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Newcrest agrees to sell interest to Ivory Coast

Staff Reporter | 3:59 AM |
NEWCREST has signed an agreement to sell its 89.89 per cent interest in the Bonikro operation in Ivory Coast to a consortium.
The consortium consists of Forbes and Manhattan Gold Resources Ltd and Africa Finance Corporation.
The consideration comprises:

US$72mil (K226.52 million) cash payable on transaction completion, part of which is contingent on the successful progression of the Akissi-so pit extension; and,
Net smelter royalty on future ore mined at the Bonikro lease, with an estimated value of US$9 million (K28.31mil).
Newcrest in a statement noted that the sale of the Bonikro operation followed a strategic review of the asset by Newcrest.
Newcrest managing director and chief executive officer Sandeep Biswas, said: “Following this extensive review, we are pleased to be able to announce the sale of Bonikro to a consortium having the operating experience of the Forbes and Manhattan Group and the financial backing of the Africa Finance Corporation.
“This outcome delivers value for Newcrest shareholders and provides a clear future path for the Bonikro mine for the benefit of its employees, the community and all our Côte d’Ivoire stakeholders.”
The economic effective date for the transaction was Oct 1 this year.
Production until transaction completion will be included in Newcrest’s production results. But the economic interest for the period after Oct 1 will be to the benefit of the acquirer.
Newcrest’s guidance for FY18 will be updated following transaction completion. It is expected that the transaction will be completed next March. Subject to completion and the timing thereof, Newcrest is expected to recognise a small net profit on sale after taking into account the sales proceeds less written down value of the assets sold, transaction costs and a foreign currency translation reserve gain.

PNG Locals file case to stop seabed mining

Staff Reporter | 6:50 PM |
Jemimah Sukbat | Loop PNG | December 8, 2017

The Solwara Alliance has filed a case against the government at the Waigani National Court to stop the operation of seabed mining in West Coast New Ireland in PNG.

Filed on Thursday afternoon, the Alliance wants the Government to make public all necessary and relevant documents under seabed mining agreement, who is involved in approving the project and on what grounds and why the government is still pursuing the project.

Jonathan Mesulam, a West Coast New Irelander and a member of the Solwara Alliance, says the people in the village are strongly against seabed mining because their livelihood will be affected by the project. They want the Government to ban the project.

“No one knows the environmental impacts of this project. There is also no independent environmental studies so why is the government pushing for this project?

“There will be negative impacts in the local and national economy, especially the fisheries sector,” says Mesulam, who is currently in Port Moresby to file the case.

“Solwara 1 is not a good investment, it will only last for three years.”

They want the developer, Nautilus Minerals Limited, to pack up and leave by next year.

When asked if the villagers were consulted before the agreement was signed, Mesulam said the developer never consulted the locals.

“This MOA was signed by a few people who only think about themselves.”

From the footages taken from the villages along West Coast New Ireland, the people say they own both the land and sea and the mining will greatly affect their lifestyle, especially in shark-calling.

Mesulam said New Ireland does not need a seabed mine. They already have fish, cocoa, coconut and other resources where they can depend on for economic benefits.

RTG Increases Its Interest in the Panguna Landowners Joint Venture Partner

Staff Reporter | 6:47 PM |
ANNOUNCEMENT TO THE TORONTO AND AUSTRALIAN STOCK EXCHANGES

RTG | Stockhouse | 8 December 2017

The Board of RTG Mining Inc. is pleased to announce that through a further direct investment and conversion of loans in Central Exploration Pty Ltd (“Central”), RTG has increased its interest in Central to 24%. Michael Carrick is now Chairman of Central and Justine Magee has also been appointed a director of Central. In addition one of RTG’s major shareholders (interests represented by Mr. Richard Hains, who also independently provided early stage funding to Central), has a 32% interest in Central. 

