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Deep Sea Mining

Deep Sea Mining

Scholarships in Mining

Crater Gold Mines Second Adit to boost gold production

CRATER Gold Mining Limited has announced that plans are in place to commence the Second Adit at the High Grade Zone Project at Crater Mountain, Papua New Guinea. The firm, in its report to the Australian Stock Exchange, said the area between 1930 level and 1960 level has not been exploited at all by artisanal miners, unlike the area between 1960 level and surface where artisanal workings are frequently encountered. Thus, the firm said the addition of the Second Adit will result in higher gold production as both the 1930 and 1960 levels will be producing in tandem. The adit will access the depth continuity of the central block of the high grade zone, this will provide more working faces in addition to those being mined above the 1960 level and will result in greater flexibility and higher production. Gold mining production is ongoing at the HGZ and so far has been focused on stopping the near vertical structures within the central high grade block of the HGZ project. The Australian miner said as of early August 2016 a further $149,000 has been received by the company from recent gold sales. The company said it is expecting that gold production will further increase as stoping is now also undertaken on the flat dipping structures as well as the near vertical structures within the central high grade block of the HGZ mine. Currently only one mill is in production, however minor changes to the milling circuit are planned, involving the installation of a vibrating screen and placement of mills in series rather than in parallel. This will result in a considerable increase in throughput and less wear of hammers and discharge screens. The company’s focus remains on ramping up production to full capacity. Crater Gold’s managing director Russ Parker said:  “We are constantly looking at every avenue to increase production, hence the need for the second adit and the plan to modify the processing plant whilst also working on containment of costs. z“We are currently investigating the feasibility of upgrading a gazetted track to a level which might support 4WD access and as such would result in less reliance on expensive air freight by fixed wing and helicopter.” Mr Parker said the company will be issuing a mixing zone project update in the near future.

Wafi, PNG's first large scale underground mine

Road leading into Wafi Gold and Copper Mine : Photo credit: Andrew Tapia
AN application to develop PNG’s first major multi-million dollar underground gold and copper mine at $US4.191billion in Wafi, Morobe Province, was lodged with the Mineral Resources Authority in Port Moresby last Thursday. Tenement holder Wafi Mining Limited lodged a special mining lease (SML10) on behalf of the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture on behalf of its partners. WML is a wholly owned subsidiary of Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited (Harmony), a listed company in South Africa, and Newcrest PNG 2 Limited, whose ultimate holding company is Newcrest Mining Limited (Newcrest). MRA’s managing director Philip Samar said the project will be the first major, large-scale underground resource project in the Morobe Province, although Newcrest and Harmony subsidiaries jointly operate the Hidden Valley mine near Wau. Mr Samar said registration of the SML is a significant milestone for the companies involved and for Papua New Guinea, coming at a time when the mining sector is commencing a recovery from a severe cyclical downturn.

 “This Wafi-Golpu project application, together with the recent Frieda River application, further boosts PNG’s status as a highly ranked and prospective, global, mining investment destination. “It provides growing confidence for the future of our mining industry, which has long been the mainstay of the Papua New Guinea economy.  “As a developed mine, the project will increase national gross domestic product and export earnings and provide a long term boost to government revenues. It will also generate benefit streams to landowners and host communities, as well as create new employment and business development opportunities during project construction and operation,” Mr Samar said. Mr Samar said Wafi-Golpu will be the largest underground mine in Papua New Guinea, utilising a proven block cave mining method, which has been highly successful in Newcrest’s Cadia mine in Australia. It is a high productivity, low cost mining method, generating less surface waste material and enables higher value ore located at depth to be accessed earlier. The Golpu deposit has a JORC compliant mineral resource of 824 metric tons (MT) at 1.05 per cent copper, 0.70grams/ton (g/t) gold, 1.25g/t silver and 90ppm molybdenum. The capital cost to achieve commercial production for the project is estimated at $US2.64 billion, with a sustaining capital (post steady-state production) cost of $US1.551 Billion giving a total project capital cost of $US4.191 Billion. Mr Samar said there will be an estimated development period of five years to commencement of production. “The initial life of the mine is expected to be 28 years, with the pre-feasibility study supporting further expansion to extend the initial operation beyond 40 years. The estimated average annual production of metal in concentrate over the initial life of mine is 102,000 tons of copper and 198,000 ounces of gold,” Mr Samar said.

