Tag Archives: Ramu mine

Ramu NiCo rethinking expansion

The National aka The Loggers Times | March 26, 2019

RAMU NicO Nico Management (MCC) in Madang will reconsider its decision on the planned K5 billion expansion programme, vice-president Wang Baowen announced last Thursday.
He said the company was reconsidering its earlier announcement to expand the mine because of the costs involved.
Baowen said the company was yet to finish some of its obligations in its memorandum of agreement which expired last year.
He said the agreement must look after expectations and benefits of landowners, including stakeholders like the national government, provincial government, local level government and landowners.
Ramu NiCo Management, which runs the Ramu nickel and cobalt mine, announced a planned K5 billion expansion of the mine during Apec last year.
The announcement has created controversy among the landowners and other stakeholders.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Madang Governor Peter Yama both said mine expansion would be guaranteed only after the current agreement was reviewed.
Yama said the agreement review would ensure more benefits go to the landowners and stakeholders.
“The Ramu nickel mine expansion will wait till we conduct the review,” O’Neill said when he visited Usino-Bundi district last month.
Landowners of the Kurumbukari mining area at Enekwai threatened to shut the mine’s water supply in December when they heard about the expansion.

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The Ignorant Response By Mining Minister Johnson Tuke Over Basamuk People’s Voice Petition

Mining Minister Johnson Tuke

The Papua New Guinea Woman | December 17, 2018

The Mining Minister Hon. Johnson Tuke has made some ignorant blunders that can cause more problems for the State, the Developer Chinese Metallurgical Corporation (MCC), provoke landowners by adding fuel to land issues fires and most importantly deprive the people of Rai Coast their Constitutional right for inclusivity in the development of our resources and access to basic Government services and infrastructure. 

The Minister’s ignorant blunders undermines the Government’s own decisions since 2001.  It also demonstrates how the Government undermines the welfare of its own people and does not respect the elected leaders at the Ward and LLG level. 

I’m sure the Prime Minister genuinely wants to listen to the people.  He is a decisive Prime Minister who is known to “fix things” not done right in the past.  It is also in the interest of the O’Neill-Abel Government.  

The Minister’s actions and undermining statements is also contrary to the Developer MCC’s concerns and calls issued through their paid Press Statement published in the Post Courier on 23 November, 2018. 

THE BASAMUK PEOPLE’S VOICE

Before I talk about the ignorant blunders, let’s get the record straight about The Basamuk People’s Voice (BPV).  The group consists of genuine landowners plus all the people in the mine-impacted area and RaiCoast.  We are an interest lobby group working with our duly elected political leaders at the Government closest to our people for the common purpose of development for our District.  You can read more about who we are and what we stand for here.

It is our Constitutional right to demand for our rights. We the people have been marginalized for too long.  One day on 01 December, 2018 we joined our hands and voices together for a common shared interest and purpose and conveyed the collective views and demands to the few who represent us.

We are members of theLandowners Association (LOA), which is the party to the MOA.  We are also members of our Wards and LLGs which are party to the MOA.

Our developmental issues are not addressed through our LOA organization, partly due to landownership disputes which the State failed to address for over 17 years.  More so, it is due to the level of education, knowledge and the ability of our people to engage in such discussions.

Political leaders at the national level have also failed to raise these very genuine issues on the floor of Parliament for over 17 years.  The people have had enough so we have organized ourselves to speak up.

Minister, I’m sure we did not breach any law of the country by organizing ourselves and giving you a petition signed by 1215 people and their 5 elected Ward Members.

OUR PETITION

Our petition was very genuine, for common good.  We are demanding the Government to setup a high level Review Team made up of officials from MRA, Madang Provincial Administration, Lands, CEPA, National Planning, Provincial Affairs, Treasury, and Prime Minister’s Office to look into these issues, and met our demands, starting by Financing and Building our ROAD.

  • Road (Madang-Morobe Coastal Highway).  PNG is party to China’s “One Belt One Road” Initiative.  We’ve seen K Billions of Chinese money build roads all over the country and Port Moresby, but not Rai Coast where the Chinese live.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment.  This affects everyone whether one is a landowner or not.
  • Relocation away from the hazardous refinery.
  • Review and stop fiscal incentives of the 10-year tax holiday of Corporate Income Tax so company can utilize the funds under the Tax Credit Scheme to build infrastructures.
  • Immediately address the existing mine’s issues, amongst them the landownership issues. 

