Tag Archives: Zijin Mining

Landowner Calls For Investigation Into Warden’s Hearing

Government Urged To Intervene.

Yombi Kep | Post Courier | April 17, 2019

A landowner in Porgera is calling for investigation into the Mining Wardens Hearing held at Paiam Sports Oval in Porgera, Enga Province on Tuesday 2nd April 2019.

Landowner and former member for Lagaip-Porgera, Opis Papo is supporting the allegations made by Justice Foundation Chairman Jonathan Paraia that the illegal miners were unduly influenced to support Barrick Niugini Limited’s application to renew their SML and other tenements.

Mr Papo made the call after reading a report in Post Courier on the 15th of April 2019 at page 25 titled “Barrick refutes claim”.

According to the report Barrick Niugini Limited (BNL), the majority owner and operator of the Porgera gold mine has dismissed an allegation describing it as entirely untrue that it supports illegal mining. Barrick further said they did not condone illegal mining in any form and has consistently sought in cooperation and partnership with the government to discourage people from engaging in this activity which is not only unlawful but extremely hazardous.

However, Mr Papo said that even though everyone in Porgera including Jonathan Paraia and himself do not support illegal mining in Porgera, they are genuinely concerned about the conduct of Barrick in appreciating the illegal miners at the recent wardens hearing at Porgera.

“The illegal miners support for Barrick was never an isolated event, it was done in the full knowledge and active support of Barrick, whereby in front of thousands of people, the media and government officials, the Barrick’s senior manager, Timothy Andambo publically thanked and appreciated the support of the illegal miners in their quest to renew their license to mine for another 20 years.”

He added that the Government must now conduct an investigation into this incident as it has been spending millions of kina since 2009, to police illegal mining in Porgera and developer Barrick has undermined firstly, the government’s costly effort and secondly such conduct may have breached relevant PNG laws.


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Former MP objects to Porgera mine extension

Protest against Barrick Gold

The National aka The Loggers Times | April 8, 2019

BARRICK Niugini Ltd continues to face more objections against it continuing to develop the giant Porgera gold mine in Enga.

Former Lagaip-Porgera MP and Barrick geologist Opis Papo, representing 22 clans along the Porgera River, said he was not given the opportunity to speak and object during last Tuesday’s warden hearing in Porgera.

Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas last week said Barrick’s special mining lease (SML) should not be renewed when it expired in August.

Papo said in a statement that the hearing at Paiam station was marred with violence caused by illegal miners, purported to be engaged by certain groups. He said he earlier wrote to chief warden Andrew Gunua registering his objections as well as those of the clans he represented.

Papo said as a member of four clans – Bipe, Mayuni, Pene and Eno – and with power of attorney given to him in 1995 by 22 clans of the Porgera River area, he objected as required under section 107 of the Mining Act, 1992.

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Scott Waide: Will PNG project reviews mean more benefits for landowners?

This year is a crucial year for Papua New Guinea’s mining industry as important players – in Hela, Porgera and Madang – are being examined over their performance. 

Scott Waide | April 7, 2019

Just into the fourth month of 2019, and resource projects in Papua New Guinea have come under scrutiny.

Early last month, senior ministers of government, including Petroleum Minister Fabian Pok, traveled to Komo in Hela for meetings with landowners of the gas project.

After 15 years, there is some progress. Or at least that’s the positive spin to it.

There appears to be some indication that royalties locked away due to legal battles and tangled by bureaucratic red tape were going to be paid – but only after landowner identification processes.

Finance Minister James Marape told the media three months ago, that K300 million (NZ$132 million) is parked at the Central Bank ready to be released. But landowners or people claiming to be landowners had to follow a process of “landowner identification” in order to be paid the money.

There is some hope of an end to disputes. However, the final settlement is still a long way off. That’s the reality. Many of the elders died waiting for the royalty payments they were promised.

Since becoming a new province, there is still a lot that needs to be ironed out. The Hela provincial government still has to work its way through layers of bureaucratic processes that continue to favour the Southern Highlands in terms of royalty payments from the gas project.

It’s all that and a lot more.