Post Courier / PMW

Oil Search revenue hit by commodity price

OIL Search Limited’s revenue fell 33 percent to US$580.8million despite recording high levels in production and sales volumes. Managing director Peter Botten in releasing the firm’s half year results said the drop in revenue was driven by the materially lower realised commodity prices. “Average realised oil and condensate prices fell 27 per cent while LNG and gas prices were 40 per cent lower than in the previous corresponding period. “As a result, despite an eight per cent reduction in unit production costs to a very competitive US$8.21/boe reflecting the successful implementation of a range of major cost reduction initiatives, net profit after tax for the first half was US$25.6million,” he said.

Mr Botten said total production for the first half of 2016 was 14.9million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) which for the firm was the second highest half year result in its corporate history. He said the PNG LNG project had produced an annualised rate of 7.7 metric tonnes per annum which he said was significantly above the name plate capacity of 6.9 MTPA while the PNG oil and gas fields had contributed 3.52mmboe, compared to 3.38mmboe in the previous corresponding period.

“This was achieved despite a planned production rate reduction for routine compressor maintenance and an unplanned shutdown relating to the generation control system in May, the first the project had been completely shut down since production started in mid-2014. “Pleasingly the operator had brought the plant back online quickly and safely with production reaching a new monthly high of 8.2MTPA in June,” he said. He said sales volumes rose five percent to 15.2mmboe, which was also a record for the company.

He said during the first half of 2016 that 53 LNG cargoes were sold-45 had been under long term contracts and eight on the spot market. Six of the eight that had been sold on the spot market were vended to customers in Japan, reflecting the desirability of PNG LNG’s high heating value gas to Japanese consumers. “As at the end of June 205 LNG cargoes had been delivered from the project since commencing sales.

Post Courier

Oil Search remains optimistic for project integration

WHILE Oil Search Limited is disappointed that its bid to acquire Inter-Oil has fallen through, it remains optimistic of the gains through project integration.

Oil Search chairman Richard Lee made these remarks while also commenting on the firm’s half year results for 2016.

In a presentation to the firm’s shareholders in Australia yesterday Mr Lee said from the outset that had Oil Search’s bid gone through, it would this time be welcoming InterOIl Sharedholders to its register.

He said the firm had been able to make good progress in convincing InterOil on the merits and prospects of a merger with Oil Search and the vote by the shareholders would have been a few weeks ago had all gone as planned.

However, this changed when InterOil had advised in July of the ExxonMobil proposal which it had judged to be more superior to the one it (Oil Search) had proposed.

"We as a board decided not to match Exxon, which was our right and a similar position was adopted by Total, so in many ways there was a great deal of disappointment in the Oil Search camp to surrender the position of what you may some control over the integration and our destiny.

"But I think and you will hear today, that we see very clear benefits still from integration available and arguably more certain for Oil search shareholders and an all-time shareholder value was our primary dimension in our thinking

"We are not in the driver’s seat but we are certainly in the same bus.