THE IGNORANT RESPONSE BY THE MINISTER

I quote the Minister’s response:  “I totally condemn the misinformation they are feeding the people through the media in their quest to create disharmony and distrust in the mining industry and the Government of Papua New Guinea

The Minister is effectively saying that:

  • Our claim that we need road is misinformation;
  • Our claim that we have environmental issues that needs independent assessments and relocation of people is misinformation;
  • The fiscal incentives is misinformation;
  • The landowner issues that needs resolving is misinformation;
  • The K5 Billion extension project is misinformation;
  • The 2019 National Budget and the MTDPIII [2018 – 2022] does not have Rai Coast Road or major infrastructure for Rai Coast is misinformation.

What an ignorant response! 

Our demands for inclusion in the development of our resources and access to basic rights like infrastructure, water, sanitation, medical services, education and safety is our basic human right.

It is an understatement to declare that our demands for our rights is a quest to create disharmony and distrust in the mining industry and the Government of Papua New Guinea.  We have no intention for any of that.

You PNG Government are our Father/Mother.  You have a responsibility to us, your citizens. This is the first time in 13 years we are speaking up.  We are not citizens of China so you leave us at their mercy! 

THE IGNORANT BLUNDERS

1.       The Landownership Issues and Landowner Associations

The Basamuk People’s Voice (BPV) is a neutral body that petitioned the Government to address the land dispute as Gazetted in G169 of 2001, and again exempted from Government’s Compulsory Accusation in 2002 (G51 of 2002]. The existence of the dispute has deprived us of development. 

The company MCC, in a paid Press Statement, on November 23 2018 also called upon the Government to have the matter resolved so they can establish better relationship with all stakeholders and fulfill their corporate social obligations.

Developer MCC stated that it “categorically refutes all false allegations and claims by a certain individuals with vested interest claiming to be Chairman of the so-called Basamuk LOA and the Limestone LOA, contained in Post Courier of Tuesday November 13 and Wednesday November 14 2018”.

The Developer MCC also stated “Ramu Nico is aware that there are 3 different factions claiming as the legitimate representative of the Basamuk LOA.  The company has yet to receive a form notice from the regulator…”

The BPV is NOT one of the 3 different factions.  For the first time, BPV brought the 3 different factions together for shared common interests, so we can work towards better developmental outcomes for our people

Minister’s Blunder No.1: The Minister recognized one of the 3 different factions as genuine landowner.  This is in breach of the Government’s own decisions and Government’s failure to resolve the matter in 17 years.

The Developer MCC has publicly declared their stand on “certain individuals with vested interests” and called upon the Government to have the matter resolved.    

Minister’s Blunder No. 2:   The Mining Minister is not the legal authority [Special Land Titles Commissioner] to solve landownership disputes and declare landowners.  He should heed the call by the Developer and the people to listen and find a neutral ground to resolve the issue.

It is in the best interest of the people, the developer and the State that the Government cease dealing with landowner associations in dispute. It should move swiftly to review its processes to determine the dispute.  This is also the desire of the Developer.

The Basamuk People’s Voice is the common ground that the landowners and people have found, led by our elected Ward Members.  We genuinely want to find solutions to our problems.  It should be recognized for its efforts until the landowner disputes are resolved.

Blunder No. 3 – Disputing Genuine Landowners        

The Minister is ignorant of the fact that the Ramu Nico Mine have various leases.  There are recognized landowners from Kumbukari, Usino, Astrolabe Bay and Basamuk.  For Basamuk, whilst there are 3 small different factions with dispute over Lease for Mining Purpose No. 42, we have many legitimate landowners for other leases.

As the spokesperson, I am a duly recognized landowner under the Project, for Prency State lease land, Mining Easement No. 75.  MCC just paid me and my family royalty.  It’s contradictory for the Minister to call me “self-professed LOs”. 

The Basamuk People’s Voice is made up of people like myself who are genuine recognised landowners, for the existing project and for the proposed extension.

Minister, we formed the BPV to demand for our developmental rights because there are disputes with the 3 different factions of the LOA over one lease area.  This has hindered our development and participation aspirations.  The State has failed to address the issue, nor carry out due diligence over the land dispute before inviting the Developer to invest Billions on Kina in the Project.

Whether the Government like it or not, the BVP is here to stay.  It represents the collective interests of the Rai Coast people, including genuine landowners and mine-impacted communities.  We will never back down but work with our elected representatives the Ward Members, at the Government closest to our people, for social justice.