Background to complexities
Understanding the background to the complexities of the resource project in Hela means going back some 20 years when oil extraction ended and the promise of Papua New Guinea becoming the Saudi Arabia and Dubai of the Pacific faded as the crude oil taps shut off.

It is against that backdrop that the neighbouring Enga province is now looking at the Porgera mine’s renegotiation through a wardens’ hearing. This is a process that is reopened after the end of a mining lease.

Landowners and the Enga provincial government are looking at a bigger slice of revenues and benefits.

What did they get over the last 30 years? That’s a point of contention for pro-mining and anti-mining proponents.

What is visible to the international community is the campaigns against alleged atrocities committed against local people in Porgera and the desperate push by locals to get what little crumbs they can from a mine that has existed for 30 years on their land.

For the first time in more than three decades, it appears the national government is speaking a different language: One that calls for greater benefits into government coffers and landowner pockets.

This rhetoric has come after 30 years of gold extraction, 500 shipments of liquefied natural gas and billions of dollars worth of round log exports.

Production-based tax
In Lae, during the opening of the Central Bank’s Currency Processing Facility, Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel talked about a production-based tax. Instead of a profit-based tax for resource projects which will be signed from 2019 onwards.

The general thinking from the national government is that a profits based tax can be deceptive leaving the government with very little to collect if a mining company declares losses or breaks even.

While Porgera discusses mine benefits, a similar process is happening in Madang. Triggered by an agreement between the Chinese and the PNG Governments, Ramu Nickel’s expansion is in discussions ongoing between the government and the developer.

The processes are long and drawn out. The risk is that without proper representation, landowners could be left with another raw deal for several more decades before another opportunity for renegotiation presents itself.

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Lead Objector To Barrick’s Application For SML Renewal Denied Voice

Kevin Teme | Post Courier | April 4, 2019

Chairman of Justice Foundation for Pogera, a not for profit organisation, Jonathan Paraia, who is the lead objector to Barrick (Niugini) Limited’s application for renewal on all its mining tenements in relation to Pogera Gold Mine, was turned down from giving his speech during the Mine Warden hearing in Pogera on Monday.

It is believed Paraia was in the stage of explaining the majority of the landowners’ stance as to why Barrick should not be granted its application for extension of the Special Mining Lease (SML) and other related tenements when he was deliberately told to stop by the Mine Warden.

The Mine Warden at that time was Andrew Gunua from Mineral Resource Authority (MRA), the relevant statutory regulatory authority that regulates the Mining Industry in the country. An attempt made to get in touch with the Mine Warden Andrew Gunua, MRA and Barrick representatives as to why Paraia, the lead objector of the SML was stopped during his speech was unsuccessful.

It is believed that majority of the landowners of the 24 SML clans and their agents who represents all landowners of Pogera SML area have objected that Barrick (Niugini) Limited will not renew its SML and other tenements. Barrick’s SML expires in August this year but it is believed the company has sent their applications to MRA for renewal.

Meanwhile, a text message received from one of the Mining Resource Authority representative stated that Paraia could not be allowed to continue to talk on that day because he got his lawyer to talk.

“It is against the Mining Act 1992 section 108 sub section (a) and (c) for another person other than landowners themselves to talk during the warden hearing. Sub section 2 (a) and (C) talks about identifying landowners at the hearing, assess and record views of landowners.”

The Mine Warden, Gunua in his response to one of the journalist that responded to this argument posted on social media stated that, “the lawyer is not a landowner and he was identified at the hearing as such. That is why Paraia could not be allowed to continue his speech.”

“Furthermore, Justice Foundation Chairman Jonathan Paraia was given the opportunity to speak during the hearing however he abused the opportunity by speaking out of the intent of the hearing and provoked the other landowners.”

“The intent was for him (Paraia) to raise his views as to the work program for each tenement as explained by the developer,” Gunua stated in his response to the journalist (named), which the journalist posted on facebook.

It further stated that as a result the Warden (Gunua) intervened to control Paraia even before he got his lawyer to talk.

Paraia when asked about this said the whole scenario was a set up by Barrick to disturb the objections and views made by the majority of the landowners.