Bougainville people major owner of Bougainville Copper Ltd

THE Government has enabled a majority shareholding of Bougainville Copper Ltd for the people of Bougainville, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced in Parliament yesterday.
O’Neill said the Government had transferred 17.4 per cent recently given to it by Rio Tinto to the Autonomous Bougainville Government to make it 53.8 per cent for it.
Added to the 36.4 per cent given to ABG by Rio Tinto at the same time, it means that Bougainville now owns 53.8 per cent of BCL.
The Government already has a 19 per cent direct interest in BCL, while the remaining 27.2 per cent is owned by other investors.
O’Neill said the announcement would put to rest “rumours and misleading information”.
“This is a historical announcement that will affect every man, woman and child in Bougainville,” he said.
“Rio Tinto decided to transfer, on its own accord, its 53.8 per cent controlling interest in BCL to ABG and the State.
“Rio Tinto has transferred 17.4 per cent to the national government, and the remaining 36.4 per cent to the ABG without costs.
“These shares have now been transferred to the Government of Papua New Guinea, to our trustee under the Kumul Mineral Holdings Ltd.
“This was aimed by Rio Tinto to give an equal shareholding between the national government and the ABG.
“The national government already has a 19 per cent direct interest in BCL, so with the 17.4 per cent it was intended to take this to 36.4 per cent, and the transfer of 36.4 per cent direct to ABG was meant to balance the ownership of that mine so that we can continue to work together.”
O’Neill said the Government wanted to ensure that it made the right decision for the people of Bougainville.
“We are aware of the pain and torment that the people of Bougainville have gone through, and the importance of land,” he said.
“They felt very strongly that they were disempowered and they did not have participation in the mine itself.

Planned undersea miner cutting back

The company planning to mine the seabed of Papua New Guinea's Bismarck Bay has advised that it's cutting back its activities because of money pressures. Nautilus Minerals is reducing its workforce and ending contracts for the construction of equipment for the seafloor mining it was expecting to begin by 2018 for its Solwara 1 project in PNG. Mining Weekly reported the company saying it was looking for 'significant additional project funding.' Nautilus's plan had been to mine high-grade polymetallic seafloor massive sulphide deposits. Mining Weekly said the joint venture had already taken delivery of the three main seafloor production tools which had been built in England. They were scheduled to undergo extensive wet testing in Oman. The underwater mining project, a world first, has faced fierce opposition from environmentalists and the communities surrounding Bismarck Bay.


ExxonMobil says PNG protest not affecting production

The multinational ExxonMobil has again rejected claims part of its LNG operation in the country has been shut down by protestors.

Landowners in Hides in Hela Province last week began a campaign demanding the government meet its commitments to pay it royalties.

According to online reports the government delegation, Minister for Petroleum and Energy Nixon Duban, Finance Minister and Prime Minister Peter O’Neil who travelled  into the province last week to address the current situation had failed to resolve the issues.

An ExxonMobil spokesperson said in a statement the landowners’ peaceful protest is continuing, but that the company was still able to operate and meet its contractual obligations.

She said while it was a matter between the landowners and the government the company was doing what it could to facilitate communication.

The ExxonMobil LNG plant, which came on stream two years ago, is the biggest industrial project ever constructed in the Pacific.

LNG payments ready for Central

PETROLEUM and Energy Minister Nixon Duban says the payments for landowners of the PNG LNG Project in Central are ready.
Duban denied claims that the Government did not have the money to pay landowners in the project-impacted provinces.
He said yesterday at the Hides in Hela that the Alternate Dispute Resolution process was delaying payments to landowners.
“We can run all cheques tomorrow. I am ready to pay (landowners in) Central. Then I want to go to the pipeline areas because they don’t have any issues,” he said.
He said Minister for Finance James Marape had advised that payments for all other provinces should await the completion of the clan-vetting process for Hela.
“We (Government) will not pay anybody yet,” he said.
“Instead, we will allow a State team to come to Hela on Friday to set a time-line on the clan-vetting process and payments of royalties and the 2 per cent equity held in the Mineral Resources Development Company.”
MRDC managing director Augustine Mano assured locals in Hela that the company was still holding onto their 2 per cent equity – now valued at K200 million.
He told the landowners that once the clan vetting process was completed, they would receive the funds, plus the K135 million in royalty held by the Central Bank. The National