As announced previously, Central is the joint venture partner of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (“SMLOLA”), being the owners of the minerals at the old Panguna Mine. The joint venture is held through Central Me’ekamui Exploration Limited who has applied for an exploration licence over the customary land of the SMLOLA members, being the old Panguna Mine. The SMLOLA has nominated RTG as their development partner for Panguna.

The Autonomous Bougainville Government (“ABG”) is currently considering all exploration licence (“EL”) applications, including the purported EL renewal application of Bougainville Copper Limited. Both the SMLOLA and RTG are committed to working with the ABG to ensure both the ABG itself, and all Bougainvilleans benefit from any redevelopment of Panguna.

Bougainville landowners back rival consortium to take over controversial Panguna copper mine

Staff Reporter | 6:45 PM | |
Eric Tlozek | ABC News | 11 December 2017

The Bougainville Government is holding a crucial mining warden’s hearing at the abandoned copper mine which sparked a decade-long armed insurgency against the Papua New Guinea Government.

Key points:

RTG Mining chairman Michael Carrick says a proposal by the Central Me’ekamui Exploration Limited consortium is more realistic and “for the benefit of the people of Bougainville”
But BCL company secretary Mark Hitchcock says the consortium’s conduct is “less than honourable”
Bougainville’s Mining Secretary Shadrach Himata says all landowners will be asked for their views
The hearing will help determine if the company Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL), which was forced to abandon the Panguna mine in 1989, should retain an exploration licence for the site.

The Bougainville Government now owns part of Bougainville Copper Limited and wants it to redevelop the mine, but a rival consortium is challenging their bid, and said it has the support of key landowners from Panguna.
That consortium, Central Me’ekamui Exploration Limited, includes ASX-listed RTG Mining.

RTG’s chairman Michael Carrick said the group’s proposal was more realistic and better-supported by the people of Panguna.

“[It’s] a sensible and well-supported and economically deliverable proposal to develop the mine for the benefit of all the people of Bougainville,” he said.

RTG Mining has told the Bougainville Government that BCL’s exploration licence for Panguna has expired and legally cannot be renewed.

It wants the Bougainville Government to consider its application instead, saying the landowner association for the mine pit, the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (SMLOLA), backs its bid and would present a 2,000-signature petition in opposition to BCL.

“For the first time in 30 years a mining company has been endorsed and supported by the SMLOLA,” Mr Carrick said.

RTG Mining said longstanding resentment against BCL over the conflict and the ongoing environmental problems caused by their sudden withdrawal would prevent the company from being able to operate the mine again.

“The legacy issues for BCL are insurmountable,” Mr Carrick said.

He said the landowners would present a 2000-signature petition in opposition to BCL.

There is a legal dispute over who rightfully chairs the landowner association.

RTG Mining said the dispute had been settled with their preferred candidate, Philip Miriori, in charge; the Bougainville Government said the mediation had failed and that the matter is still before the courts.

The Bougainville Government has also criticised the consortium for paying landowners who support them and implied it is not respecting the approval process.

“The Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) will not entertain companies who use the back door or break and enter through the window using self-centred individuals who think they have a monopoly over the people’s resources or represent their interests,” Mining Minister Raymond Masono said in a statement.

“… The ABG rejects companies that think they can bribe their way into people’s resources by giving certain individuals money to gain landowner consent.”

The ABG has had the PNG Government ban the key executive from Central Exploration, Sydney lawyer Renzie Duncan, from coming to Papua New Guinea.

Michael Carrick from RTG Mining says the consortium has been dealing openly with the Bougainville Government and that landowner payments are wages for its employees.

“The wages paid are in respect of services rendered to the joint venture,” he said.

“The joint venture is a commercial operation and landowners, like anyone else, are able to work and to get paid for their services.

“Our dealings with landowners have been completely transparent and professional.”

Mr Carrick said the intent of the travel ban against Mr Duncan appeared to be to help Bougainville Copper Limited.