“I represent the majority, 17 SML Agents out of the 24. The hearing today (on Monday) was for the Mine warden to hear the objectors’ views and not the parties that are in support of Barrick for its extension of SML license,” Paraia said.

“The Mine Warden has failed his part and has compromised by allowing the other parties including Barrick’s senior community affairs Manager Timothy Andambo and others who were in support of Barrick to have more time to speak while I as the lead objector was turned down and not given enough time to explain why we, the majority of the landowners have objected for Barrick to renew its SML license. Even the microphone I was using to talk was put off,” Paraia said.

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Landowners Threatening To Derail Major Resource Extraction Projects

Landowners protest against Barrick Gold and the Porgera mine earlier in 2019

Mal Taime and Gorethy Kenneth | Post Courier | April 3, 2019

LANDOWNER groups are threatening to derail two major resource developments in the country.

These are the Papua LNG in the Gulf of Papua and Porgera Gold Mine in Enga, where a Wardens Hearing on developer Barrick’s bid for renewal of its licence was conducted yesterday with hundreds crowding the Paiam Oval in Porgera.

The event nearly turned into factional disagreements which almost turned nasty before police cooled the situation to allow Chief Mining Warden Commission Andrew Gunua to hear the company and landowner representatives.

Porgera Joint Venture executive managing director Tony Esplin, in presenting the company’s application to extend its operations, appealed for the people’s understanding saying PJV mining operations was for the people.

Locals supporting PJV’s extension bid wore yellow with banners saying “Barrick PJV to stay” while those opposed also came with banners.

The fracas occurred when former Porgera Development Authority chairman Jonathan Paraia objected and said his faction would be represented by their lawyer.

Mr Gunua told Mr Paraia that he will conduct the warden hearing fairly and listen to all parties, but this did not go down well with Mr Paraia’s faction.

Meanwhile, in Port Moresby, a landowner group from the Gulf Province aggrieved by the Papua LNG announcements demanded in a letter to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to defer the signing of the agreement for the Gulf (Papua) LNG project until all legal requirements are met. Failing that, they will go to court to stop the signing if no response is forthcoming by Thursday (tomorrow).

They claim they are the legitimate landowners and only owners of the PRL 15 land sites where the wellheads are located.

Executives of the Aumake Nairu Orumako Land Group, in a press conference claimed they own over 100,000 hectares of land in the Elk Antelope.

The incorporated landowner group (ILG NBR 513) chairman Apae Koivi and secretary Kepsy Koivi said from day one they have never been engaged in any negotiations pertaining to the Papua LNG despite them being the legitimate landowners.

“Of course for the last three years we have not made any noise because we wanted to have all legal documents and instruments in place, and now that we have it in our hand, we are coming out,” chairman Koivi said.

“We the Aumake Nairu Orumako Land Group now have an ILG certificate from the Department of Lands which makes us the legal landowner group. We are not closing the Gulf LNG, no, all we want is deferral of the signing so we can iron the legal issues, and so that we can find out who has represented PRL 15 all these years,” he said.

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Landowners Want Barrick Out

Police and military have been deployed to Porgera as protests against Barrick continue

Kevin Teme | Post Courier | April 2, 2019

The township of Porgera in Enga has come to a standstill as Porgera landowners were given the opportunity say whether  gold miner Barrick (Niugini) Limited should extend its special mining lease (SML) or discontinue.

With the SML expiring on the 19th August this year, majority of the landowners have urged Barrick to leave while there are loyal factions who want Barrick to remain and extend its SML for another 20 years.

Vocal and outspoken chairman of Justice Foundation, a non profit landowners organisation Jonathan Paraia claimed a lot of damage have been done to the lives of the people including damage to the surrounding environment and the people were spectators to their own land.

A claim also resonated by Enga governor Peter Ipatas who yesterday said: “People cannot continue to be spectators.”

“When are our government agencies going to support the interest of our people, provincial government and the State,” Ipatas said.

Paraia has appealed to the government to amend the Mining Act to ensure landowners have benefits from equity distributions and they must be involved in decision making.

There’s been several issues raised by the Porgera Landowners when the mine has been operating for around 30 years and today is the moment the Mine Warden is in town to hear what the landowners stance is on the SML and what they feel about the developer.

