Tag Archives: Sinivit

Sinivit mine clean up to cost taxpayers K10m

Clean up to cost K10mil

IT may cost up to K10 million to detoxify and clean up cyanide at the abandoned Sinivit mine in East New Britain (ENB), an official says.

Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) managing director Jerry Garry said the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (Cepa) and MRA officials visited the site last year and had completed monitoring by sampling to test for elevated cyanide content in the soil and water sources.

“There are interim plans to have security guards on site,” he said.

“Cepa advised that it may cost up to K10 million for external experts to detoxicate and clean up the cyanide.”

Last week, ENB Governor Nakikus Konga told Parliament that there were 18 vets, (an outdated way of storing mine wastes at the abandoned mine), which could be disastrous for the people, especially during the flash flood the province was experiencing.

Konga’s concerns were on the effect the mine wastes would have on his 45,000 people along the Warangoi River catchment area.

He said he had been discussing with Mining Minister Johnson Tuke for the last six months regarding the mine.

“He came to my province last weekend to see for himself what is happening with the abandoned Sinivit Gold mine, it will cause a catastrophe to my province.”

Meanwhile, Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Minister Wera Mori said he would be visiting the abandoned mine to assess the wastes.

“I will basically make a visitation to that province, hopefully together with MRA,” he said.

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Environmental failure at Wild Dog mine

Traditional Baining Fire Dance

Alois Balar | Post Courier | 23 April 2019

Beyond reasonable doubt, the element of environmental risk was present in both the exploration and development stages of the Wild Dog mine.

This mine was developed at the very summit of the highest peak in ENB with the presence of this significant environmental risk, and to the detriment of the livelihoods of the people at the foot of Mt Sinivit as well as within its vicinity and right down to the coast. What rational justification was used by the (relevant government agencies) and the landowners to agree for the mine to be developed given the geographical risk to the river systems?

Mineral deposits in the mining lease area comprised of the oxide and the sulphide zones both of which were not technically viable to be developed at such steep slopes with very high loss of height. Juxtaposed against these is a high mountain backdrop (with huge physical divides) that forms the catchment of the river systems on all sides. These areas contain critical ecosystems and life support systems. The mine heap-leach areas were pitched on narrow patches of no more than 20sq m, at most, in both zones, with no fenders, that were susceptible to climate extremes.

This mine was developed on “persistence in error” by the developer who refused to draw inference from negative signs and technicalities. The developer should have waylaid the “sunk-cost effect” in favour of the critical environment.

It is very disturbing that the (relevant government agencies) have been sitting on this environmental problem since the developer abandoned the mine during its operation.

The cyanide heap-leach method should never have been allowed to be used up there by the developer. The developer abandoned huge open pits, heaps, and the ponds of cyanide which are a risk to the whole environment. Some of these heaps and ponds have cracks caused by earthquakes.

The recent rains caused the cyanide vets to overflow into the drains that fed the sources of streams and creeks that tributed to the two large rivers of Nengmutka and Rapmarini which are major tributaries of Waragoi river.

Once the toxics leak, it can result in total collapse of ecosystems and life support systems that are being used by the people(I don’t want to mention the deadly strength of cyanide against the volume of water in the rivers) . This mine was at a critical location and dangerously and carelessly developed out of economic greed.

Five long years have lapsed after the developer left with evidently nothing done to date to contain the leakage risk. These relevant government agencies have just woken up from their slumber to sanction a disaster and environmental assessment to be carried out.

The funds being spent on rebuilding the road up to the mine to enable the assessment to be carried out could have been spent on other impassable roads in the Bainings).Is this how long bureaucratic red tape can last in our government system, even if it meant so many people dead from a cyanide disaster over five years?

This kind of irrational behaviour by govt agencies could prove fatal for the communal environment and costly to the lives of the people. The lack of action by government agencies has resulted in people(men, women, and children) risking their lives by going up there to the mine site(after the developer left) to take whatever is useful to them, thus having direct contact with cyanide and
other toxic chemicals.

Leach pad liners were even taken by people, posing serious risks to themselves! The government’s complacency and ignorance of problem risks and for taking no leakage deterrent measures conjures up the reality of its ignorance of the height of thresholds for pain of the people and the environment when inflicted for economic reasons other than for their own benefit and upkeep.