“It is clear the ABG, on the appointment of the new mining minister, supported BCL and the temporary banning of Renzie, I assume, is designed to limit the support that could be afforded to the landowners of Panguna,” he said.

Bougainville Copper Limited is deeply unhappy with RTG Mining and its partners.

“We think they’re less than honourable in how they’re carrying on their conduct and their activities in the area,” BCL company secretary Mark Hitchcock said.

He said BCL’s licence application was legal, and wasn’t processed on time because the Bougainville Government wasn’t ready to implement the processes of its new Mining Act.

“The department didn’t have the resources to manage the application at the time it was taking place,” he said.

“It now has all those facilities in place.”

Landowners set to weigh-in on hearing

Mr Hitchcock said many landowners do support BCL, but are not being properly represented.

“From what we’ve seen, there is widespread support for mining in Panguna and mining with Bougainville Copper,” he said.

Bougainville’s Mining Secretary Shadrach Himata said all landowners will be asked for their views as part of the approval process, not just the leaders of the association.

“The warden’s hearing is a process that will engage the views of all the landowners in the resource areas,” he said.

“It won’t be affected by the leadership tussle of the SMLOLA landowners.”

Crucially, Mr Himata, said BCL is the only company currently being considered by the Bougainville Government.

“Right now, the only legal applicant on the exploration tenement is BCL,” he said.

“Until that process is completed, there are no other applicants or applications over the same tenement. That’s the position of Government.”

The eventual decision on the exploration licence will be made by the Bougainville Executive Council, the regional government’s Cabinet, probably sometime in 2018.

Australian firm, Mayur Resources taps into PNG's Gulf resources

Staff Reporter | 6:40 PM |
AUSTRALIAN company Mayur Resources now has an exclusive licence to develop a resource, energy and industrial complex in Gulf, Papua New Guinea.
An agreement was signed on Friday between Governor Chris Haiveta and Mayur managing director Paul Mulder in Port Moresby.
Haiveta said the agreement would use resources it had discovered in Gulf such as iron sands, zircon, ilmenite, coal and high grade silica sands for domestic use and export opportunities.
He said this would be done while leveraging favourable port areas in Gulf and the domestic market obligation for gas for a petrochemical industry.
“Our country is in an energy crisis and we continue to send foreign currency offshore and import foreign liquid fuels at a far higher cost and far higher polluting than using our own domestic energy sources,” he said.
“Other Asia-Pacific countries are using their domestic energy and industrial resources.”
PNG is importing most of our energy and nation building products even such things as cement, lime and diesel that enriches other countries rather than our own.
“Our Prime Minister has advocated cheap, reliable accessible energy while doing this in an environmentally beneficial manner that improves our current state.”
Haiveta said the time for talking about the concept was over.
“We need action. We need growth. We need employment. We need industry. We need prosperity. And we only get this by having access to cheap, reliable power,” he said.
“Gulf today has taken the next step to use its gas, iron coal and other mineral sand resources and bring us out of the dark and poverty.
“Our plans are nothing different to what Japan, Australia, New Caledonia, West Papua, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand.”
Mulder said Mayur Resources had been working for over five years to explore minerals in Gulf, Central and Western. The National

PNG Wafi-Golpu Mine gets exclusive access to port facility

Staff Reporter | 6:38 PM |
PNG Ports Corporation Limited has entered into an agreement with Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture on a potential site in Lae for a land/water interface to dewater and stockpile concentrate from its proposed Wafi-Golpu project.
It allowed the joint venture the exclusive right to deal with PNG Ports in relation to the potential site, and to access the site to conduct further studies regarding its suitability as a port facility.
“PNG Ports recognises the importance of the Wafi-Golpu project in the context of PNG’s economic growth. It acknowledges that the provision of land and water interface is a critical component of the Wafi-Golpu project value chain,” PNG Ports managing director Stanley Alphonse said.
“PNG Ports is happy to provide this critical component in the construction and operations of the Wafi-Golpu project going forward.
“Such arrangements will go toward supporting PNG Ports’ strategy of developing the K300 million Huon Industrial Park in Lae.”
PNG Ports has invested more than K300 million into the 400ha industrial park located at the western end of Portion 508.
It is expected to be completed by the end of next year and addresses some of the key impediments to economic growth.
The industrial park will service both dry and wet bulk trade and will comprise warehouses suitable for heavy and light industries, commercial and small warehousing, hardstand for container and equipment storage, fuel, oil and gas tank farms, power generation, sewerage and effluent treatment. The National

