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Solomon Islands govt signs agreement to restore mining lease

Admin | 1:26 PM | |
The Solomon Islands government has withdrawn last year's cancellation of the mining licence for Gold Ridge Mining Ltd.This effectively restarts efforts by landowners and the new majority shareholder, Chinese-owned Australian property developer AXF Group, to re-open the Guadalcanal mine.

In a statement the chairman of the cabinet sub-committee on Gold Ridge said the minister cancelled the mining lease because he felt the previous owner St Barbara's sudden departure breach of the Mines and Minerals Act, and the Mining Agreement.

The miner's departure from Gold Ridge followed complications around flash floods in April 2014, which compromised the mine's tailings dam and impeded access to the mine.

St Barbara however, has repeatedly denied abandoning the mine.

It stands by its transfer of ownership, via the sale at a nominal amount, to local landowning company Gold Ridge Community Investments Ltd.

The Australian miner also denied claims by GCIL following the sale that it had saddled the local landowner company with all the environmental liability of the closed mine.

Following the signing of the agreement with government to restore the mining licence, GCIL's chairperson, Walton Naezon, said landowners would be working closely with their chosen investor and the government to restore the mine to profitability. RNZI

PNG's Frieda River mine set to start operations

Admin | 1:20 PM | ||
The giant Frieda River mine in West Sepik is now 60 percent ready of becoming a reality with the National Government waiting to issue the mining license for the project to start after few technical issues are sorted out, says Aitape Lumi MP and Minister for Treasury Patrick Pruaitch.

"Frieda River is 60 per cent reality now, we are ready to issue the license. We just need to work through with the technical people to on how they will dump the raw waste."

"The company has put an application to convert mine waste into power generation system , but the State does not have the capacity so it is doing its best to hire people to give the best advice on how we can look at that and we can give the okay for that 40 per cent to be completed, for 100 per cent to give the mining license for project to start," Mr Pruaitch said.

Mr Pruaitch said this at the opening of the first ever Frieda Mine Landowners Forum underway in Port Moresby’s Crowne Plaza Hotel that started yesterday and will end today.

Mr Pruaitch urged the people to work together and put together their benefits package for the National Government to consider during the project negotiation.

" Let us not send mix signals, it will give opportunity for company to go divide a few LLGs and MP’s to start the mine with the least cost possible so we can bring in impacted development for that region,

"I believe that is a big project that will transform Sandaun Province and Sepik region including Madang. This project will spread benefits across the region."

"I want initial support from landowners because if we don’t have a project, we will not talk about benefits. We have to have a project, we have to get a leg in and another one in than we can be able to negotiate for the benefits. If we are not supporting the project than we can be standing here as leaders driving a lost cost, we must have a project, we must have shareholding understanding with impacted landowners, we must have understanding with the Telefomin district, we must have that understanding with the Telefomin LLG and sandaun Provincial Government."

"I want Frieda mine which is going to be the first mining for the next government to use LNG precedent to allocate these benefits." Post Courier

Locals thank miner Barrick Niugini for job ready program

Admin | 1:09 PM | ||
Locals from Porgera in Enga Province have expressed their thanks to Barrick Niugini Limited (BNL) after completing the mining companies recruitment training program.

Initiated in 2016, BNL’s ‘Job Ready Program (JRP),’ has successfully passed 120 Porgera locals who completed four weeks of basic skills training.

The training has resulted in 72 locals securing permanent employment within the Porgera joint Venture.

 The remaining are either on temporary roles or undergoing some form of further training respective to the job placement requirements.

Amanda Larap, from Yarik village which is located in the Special Mine Lease (SML) area is now undergoing training to be a fitter machinist with the Maintenance Training section.

“I am a school leaver and I am very happy with this opportunity that PJV has provided. This is a male dominated trade and some tasks suit the ability of males only. But I try to adjust, associate myself with the boys and try to complete the job within the given time-frame,” Larap expressed.

Edward Bele from Paiam is another success story and is undergoing training in Heavy Equipment Fitting with the Truckshop.

“I’ve struggled with studies financially and this opportunity is a dream come true. I can see myself being a qualified HEF at the end of my program,” Edward said.

Twenty-six of the JRP trainees are now attached with the Asset Management & Infrastructure (AMI) department as Trainee Tradespersons, two are with AMI cranes and the Lube Bay respectively. Thirty-Five are attached with the Mining Department, 11 in the Processing Department and 15 have taken up roles with support service departments.

The first 20 intakes for the 2017 JRP program, 15 male and five female, graduated on Friday February 24 on completion of four weeks of basic skills training. It was the sixth sixth graduation of the program.