Government agencies must ensure economic development is balanced against the natural environment, not the other way around! This is an aspect of sustainable development!.

The problem at Wild Dog is not ISEP, rather, it is everybody’s. And I’d rather the so-called Sinivit Mine Landowners Association stops talking about mine reopening and look more closely at ensuring the sustainability of the sources that support the livelihoods of its members and make sure these sources are not compromised.

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Sinivit Landowners Call For Audit Into Mine Operations

Post Courier | March 19, 2019

The Sinivit Mine Landowners Association is calling on the East New Britain provincial government to fund an independent audit into the operations of the abandoned Sinivit gold mine.

The developer, New Guinea Gold Limited abandoned the project in September 2014 after blaming the government and the Mineral Resources Authority for not quickly renewing their mining licence.

It is understood MRA had notified the company to return and rectify safety and environmental issues related to the Sinivit project but this has not eventuated.

Chairman Douglas Augustine said a submission was given to the provincial government in August last year requesting an independent audit to be conducted on the mine.

He said before any mining project can be re-opened, an audit must be done to establish how much was generated by the mining operations in the past and who benefited from those funds.

Mr Augustine said currently there is an environmental issue where some of the 29 abandoned vats used to extract gold and other minerals at the mine site were further damaged by heavy rain and flooding, with potential chemical contamination into nearby rivers of Warangoi and Nengmutka.

“Right now most of those vats near the cliff have collapsed and I appeal to communities near the two rivers not to use it too much as it is not safe,” he said.

Therefore he urged the provincial government and its administration to fast track an investigation or audit, so that any such issues are addressed before the mining project can be re-opened.

The landowners say they are not against the planned re-opening of the mine, but want an audit and report to be tabled first before the mine can be re-opened.

The office of the ENB Governor in response said the Minister for Mining will officially visit the mine soon to determine the next course of action.

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Landowners oppose Sinivit mine reopening

Pollution from the mothballed Sinivit gold mine

Hosea Kaelam | 9 September 2018

In respond to the news politicians want the Sinivit gold mine reopened, we the principle landowners of the Uramat Incorporated Land Group opposes the idea of the ENB leaders until all the environmental issues are addressed.

Also the leaders are not utilizing the ILG’S set out by the National Government as per Land Amendment Act ( 2009 ) in negotiating development in the customary land.

We the people of the Uramat ILG are against the leaders idea of re opening the mine.

There should be compensation first the the landowners for all the chemical pollution.

As per the environmental report the treatment pond for cyanide and other chemicals used at the mine contained 20 parts per million of chemicals while the vats contain 20 parts per million as well. This is very high concentration and people’s life are at risk. The permitted safe environment content is 5 parts per million. This is a slap on the face for state agencies to neglect this issue as if there is no government for the people.

Yet leaders are pushing for the re opening of the mine without the consent of the indigenous customary and registered and gazetted land group. Let us solve the environmental issue but the mine won’t be re open

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ENB leaders want Sinivit gold mine reopened

location map

The National aka The Loggers Times | August 2, 2018

East New Britain leaders want the abandoned Sinivit gold mine reopened.

Governor Nakikus Konga and Sinivit LLG president Boniface Gerep said this during the launching of Sinivit road infrastructure under Sinivit mining project memorandum of agreement at Riet yesterday.

“As the former chairman of Uramot Company, the blame falls squarely on Mineral Resources Authority and the State,” he said. “Sinivit gold mine would have been a very successful mine, but unfortunately we did not get support from the mining department.”

Konga urged Mining Minister Johnson Tuke to ensure the mine reopened.

He said it was an economic opportunity for East New Britain now that the province had been given greater autonomy.

Gerep said resources owners had not benefited from the mine when the developer left abruptly.

Locals looted and vandalised everything at the mine, including explosives and chemicals.

Reports had surfaced of chemicals from abandoned vats flowing into the Warangoi River.

Tuke concurred with Konga and Gerep, saying he wanted to see the mine reopened.

He said he was ready to work with the authorities in East New Britain to ensure that the mine reopened and provided jobs for locals.

Developer New Guinea Gold Ltd abandoned the mine in Sept 2014 blaming the government and MRA for not quickly renewing their mining lease.

It was understood the matter was before the court.

MRA said that the environmental issues that had been raised were for the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority to deal with.