Blunder No. 4 – Avoiding the Educated People

A tactic we have observed over the years is that the agents of the State and Developer avoid the educated people and deal with those with limited education. 

Let me point out a Media Release by Chairman of the so-called Basamuk Landowners Association Sande Suang, published in the Post Courier of November 13 and 14.

He says:  “We are simple landowners with limited formal education.  I only have grade 6 formal education and am among a handful of landowner leaders with limited formal education”.

The Minister held discussions with a party that has Grade 6 formal education.  Why this matters?  It’s obvious they can be easily exploited and manipulated, and our people of Rai Coast will be misled.  They won’t be in a position to “communicate”our pressing issues and major developmental issues. 

When our people with limited education run the Associations, we have not seen major developments that will benefit many people who are impacted by the mine – not only landowners!   

WAY FORWARD

The BPV’s Petition dated 05 November, 2018 still stands.  We duly note the Mining Minister’s dismissal of our petition.  We ask him again to re-consider based on the facts presented here.

We call upon the Government to set up a high level Review Team from relevant agencies stated above to review our petition and provide report to the NEC on way forward to resolve the issues.  The Basamuk People’s Voice represents the people and we want to be a part of the Review.

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Ramu Nico Plants Cocoa Trees In Mine Rehabilitation

Post Courier | November 13, 2018

Ramu NiCo Mine’s environment section at Kurumbukari mine in Madang Province began planting cocoa seedlings in the mined out areas of the Kurumbukari plateau as part of its mine environment rehabilitation.

More than 250 cocoa seedlings were delivered recently by the company’s Sustainable Agriculture section of the Community Affairs Department to KBK Mine Environment Section of the company’s HSE Department under the supervision of Allan Wahwah and Alex Kambual and planted at Mine Pit Two area.

The aim is to explore the growth rates and adaptability of cocoa, eagle wood and sandal wood in the mined out areas at KBK Mine.

Eagle wood and sandalwood are yet to be transported from the Forest Research Institute in Lae to KBK Mine for rehabilitation.

Mr Wahwah said that it may take a year or two to establish the assumptions and then recommendations would be proposed for mass planting. He said there are plans to raise KBK native seeds present in the KBK primary forest.

However, these will all be captured in a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) which he had developed and had already circulated within the company.

Mr Wahwah, a former agriculturist from PNG CCI, who now works with Ramu NiCo (MCC) Community Affairs planned with Mr Kambual to come up with cocoa planting at the mined out areas as part of rehabilitation. He said more collaboration between Ramu NiCo Community Affairs Agriculture section and the HSE Environment team was needed to carry out rehabilitation using cash crop as part of the sustainable source of income for the local landowners of KBK in the future..

He said CA Agriculture team would do an in-house training for the environment team at KBK on cocoa management practices.

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Tibetans in anguish as Chinese mines pollute their sacred grasslands

Landscape along the road from Xining to Yushu in Qinghai province. (Giulia Marchi/For The Washington Post)

Landscape along the road from Xining to Yushu in Qinghai province. (Giulia Marchi/For The Washington Post)

With the Chinese expanding their mining interests in Papua New Guinea, is the pollution and desecration being suffered in Tibet a foretaste of the anguish to come in PNG? 

Simon Denyer | Washington Post | December 26 2016

High in western China’s Sichuan province, in the shadow of holy mountains, the Liqi River flows through a lush, grassy valley dotted with grazing yaks, small Tibetan villages and a Buddhist temple. But there’s ­poison here.

A large lithium mine not only desecrates the sacred grasslands, villagers say, but spawns deadly pollution. The river used to be full of fish. Today, there are hardly any. Hundreds of yaks, the villagers say, have died in the past few years after drinking river water.

China’s thirst for mineral ­resources — and its desire to exploit the rich deposits under the Tibetan plateau — have spread ­environmental pollution and ­anguish for many of the herders whose ancestors lived here for thousands of years.

The land they worship is under assault, and their way of life is threatened without their consent, the herders say.

“Old people, we see the mines and we cry,” a 67-year-old yak herder said, requesting anonymity for fear of retribution. “What are the future generations going to do? How are they going to survive?”

A local environmentalist, who also declined to be named to avoid backlash from the authorities, said he had done an oral survey of local opinion and found that Tibetans would oppose mining projects even if companies promised to share profits with local communities, to fill in mines after they were exhausted, and to return sites to their natural state.

