Consuming less

Just over the last few weeks, we have seen Canadian mining companies continue their expansion into Western Australia,  IndiaPapua New Guinea, the Republic of Guinea, and into Yukon and Nunavut.

While there seems to be little that individuals can do to stop these powerful companies, we need to address that the common denominator between mining and humans is our consumption.

With this knowledge in mind, it is imperative that we push back against mining, conduct a mental inventory of what we purchase and consume, and that we ask ourselves which objects which do we absolutely need to live and which items can we live without.

In the absence of an ecological revolution, the future of our planet depends on our ability to consume less. 

This Author 

Julian Vigo is an independent scholar, filmmaker and activist who specialises in anthropology, technology, and political philosophy. Her latest book is Earthquake in Haiti: The Pornography of Poverty and the Politics of Development (2015). You can follow her on Twitter at @lubelluledotcom

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Porgera Justice Foundation urges the government to be honest in mining laws

Jack Lapauve Jnr  | EMTV News | December 18, 2018

The chairman of the Papua New Guinea Justice Foundation has urged the government to serve the interest of resource owners.

Among environment damages and other issues, Chairman Jonathan Paraia believes people in the mining town have suffered enough.

A hefty sum to the tune of billions has been claimed as compensation for damages done, given the reason that developer Barrick has breached initial agreements signed in 1989.

For years the PNG Justice Foundation has spoken on behalf of the people affected by activities of the Porgera Mine.

Speaking in Port Moresby, the Chairman says the national Government as the regulator and middle man has denied serving the interest of resource owners.

“Landowners as we speak, they are suffering. Continuously mining 24 hours and foraging the environment and people are continuously suffering. They are drinking bad dirty poison water”, Chairman Jonathan Paraia said.

According to Chairman Paraia, Canadian company Barrick Gold Corporation has breached initial mining agreements.

Two months ago, the mining warden hearing was held at Paiam town. A majority of clans situated in the heart of the mining operation were against the Government and Mining Resource Authority not to renew the license of developer Barrick.

Meanwhile, at the recent Mining Conference in Sydney, Minister responsible, Johnson Tuke, acknowledged the compensation claim submitted by concerned landowners.

Chairman Paraia says the Government must consider the plea made by resource owners.

“Our claim is based on actual facts and in actual breaches of agreement. It’s not a makeup story like any other landowners in Papua New Guinea. Those are based on facts and law. There are more evidence to come.”

The arbitration will be held early next year, to iron out issues for the Porgera Mine.

For the Justice Foundation, they want to see fair consideration by the State and developer Barrick.

“They should take responsibility and look at meeting all the claims we are putting in”.

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US$13B Porgera Arbitration To Go Ahead, Says Tuke

“The dispute is a domestic issue involving the people of Porgera suing the government of PNG for breaches of contract, breach of the duty of care owed to the landowners of Porgera for damages including injury, loss and harm caused by the operation of the Porgera gold mine by Barrick Niugini Limited for over 29 years since it has commenced operation in Porgera in 1989.”

Yombi Kep | Post Courier | December 13, 2018

A US$13.28 billion arbitration notice served by a landowner group to the Department of Mining and the Department of Justice and Attorney General (DJAG) has been given the green light by the department responsible.

According to an interview with the Minister for Mining, the department has agreed to the arbitration notice served by the Porgera Gold Mine Landowners and the Justice Foundation for Porgera.

“The matter is registered with our office and we will just go through the international arbitration process,” said Johnson Tuke.

Mr Tuke said that arbitration is an international matter, and they will allow the arbitration process to go forward with it.

However, he said that a time and location is yet to be decided on by all the parties involved in the process.

The Department of Mining and the Department of Justice and Attorney General were served 13 arbitration documents requesting for arbitration on Friday November 30, 2018.

The service of a notice of arbitration or request for arbitration is the first formal step in arbitration. The parties are generally free to agree on how the arbitration proceedings are to commence before an Arbitrator under the United Nations system of Arbitration known as UNCITRAL.

Speaking on behalf of the landowners Barrister at Law and Counsel of the PNG Bar, Andrew Kostopoulos said that the landowners of the Special Mining lease which expires on May 12, 2019, are suing the government of PNG for US$13.28 billion.

“The dispute is a domestic issue involving the people of Porgera suing the government of PNG for breaches of contract, breach of the duty of care owed to the landowners of Porgera for damages including injury, loss and harm caused by the operation of the Porgera gold mine by Barrick Niugini Limited for over 29 years since it has commenced operation in Porgera in 1989.”

Chairman of Justice Foundation of Porgera Limited Jonathan Paraia said they have been working on the arbitration documents for the last seven years.

“We are requesting for arbitration. All the facts, complaints and issues that needs to be resolved are contained in the arbitration documents,” said Mr Paraia.

“The ball is now in their court, they have to decide on how the arbitration will proceed.”

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Porgera landowners sue PNG Govt for billions

A protest against Barrick Gold. Photo: Facebook/ Kelly Taila

Radio New Zealand | 4 December 2018 

A landowners group in Papua New Guinea’s highlands region is suing the national government for $US13.28 billion over a breach of contract.

The Justice Foundation for Porgera and other landowners whose land is inside the boundaries of the Porgera gold mine are behind the suit.

They claim that Barrick Nuigini, a subsidiary of Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold, has destroyed their environment and livelihoods, and has not kept to the commitments made in the contract signed in 1989.

The Foundation’s Jonathan Paraia said the amount of money they are seeking is justified.

“That is based on the contract for Porgera Mine signed between the state and Porgera landowners, but the state has got its own agreement with the Candian mining company, Barrick. So we expect the government to call on the company to take responsibility for the claim because the company is the one that is causing the problems and destroying the people’s livelihoods,” Jonathan Paraia.

He said the initial stage of such a suit is arbitration but if that fails to reach a resolution the matter will be referred to court.

The Justice Foundation for Porgera has separately asked the courts to restrain the government from renewing the Porgera licence, which expires next May, until the issues surrounding the suit are sorted out.

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PNG landowners to challenge mine venture in court

A protest against Barrick Gold. Photo: Facebook/ Kelly Taila

Radio New Zealand | 22 November 2018 

Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court has ruled that a challenge against the Porgera gold mine in Enga province can proceed.

A group of landowners is challenging the validity of a mining lease for the Porgera Joint Venture’s open pit and underground operations.

The venture is 95 percent owned by Canadian company Barrick, and its Special Mining Lease is up for renewal next May.

Last week the national court issued a restraining order preventing the government and Barrick from progressing the renewal of the lease until next April because of the failure to consult with landowners as required by law.

The Justice Foundation for Porgera Limited lodged the challenge two years ago.

Its chairman Jonathan Paraia said the joint venture’s lease could not be renewed until the mining company addressed past grievances.

These included rapes of local women and girls by security guards at the mine, and displacement of local communities.

Mr Paraia said the mine had turned local people into refugees on their own land because as susbsistence people they need land in order to grow food to survive.

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