Tag Archives: tailings management

Indonesia government asked to recalculate Freeport mine damage

FILE PHOTO: Trucks operate in the open-pit mine of PT Freeport’s Grasberg copper and gold mine complex near Timika, in the eastern region of Papua, Indonesia on September 19, 2015 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. REUTERS/Muhammad Adimaja/Antara Foto/File Photo

Reuters | 26 July, 2018

Indonesia’s parliament has asked the government to recalculate damage to the environment from the giant Grasberg copper mine operated by the local unit of Freeport McMoRan Inc, the environment ministry said.

A 2017 report by Indonesia’s Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) calculated that Freeport’s decades-long operations at the mine in Indonesia’s remote easternmost province of Papua had caused environmental damage worth $13.25 billion.

That damage, it said, was largely a result of tailings from the mine that had extended beyond previously agreed limits and which had polluted coastal areas.

The audit also said Freeport Indonesia (PT FI) had missed royalty payments, cleared thousands of hectares of protected forest and began mining underground without environmental clearance.

The environmental issues have presented problems for Freeport and Indonesia, whose state-owned mining holding company, PT Inalum, hopes to finalize a $3.9 billion deal to acquire a majority stake in Grasberg this year.

In a meeting with Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya on Tuesday, parliament urged the minister to “ensure that PT FI fulfils governmental administrative penalties” in accordance with the law, the ministry said in a statement late on Tuesday.

“Commission VII asks the Environment Minister to calculate the value of environmental losses resulting from damage and pollution from PT FI operations, as per the findings of the BPK,” Commission VII chairman Gus Irawan Pasaribu said, according to the statement.

Jakarta-based spokesmen for PTFI and Inalum did not immediately respond to a written request for comment.

Freeport CEO Richard Adkerson said on a call with analysts on July 12 the company had been “working very closely” with the environment ministry and had “received assurance that we will find a resolution of the environmental issues that will be acceptable for all parties. So we’re very encouraged by that.”

Since then he said Freeport had “entered into very productive discussions with the ministry and are making progress with the ministry in addressing these issues and working toward a resolution that we do not expect and the ministry does not expect to adversely affect our operations.”

Parliament also urged the ministry to “conduct environmental risk analysis and environmental audits on a regular basis”, and plans to hold meetings with the ministries of mining and the environment on the matter.

A spokesman for the environment ministry declined to comment further on the parliament request or provide and estimate on how long this process could take.

Indonesia’s mining minister said earlier this month the environmental matters must be resolved before his office could issue a new mining permit for PT-FI up to 2031.

Inalum CEO Budi Gunadi Sadikin told parliament on Monday that “regarding the environment, we told Freeport ‘the past problems are your sins’. In future we will take responsibility together.”

Sadikin added the environmental damage from Grasberg was a shared responsibility as the government already held a 9.36 percent stake in the mine.

Sadikin said a forestry permit for the mine still needed to be issued, and “the 185 trillion rupiah ($12.80 billion) from tailings damage still needs to be cleared up” although he was confident that all the environmental problems could be resolved.

There are 13 of 48 sanctions related to the environmental audit that have not been met yet, according to the environment ministry.

In April, Freeport shares fell to a four-month low after the environment ministry announced tough new rules intended to comply with the BPK audit, just before the company announced its first quarter earnings.

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Commission Of Inquiry Into OK Tedi

The Ok Tedi river was destroyed by Australian miner BHP

A COMMISSION of inquiry into the OK Tedi issue, the environment damage and the establishment of the PNG Sustainable Development Program will be set up.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced this in Parliament yesterday.

“Papua New Guineans deserve to know the truth, not just colouring of the truth so that it suits somebody’s interest, they deserve to know the truth and that’s why I have decided to establish a commission of inquiry,” he said.

Mr O’Neill said he would get an independent person, possibly an Australian judge, to carry out the investigation.

He also said the State had also engaged the biggest environmental law firm in Australia, Slater and Gordon, to review the case that was done by Rex Dagi so that the PNG Government itself takes out the court case against BHP.

“We have to sue this company for the substantial environmental damage they have caused to our people,” he said.

Mr O’Neill was answering questions from South Fly MP Sekie Agisa who, during Question Time, asked the PM what the government and OK Tedi were doing to mitigate the environment damage to Western Province.

Mr O’Neill said the issue about the environmental damage to Western Province has been well publicised, well debated and well documented.

“It is certainly a sad story which successive governments had no due care for the welfare of their own people and protected the interest of the big mining giants and was given protection in fact by legislations passed by this parliament,” he said.

He said the saga is continuing with the PNG Sustainable Development Program that was established as part of that compensation program by the then Morauta Government while giving indemnity and legislative protection to BHP.

“BHP walked away unchallenged for their responsibilities that they had to the people of Western Province on the massive environmental damage they have conducted while they were managing OK Tedi, that is a proven fact.