“God is in the mountains and the rivers, these are the places that spirits live,” he said. “When mining comes and the grassland is dug up, people believe worse disasters will come. It destroys the mountain god.”

Salt deposits at the Jiajika lithium mine in Tagong township in China’s western Sichuan province, seen in August. Local herders have protested at least twice against the mine, saying it has polluted the Liqi River and killed fish and yaks downstream. (Simon Denyer/The Washington Post)

Salt deposits at the Jiajika lithium mine in Tagong township in China’s western Sichuan province, seen in August. Local herders have protested at least twice against the mine, saying it has polluted the Liqi River and killed fish and yaks downstream. (Simon Denyer/The Washington Post)

‘We just knew they had lied’

It was in 2009 that toxic chemicals from the Ganzizhou Rongda Lithium mine first leaked into the river, locals say, killing their livestock and poisoning the fish.

“The whole river stank, and it was full of dead yaks and dead fish,” said one man downstream in the village of Balang, who declined to be named for fear of retribution. Another pollution outbreak and a protest by villagers in 2013 forced the government to order production temporarily stopped, locals said.

“Then ... officials came to the village to try to persuade people,” the man said. “They said we have to have the mine but promised they would take time to fix the pollution problem before reopening it.”

But in April, just after mining restarted, fish began dying again, ­locals said. “That’s when we just knew they had lied,” the man said.

In May, residents staged a second protest, scattering dead fish on a road in the nearby town of Tagong. The protesters were surrounded by dozens of baton-wielding riot police. Again the government stepped in, issuing a statement to “solemnly” promise that the plant would not reopen until the “environmental issues” were solved.

But the problem at the Jiajika mine is not an isolated one. Across Tibetan parts of China, protests regularly erupt against mineral extraction, according to a 2015 report by Tibet Watch.

tibet-image

China is focused on copper and gold extraction from Tibet but is also exploiting a whole range of minerals “with increasing intensity,” including chromium, iron, lithium, iron, mercury, uranium and zinc — as well as fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, the report said.

Although China boasts of its ­development work in western ­regions where Tibetans live — hauling millions out of poverty and nearly doubling life expectancy over the past five decades — the report argued that much of the transport and other infrastructure in the region is aimed at extracting minerals rather than benefiting residents. Projects usually import workers from other parts of China, seldom employing Tibetans in significant numbers.

When protests break out, ­China’s response “has generally been heavy-handed,” with authorities seeking to politicize the protests, Tibet Watch wrote.

Understanding those risks, ­Tibetan communities sometimes use creative ways to get their message across.

When hundreds of people gathered in August 2013 in Zadoi county in Qinghai province to protest against mining on what they considered to be a holy mountain, they flew Chinese flags to demonstrate their loyalty to the state and erected posters and placards quoting President Xi Jinping’s words on the need to balance economic growth and environmental protection.

It didn’t help. Police and paramilitary forces arrived in large numbers and fired bullets above the crowd, according to campaigners at Free Tibet. The group said eight people were arrested and many more injured.

A camp at a lead and zinc mine in the high-altitude village of Xingniangda in the southern part of Qinghai province. Only Han Chinese work there. (Giulia Marchi/For The Washington Post)

A camp at a lead and zinc mine in the high-altitude village of Xingniangda in the southern part of Qinghai province. Only Han Chinese work there. (Giulia Marchi/For The Washington Post)

In the villages outside Xiaosumang township in Qinghai, residents blame a lead and zinc mine for the deterioration of the grasslands for miles around, and even for falling harvests of caterpillar fungus, a highly prized health cure that is the backbone of the local economy.

Contaminated water from the mine, residents said in a joint letter to the authorities in 2010, not only killed their livestock but also caused people who drank it to die of cancer, they said.

“Over the years, many herders would sigh and say: ‘Life can’t go on like this anymore. Even drinking has become a big issue for people living on the grasslands,’” the letter said.

A May 2009 protest in the village of Xizha prompted a severe crackdown, the letter said, with guns and tear gas used, seven women severely beaten, and 12 men blindfolded, detained and tortured.

Authorities threatened to cancel poverty-alleviation grants, including income and housing subsidies, if anyone in the region brought up the issue of environmental protection again, the letter said, adding that the crackdown “caused great fear to spread in our hearts.”

Whether the mine is truly the culprit for all the grasslands’ ills is another matter — climate change, for example, is probably an important factor. But that doesn’t soothe local anger.