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MOAs for mining projects set to go before NEC

mra

Post Courier | December 23, 2016

SEVEN of the memorandum of agreements (MOA) for the mining projects in the country have been completed and will be submitted to the National Executive Council (NEC) for approval in January, 2017. This is from the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) while giving an update on the status of these agreements.

Each of the operating mining projects have in place an MOA that sets out the benefits sharing arrangements between the National Government, the host provincial and local level governments and the immediate mine area landowners. The MOAs are reviewed periodically as agreed by the stakeholders.

Those completed are for the Ramu mine in Madang Province, Simberi (New Ireland), Hidden Valley (Morobe), Ok Tedi (Western Province), Tolokuma (Central) and Sinivit (East New Britain). MRA’s managing director Philip Samar told the Post-Courier that once they have been approved by the NEC, the actual signing ceremony will be held at each of these project sites.

“This is to allow the project stakeholders to witness such an occasion,” Mr Samar said.

Also completed is Woodlark in Milne Bay, which is one of the two new approved mining projects. He said the review process for Porgera, Lihir and Crater Mountain are yet to be completed. The current exercise will continue in 2017 along with the country’s first ever deep sea mine – Solwara-1.

Mr Samar said this will be the first time that any government has submitted more than one revised MOA in the last 10 years.

He said one of the improvements that the MRA is embarking on to improve is administration and transparency of the revised MOAs by making allowances for autonomous parties to administer each of them, and to facilitate annual meetings where the independent auditor presents the implementation scorecards for each of them.

“This way all parties will be held to fully account for the implementation of their commitments on an annual basis,” he said.

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Government acts too late over Sinivit mine pollution

sinivit

MRA allowed New Guinea Gold to abandon the Sinivit mine in 2014

MRA tells firm to clean up mine
Elizabeth Vuvu | The National aka The Loggers Times
THE Mineral Resources Authority has told a Canadian company to come and clean up the Sinivit mine in East New Britain it had abandoned.
New Guinea Gold Limited abandoned the East New Britain gold project in September 2014 after blaming the Government and the authority “for not quickly renewing our mining lease”.
MRA managing director Philip Samar told The National that they had notified the company to return and rectify safety and environment issues related to the Sinivit project.
Samar said they had told New Guinea Gold Ltd that it was their responsibility to clean up their mess at the mine site.
“Under the Mining Act, the company still has a mining lease that has not been cancelled,” he said. 
“Therefore, New Guinea Gold remains responsible to ensure all mining and environment regulations are complied with and safety measures are followed.
“As the mining lease holder, it needs to be responsible and cannot shift the blame here and there.”
 He said the company responded by blaming the State and the Mineral Resources Authority for not acting quickly on its mining lease.
“These unsubstantiated and misplaced claims by the tenement holder did not change New Guinea Gold’s social and regulatory obligations to fully maintain the mine. 
Samar said the company had not lodged any application with the MRA to have the mine placed in a “care and maintenance” phase. 
He said production had stopped but the site would continue to be managed safely and responsibly to ensure the mine’s security and stability.
“There is a process to follow and you cannot just walk away after giving us a letter,” Samar said.
“It is a legal requirement that a formal application is submitted.
“Mines are not tuckerboxes and companies who operate them must ensure they have the sources to maintain these mines.”
The Sinivit mine is currently under a renewal application for a new 10-year term.
That application was with the Minister for Mining for a final determination in accordance with the Mining Act process and a National Court order issued in February 2014.
There were reports that when the Sinivit mine was abandoned, locals looted and vandalised everything at the mine, including explosives and chemicals. 
Reports had surfaced of chemicals from the abandoned vats flowing into the Warangoi River. Meanwhile, provincial authorities had warned the people of Dadul, Riet and Uramot to stay clear of the mine site.