Fourteen of them are already in permanent employment with the mine department, nine are with the open pit and five with the Underground operations.

PJV Senior Manager Human Resource and Employee Development, David Lilley, in presenting certificates, said the first year of the program had proven to be successful with positive feedback from departments that have engaged JRP trainees.

He told the graduating trainees, the real opportunity starts now and it is up to each one to become successful using this opportunity.

“We want this program to continue for a long time and have many hundreds more local people employed by PJV through this program, but it depends on you. When you get to your job, you have to become a safe, productive and highly valued employee,” Lilley said.

The manager of the Porgera gold mine plans to have 100 local Porgera locals participate in the Job Ready program for 2017.

BNL initiated the JRP in early 2016 as a recruitment strategy for genuine and potential young adults of the Porgera region to “prepare” them for technical, operational and administrative roles within the operation of the mine. LoopPNG

PanAust speaks out on HPL

Admin | 1:06 PM |
MINER PanAust Limited has broken its silence on the rift that has developed with its joint venture partner-Highlands Pacific Limited (HPL).

Responding in a market report managing director Dr Fred Hess clarified the proposal was to reinvigorate its (HPL) board and that it had omitted material information to the proposal.

"PanAust also wishes to note that in its view each nominee would meet the test of independence as set out in the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations." he said.

"PanAust also wishes to clarify that the proposal to reinvigorate the Highlands board is unrelated to the ongoing dispute in relation to the Frieda River project and the proposed independent directors have no involvement in the Frieda River joint venture.

"In particular, the announcement failed to disclose that PanAust views each nominee as independent from PanAust, and that there is no arrangement or understanding that the proposed independent directors will act at the direction of, or report to PanAust."

Dr Hess said the reasons for PanAust seeking to change the composition of the Highlands board include to implement a new strategy and direction for Highlands.

Dr Hess said this is with a view to increasing shareholder value in circumstances where the HPL share price has decreased significantly over the last five years.

"PanAust notes that voting patterns at the last annual general meeting reflect substantial shareholder discontent with the current board following the US$68 million loss in 2015 which included the payment of short term incentives to senior management.

"Sentiment is unlikely to have improved following the 2016 half year loss of US$23.5 million which has been exacerbated by the board’s delayed and ineffective response to implement austerity measures and also in the absence of any disclosure in respect of strategy to create shareholder value.

"Clearly, change is overdue with barely US$10.5 million cash left in the bank at year end after spending US$3 million on staff costs for the year," Dr Hess said.

He said PanAust disagreed with the comments that had been made by Highlands that, should the proposal be implemented, it would result in a "PanAust-dominated board" which "would be at risk of operating in the interests of GRAM, rather than in the interests of all its collective shareholders."

"PanAust considers that the appointment of a new, independent board is an important step towards a strategic reinvigoration of Highlands with a view to stemming ongoing value destruction.

"PanAust notes that it is still waiting on a response from Highlands on the date of the shareholders meeting to consider Highlands board composition," he said.

He urged investors to consider the resolutions being proposed by PanAust carefully, together with the information and reasons put forward by PanAust.

Further, that they vote in favour of the resolutions at the special meeting, which will be held in May, 2017.

PNG's Porgera Gold mine reaches milestone

Admin | 1:04 PM | |
THE Porgera gold mine in Enga Province reached a milestone this month achieving 20 million ounces (oz.) in gold production since the start of operations in 1990.

The mine is a joint venture operation between Barrick Gold Corporation, Zijin Mining Group and Mineral Resources Enga (MRE) Limited.

In a statement the firm released yesterday it announced that the PJV processing department had attained the +20 million oz on March 6, 2017 after 7044 ounces were produced that day.

Marking its significance for the 26 year mine operation, six of PJVs longest serving employees and some production and processing staff were invited by the PJV management to witness the historic gold pour event.

PJV general manager operations, Damian Shaw on behalf of the management, commended the efforts of those who had been involved with the operation since the first pour in 1990 and those who were still with the operation working safely, 20 million ounces later.

"This has been a great effort by everyone, the employees, the community, the government and all other stakeholders. To those who work behind the scene to make it possible to achieve this result, congratulations.

"Not many mines meet 20 million ounces, it is a rare achievement. Porgera still has a long life so let’s get another 20 million," MrShaw said.

The +20 million oz. is derived from more than 143 million tonnes of ore that have been mined in both the Open Pit and Underground since start of production.