“When I was young, there was more grass, more flowers, it was really beautiful here,” said a 27-year-old man in a valley downstream from the lead and zinc mine. “Now you see it’s less beautiful every year. People see all this and they are not really sure what happened, so they think it must be the mine.”

A woman washes clothes near the Jiajika lithium mine in Tagong township in China’s western Sichuan province. Local say the mine has polluted the Liqi River and killed fish and yaks. (Simon Denyer/The Washington Post)

A woman washes clothes near the Jiajika lithium mine in Tagong township in China’s western Sichuan province. Local say the mine has polluted the Liqi River and killed fish and yaks. (Simon Denyer/The Washington Post)

A conflict without end

In Jiajika, 300 miles to the southeast, the commercial pressure to reopen the lithium mine is mounting. The element is a vital component in rechargeable batteries used in cars, smartphones, laptops and other electronic and electrical items. Demand — and prices — are skyrocketing.

Last January, Youngy Co. Ltd., the parent company of Ganzizhou Rongda Lithium, promised investors that the local government would step up efforts to reopen the mine in March.

That same month, an article in the local Ganzi Daily newspaper outlined the authorities’ dream of making the area “China’s lithium capital,” calling Jiajika the biggest lithium mine in the world with proven reserves of 1.89 million metric tons and even greater ­potential. Three companies, including Rongda, will invest 3.4 billion yuan ($510 million) in the site by 2020, the article said.

He Chengkun, Youngy’s media officer, said an official investigation had established that the plant was not responsible for killing fish in 2013 or this year.

“The local government has made it clear it is nothing to do with our company,” he said. “They are looking into it and have already zoomed in on some suspects.”

He said the plant has been closed since late 2013 because of problems relating to land acquisition and denied that it had restarted operations in April, as locals claimed.

Nevertheless, across the Tibetan plateau, resource extraction, land grabs and environmental destruction remain flash points for conflict between Tibetans and the authorities, said Free Tibet Director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren, reflecting both local grievances and the wider problem that Tibetans do not have the right to decide what happens to Tibet and its resources.

“Those resources feed the demands of Chinese industry instead of the needs of the Tibetan people,” she said. “That is why their environment is put at risk and their rights are trampled upon, and why we can expect to see this conflict played out repeatedly in the future.”

Xu Yanjingjing contributed to this report.

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Australian Clive Palmer looks to make billions from Papua New Guinea gas

Clive Palmer: “If we find gas, we develop it and make billions of dollars out of it”

AUSTRALIAN billionaire Clive Palmer, who has close ties with Ramu mine owner, MCC, has told the Australian Financial Review he is considering a farm-out offer from Exxon Mobil for exploration leases his company, Chinampa Exploration, holds in the northern part of the Gulf of Papua.

Palmer said he was first approached by ExxonMobil in 2010 and that he had held further discussions with the world’s biggest oil and gas corporation late last year.

“We do not want to make a hasty decision. But we are either going to develop it, joint venture it or do a deal with the Chinese,” he told the AFR, adding that Chinampa held exploration leases covering more than 48,000sqkm in PNG.

He said Chinampa had already spent A$40 million on exploration but needed significant funding to meet high exploration costs.
Palmer also told the AFR the PNG exploration project “could be bigger than the North West Shelf – it is the most significant thing we are doing at the moment”.

The North West Shelf operations of Woodside Petroleum was Australia’s first LNG project and Australia’s largest such operation to date.

Palmer noted that ExxonMobil was currently building a US$16 billion LNG project in Papua New Guinea and “our gas (site) is right opposite that”.

ExxonMobil spokeswoman Rebecca Arnold told the AFR it was not the company’s policy to comment on commercial matters.

Palmer said ExxonMobil had made a “standing offer” and his group was thinking about it.

The report said Chinampa had three exploration licences in shallow to deep water close to the planned LNG plant at Port Moresby.
According to the company’s website it held a 100% interest in PPL 379, PPL 380 and PPL 381 in the Gulf area.

The AFR indicated Palmer had good political connections in PNG, having spoken at a fund raising dinner for the United Resources Party in June last year.

Describing PNG as “the promised land”, Palmer said: “If we find gas, we develop it and make billions of dollars out of it. First we are looking at reserves, then the cost of extracting, but it looks very promising.”

He said preliminary work carried out by his company had indicated the area had the potential to contain 22 trillion cubic feet of gas or about double the amount being developed by ExxonMobil in PNG for the country’s first LNG project.

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