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People warned to stay away from Sinivit mine site

location map

The National aka The Loggers Times

COMMUNITIES near the abandoned Sinivit gold mine in East New Britain are warned not to interfere with relics, ruins and rubbish left at the mine site following the departure of project developer New Guinea Gold Ltd.
Provincial administrator and disaster committee chairman Wilson Matava said fiddling around with these leftovers could endanger the lives of people and their environment.
“The mine has been closed since July 2014. Last year, locals reportedly looted and vandalised properties, including explosives and dangerous chemicals from the vats,” Matava said.
Matava urged the people of Dadul, Riet and Uramot to stay clear of the mine site area.
He said there were also reports of dangerous chemicals from the abandoned vats seeping into the Warangoi River.
“The destruction of buildings and theft of materials, which act as barriers of the 17 vats used to extract gold and other minerals, have heightened the risks for locals and their environment.”
Matava said the Mineral Resources Authority and Conservation and Environment Protection Authority had been working with the East New Britain administration to contain the potential contamination of the environment.
“Attempts are being made to bring New Guinea Gold back to clean up its mess at the mine site.”

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LOs concern over Pomio mining surveys

Post Courier

Landowners from Central Inland Pomio have expressed disappointments over an exploration mining company that is currently carrying out surveys on their land over mining prospects.

Ballygowan Limited is one of the many exploration companies that have carried out surveys at Central Inland Pomio for the Ora Mine.

Pomio MP Elias Kapavore is standing firm with his people to support them and their decision over the Ora mine and the granting of exploration license.

Mr Kapavore said the landowners have expressed their disappointments over the lack of consultations between the landowners and the company over the Ora mine area.

He said he will be writing to the office of the Prime Minister as well as the Minister for mining to stop further discussions on these mining activities.

He added that his people needed more consultation and awareness on the environmental impacts plus the conditions on agreement if this company is granted licence.

The landowners want more consultations with the mining company and they also want to see previous reports from past companies who have also surveyed the area.

Mr Kapavore said from previous experiences, companies have been flying in helicopters into the area conducting fast surveys and spending between 15 to 20 minutes with landowners and leaving for good.

A warden’s hearing has been set for the end of the month for landowners together with the company to get together and talk over issues of concern over Ora mine.

Speaking on behalf of the landowners, the Pomio MP said they are not happy with the way the mining company is fast tracking the surveys to allow for the exploration licence to be issued by the Department of Mining. He strongly called for the hearing to be cancelled.

The mining company is also the same company that is applying for an exploration licence for the Sikut mine in the Sinivit LLG.

The MP together with the landowners have requested for Ballygowan Limited not to go ahead with the warden’s hearing at the end of January.

The warden’s hearing is arranged for the landowners to come together with the mining company to air their views on the mine issue, however, landowners are not at ease for this to go ahead.

Mr Kapavore said the people of Pomio have learnt their lesson with the Sinivit Gold Mine and they do not want to repeat the same mistakes, without making proper consultations at the initial stages of the mine.

He said he is supporting the decision of his people and will stop such companies who have not done proper consultations with the landowners to exploit their resources.

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Black list Sinivit Mine developer – Pundari

Mining Minister happy to pick on the small guys – what about the human rights record of Barrick Gold or the environmental damage caused by Newcrest Mining? Why no action against the big boys Mr Pundari?

pundari_not_happy

Joy Kisselpar | PNG Loop

Environment and Conservation Minister John Pundari says he wants Sinivit gold mine developer New Guinea Gold Corporation blacklisted so that they will not carry out any more mining activity in Papua New Guinea.

He says he is concerned about the way the State is allowing small companies take part in mining activities in the country.

“Such companies that do not have a strong mining back ground and proven corporate track record in responsible mining practices,” he added.

He says such companies should never be allowed in the country.

Pundari also suggested the government should establish environment bonds which can be used in the event of environmental damages.

He will be bringing a bill on this issue to parliament next year.

Pundari to take mining firm to task
The National aka The Loggers Times
Environment and Conservation Minister John Pundari says he will hold Canadian company Niugini Gold Ltd responsible for abandoning the Wild Dog gold mine at the Siniwit LLG in Pomio district without proper consultation.
Pundari told Parliament yesterday that technical officers from his department, who undertook site visits to the mine after reports of a disappearing act by the developer in April 2014, confirmed there was cyanide pollution to the river systems and other environmental dilemma caused from mining activities.
“The developer failed its corporate social responsibility and legal obligation to notify the proper authorities, especially the Mineral Resources Authority and my department regarding its intention to close the mine,” he said.
“I will use every legal means possible to have the developer answerable to the environmental dilemma it has caused and created.”
Pundari assured locals that the water was within safe levels for consumption.
He was responding to Pomio MP who raised concerns on the environmental catastrophe caused by mining activities.

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