17 out of 24 agents of the landowners have called for Barrick to move out while only seven are believed to favor Barrick to remain.

Barrick has applied to renew the special mining lease and other tenements that it currently holds to operate the Porgera Gold Mine for another 20 years.

However this will be decided with a strong recommendation and objection put forward by Justice Foundation.

The Enga Provincial Government has also objected to Barrick application for renewal of the tenements where the governor for Enga Peter Ipatas has stressed that his government will ensure that Barrick doesn’t get renewal of the tenements, but for a fresh SML and related tenements to be re-negotiated and issued.

“The project will continue but the people of the province and especially the SML landowners will now have the opportunity to put their views together to see a new agreement,” Ipatas said yesterday.

There are several objections which will be put forward today and currently the township has come to a halt as people are now marching into Paiam oval with banners and demonstration calling ‘Barrick Out!’

Meanwhile heavy police and military personnel are currently manning the Mining Warden’s hearing.

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Mining Pollution Limits Access to Clean Water in Papua New Guinea

Mining pollution turns Papua New Guinea’s Pongema River red. Photo: Red Water report

Aly Azhar  Columbia University | March 15, 2019

new report titled Red Water documents the social, environmental, economic, and health impacts of gold mining in Porgera, Papua New Guinea. The report finds that the communities affected by mining do not have access to consistent and safe drinking water. This is due, in part, to the fact that the PNG government has not met its human rights obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill the right to water in Porgera, and because companies that own and operate the mine — Canadian company Barrick Gold and Zijin Mining from China — are in breach of their responsibilities to respect the right to water.

Red Water finds that the Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) gold mine poses direct threats to the social and economic rights of communities living near the mine. These key findings are a result of a four-year study conducted by Earth Institute scientists, Pennsylvania State University scientists, and Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic faculty and students. The investigation conducted over 177 interviews and meetings and collected and analyzed 45 sediment samples from streams adjacent to the PJV gold mine, 25 soil samples from local residents’ household gardens, and water samples from 64 sites.

Homes near the mine do not have running water inside them. 

The PJV releases mine waste, known as tailings, from the mine facility into the Pongema River at an average rate of over 14,000 tons per day. The tailings discharge forms what local residents refer to as the “Red River.” A 2013 study noted the catastrophic environmental consequences of tailings discharge and noted that of the 2,500 industrial-sized mines in the world, only four mines — three of them in PNG — were found to rely on riverine tailings disposal. According to one resident of Porgera, the local residents are “in a desperate situation. [Our] environment is not in a good condition.” Moreover, with a changing climate, water insecurity in the area is an acute problem.

The Porgera gold mine has been one of the world’s highest-producing gold mines over the course of its quarter-century history, and has accounted for a considerable percentage of PNG’s economic income. The mine, which began operations in 1989, has long been contentious, and has generated global attention for both violence by security personnel and allegations of environmental degradation. The mine is owned by the PJV with a 95 percent share held by the mining companies.

The Red Water report highlights key recommendations for the corporations who own the mine, government actors in Papua New Guinea, the government of Canada, and international development partners:

  • Publicly commit to advance the human right to water in Porgera. The report recommends that the consortium of mining companies publicly announce a commitment to initiate a multi-stakeholder process to create a Human Right to Water Policy for the Porgera Joint Venture.
  • Work with the government of PNG to promote consistent access to adequate amounts of clean water for household uses in Porgera. The companies, in partnership with the Papua New Guinea government and in consultation with Porgeran communities, should invest in infrastructure improvements to provide adequate sources of safe water at the household level.
  • Immediately pledge to carry out an independent environmental and social audit of the PJV. This must be a full audit examining all the social, environmental, and health effects of the mine, including on water, land, flora, fauna, and human health. The results of the audit must be made public and accessible, especially for potentially impacted communities.
  • Adopt necessary laws and regulations to ensure that Canadian corporations respect human rights in their extraterritorial activities, and that there is access to remedy where such activities breach international human rights.

A launch event for the report will be held in April and will involve the research team and members of human rights and international development groups.

The report was supported by Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Clinic and a Cross-Cutting Initiative grant from Columbia University’s Earth Institute.

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