“I know that our people have now taken over the mine and I know there are certain improvements in the way they manage their waste in OK Tedi, but I feel that this is a question that still lingers in the mindset of our people,” he said.

He said PNGSDP is now subject to a court case in Singapore between the State and the directors of PNGSDP.

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Wafi-Golpu to cost $US2.8b and will dump toxic tailings in the ocean

Newcrest managing director Sandeep Biswas believes Wafi-Golpu is the company’s best growth asset. Philip Gostelow

See also: New Campaign Seeks End to Ocean Mine Waste Dumping

Newcrest to spend more on $US2.8b Wafi-Golpu mine, chooses ocean tailings

Peter Ker | Australian Financial Review | 19 March 2018

Newcrest Mining’s top growth project Wafi-Golpu will cost $US200 million ($259 million) more to build under updated plans that envisage a larger mine being built and mine wastes being piped into the ocean.

Last estimated to cost $US2.6 billion, Newcrest said on Monday it would now cost $US2.8 billion to build a mine at the Wafi-Golpu site in Papua New Guinea, with the mine expected to last 28 years and offer an 18.2 per cent rate of return.

Capital spending over the life of the mine would rise to $US5.4 billion.

Wafi-Golpu will produce copper and gold, and is expected to be a cheaper producer of copper than 90 per cent of the world’s copper mines once gold credits are taken into account.

Monday’s updated study suggests each pound of copper produced at Wafi-Golpu will have a unit cost of US26¢, well below the $US3.11 per pound that copper was fetching on Monday morning.

One of the major decisions facing Newcrest and its joint venture partner Harmony Gold was how to manage the mine wastes or tailings from Wafi-Golpu, given the mine is located in hilly terrain, in an area known for its seismic activity and its heavy rainfall.

Newcrest confirmed on Monday that mine wastes would be piped into the ocean, under a method dubbed “deep sea tailings storage”.

Newcrest already pipes mine wastes into the ocean at its Lihir mine in Papua New Guinea, and said the method was chosen for Wafi-Golpu after a detailed study of 45 potential sites for the construction of tailings dam on land.

The company said an on-land tailings dam would disturb land that was valuable for biodiversity, heritage and economic reasons.

“The project area has high seismicity and complex geology including active faulting which could at some sites result in liquefiable soils. Complex design would be required to partly mitigate such factors and that would carry high risk and high cost,” the company said on Monday.

“Any (dam) structure would contain very large amounts of water with commensurate risks.”

On the contrary, Newcrest said the nearby Western Huon Gulf was a “highly suitable environment” for tailings storage.

“It hosts a deep canyon leading to a very deep oceanic basin with no evidence of upwelling,” the company said.

In February Newcrest boss Sandeep Biswas said deep sea tailing storage at Wafi-Golpu would probably cost more than building an on-land tailings dam initially, but would probably be a cheaper option over the life of the mine.

The decision to pipe wastes into the ocean comes barely a week after a tailings dam wall slipped at Newcrest’s flagship Cadia mine in New South Wales, leaving the operation suspended indefinitely.

Newcrest currently owns 50 per cent of Wafi-Golpu, but that stake could fall to 35 per cent if the PNG government takes up an option to buy 30 per cent of the mine.

Studies conducted in 2012 estimated a larger version of the mine would cost $US4.8 billion, with such a project producing 400,000 ounces of gold annually and 250,000 tonnes of copper.

But subsequent studies have considered smaller development options.

A 2016 study into the project envisaged a mine producing 202,000 ounces of gold and 130,000 tonnes of copper per year.

Monday’s updated study envisages a mine that produces 266,000 ounces of gold per year and 161,000 tonnes of copper per year.

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Mining Minister pre-empts Frieda river mine approval process

The Frieda river mine has yet to go through a proper approval process, the companies involved have yet to agree how they will manage the toxic and dangerous mine tailings or how they will produce enough electricity, but the Mining Minister doesn’t care. He has given government agencies a two-year deadline to get the mine approved and construction started…

Frieda Gold Set For 2019

Post Courier | November 14, 2017

Construction phase for the Frieda mine gold project in West Sepik Province will begin in 2019.
Mining Minister Johnson Tuke Tuke said this during his ministerial visit to the mine last week. The production will start around 2030 or 2040 which the developer PanAust committed to deliver in line with the Government’s 100 days plan.
Mr Tuke said the government has been given two years to go through government agencies like, Conservation & Environment Protection Authority, Mineral Resources Authority, provincial governments and the extractive industry to get the project started.
“There is no issue but I would like both governors to continue with the positive attitude they’ve embraced and get their provincial MPs on board, because inclusive management and political will is crucial to get Frieda off the ground,” he said.
The East Sepik and Sandaun governors have agreed to work together to get this project off the ground.
“All of us have to work together and I’ve assured the people and the developer, give us two years to get all the paperwork done and then we can start on the project,” Mr Tuke said.

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