Production superintendent (Anawe) Anthon Pakyo, acknowledged the contributions from all of the PJV site departments, adding that there have been challenges along the way but as a team, the site has achieved this.

"For the processing team, this is a real milestone achievement as we all know it has been challenging to get this far. We can hope for some more million ounces in the future through our continued team efforts," Mr Pakyo said.

Porgera accounts for, on average 11 per cent of Papua New Guinea’s total exports and is a major contributor to the PNG economy in taxes, duties, royalties and infrastructure development.

PJV has also managed over 570 tax credit scheme (TCS) and infrastructure development program (IDP) funded projects valued at over US$74million since the start of TCS in 1992.

Caritas Coodinators opposes sea bed mining

Admin | 2:03 AM | |
CARITAS Coordinators from 19 Catholic Dioceses of the Catholic Church of PNG have opposed the decision to experiment deep sea mining in PNG.

The organisation held its Annual Caritas PNG Forum 2017 in Madang last month and among others opposed and called to put a stop to experimental seabed mining in PNG waters.

The group said in a statement that the negative impacts of the mine greatly outweigh the anticipated benefits.

“Therefore, in solidarity with Alliance of Solwara Warriors, Bismarck Ramu Group, and other concerned organisations, we are compelled to speak out on behalf of the affected silent majority in the rural coastal and island communities,” the group said.

The group added that the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and the Mining Minister Byron Chan to order an immediate ban on experimental seabed mining. We call on all governors and Open Members of Parliament of Maritime Provinces to support this call on behalf of their people. Post Courier

ExxonMobile spent K2.1 billion in exploration exercise

Admin | 8:00 PM |
EXXONMOBIL has spent over K2.1 billion in exploration exercises since 2010 and is looking forward to future prospects in the industry.

Managing director Andrew Barry said the company is still deeply committed to bringing development to Papua New Guinea.

"ExxonMobil has an active exploration program here in PNG.

"Along with our partners, we’ve invested over K2.1 billion in exploration alone since 2010.

"We are very excited by the recent results of Muruk 1 exploration well that’s operated by Oil Search," he said.

He added that other projects it has taken on board are looking promising.

Mr Barry said the acquisition of InterOil will enhance ExxonMobil’s successful business in Papua New Guinea and bolster its strong position in LNG.

"It really takes a total commitment from everyone to pull in the same direction to achieve a collective success.

"Together we have demonstrated to the world what we can achieve here in Papua New Guinea.

"When you reflect on the environment back in 2009 when we embarked on the PNG LNG project, it is not dissimilar to where we are today.

"The global financial crisis in 2009 created a lot of uncertainty while today’s low commodity prices and global LNG competition is creating a similar environment.

"The bold decisions government took to provide fiscal certainty and work in partnership with business meant investment dollars were spent here in Papua New Guinea versus other countries.

"Similarly, the confidence now that buyers had to rely on our suppliers was critical to our success.

"The same challenges remain today and the same level of cooperation, team work and partnership will be required for us to be successful in the future.

"The future of LNG we believe is very bright," Mr Barry said. Post Courier

LNG deliveries stable says Sato

Admin | 7:59 PM |
PAPUA New Guinea has made stable deliveries of liquefied natural gas (LNG) since the country’s first shipment in April 2014.

Hiroki Sato, chief fuel transactions officer, also the senior executive vice president of JERA Co.Inc told participants at the Petroleum and Energy Summit that PNG remains one of the most prospective supply sources of LNG in the world.

Mr Sato added that JERA is a long term buyer of LNG from PNG and accounts for about 5 per cent of JERA’s total LNG imports.

"The LNG trade started in 2014 and stable LNG deliveries have been made," Mr Satosaid.

About 1.8 million tonnes per annum of liquefied natural gas is the contract volume between JERA and PNG LNG for 20 years since the first shipment in April 2014.

"I’m confident that Papua New Guinea is one of the most prospective supply sources in the world.

"We’d like to strengthen or develop that relationship through the LNG business."

He said whether it is the expansion of PNG LNG or the Papua LNG, there are three concerns that the company will have to consider moving forward into the future.

These concerns include securing price competitiveness, tradable volume and expanding the global market capacity.

Mr Sato said Papua New Guinea is one of the very important suppliers for JERA and they "will continue to have a keen interest in this country."

Frank Kramer, chairman of the Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited (KPHL) said there is a significant team from JERA who are in the country.

"They are engaged with Kumul Petroleum looking at how we can ensure that all aspects of their interests and Papua New Guinea’s interests can be in alignment so we can move forward," Mr Kramer said. Post Courier