Oil Search still seeing a brighter future in oil and gas in PNG

Staff Reporter | 4:05 PM | ||
OIL Search is expecting more exploration breakthrough in oil and gas resources in the country next year, an official says.
Oil Search chief of Geoscience and Exploration Excellence John Warburton told the PNG Mining and Petroleum last week in Port Moresby that Oil Search was well positioned with proactive long-term strategy in the country.
He said the company’s holistic 4D modelling continued to identify new prospects in the country.
“We expect more exploration breakthroughs as we continue to leverage technology in 2018,” he said.
“Oil Search will continue to implement its very clear strategy in PNG. Oil Search is well positioned for the future.
“We also believe that a significant strength in Oil Search is the database we’ve got. It’s world-class.
“It allows us to look at data from areas that we’ve traditionally looked at.”
He said Oil Search believed that about 60 per cent of the country was still uncovered with the majority of that being gas.
Managing director Peter Botten previously told The National that so far, only 40 per cent of the oil and gas resources had been tapped into. The National

Environmental and eco risk unknown in Cooks' deep sea mining

Staff Reporter | 3:14 PM |
The Cook Islands is exploring the benefits and potential of its deep sea resource.

Beneath the sunlit zones, where the country's tourism and fishing industries lie, is a largely unexplored and untapped expanse of promise.

Also unexplored is the environmental risk and potential threat to other parts of the economy.

This report from Radio New Zealand International's Dominic Godfrey.

Five kilometres below the surface of the Cook Islands exclusive economic zone lie manganese deposits which could provide a pathway to prosperity for the country.

The problem is not just getting them to the surface but the environmental impact this may have, as New Zealand's principal ocean scientist Malcolm Clark explains.

MALCOLM CLARK: "The deep sea is a very poorly understood system. There are no boundaries in the oceans and so - coastal, continental shelf, deep sea, inshore, offshore - it's all linked. And that's especially important in the Pacific Island countries where we're fairly small land-masses in the middle of a large ocean. So the connectivity across potentially quite large areas of ocean space is very important to understand."

Dr Clark says while the actual area of mining may be small, the impact could encompass large areas.

MALCOLM CLARK: "In digging up these resources, there's going to be disturbance of the sea bed and the sediment that's been sitting idle is going to be demobilised and it will form a cloud. And that's going to start to move with the currents, away from the area of direct physical impact. That's an aspect that we don't yet well understand but what the effect on the sea-floor communities, the sea-life, we're not too sure at the moment. We're working on that in a number of research programmes around the world."

The co-ordinator for the Pacific Network on Globalisation, Maureen Penjueli, says the lack of understanding is a major concern as Cooks' seabed legislation contains no reference to avoiding international harm.

She says the 2009 Seabed Minerals Act also has no provision for 'precautionary principle', where human activities could plausibly result in unacceptable harm.

MAUREEN PENJUELI: There was very little understanding about the potential impacts. There was an over emphasis on the potential economic benefits. So the legislations were set up under the broad narrative that seabed mining was considered small risk, very high return."

Maureen Penjueli says it was drafted with no provision for the possible impact on tourism, fishing and black pearl farming.

MAUREEN PENJUELI: "When you consider that our economies are heavily dependent on the ocean - our people are heavily dependent on the ocean for livelihoods, food security - that's quite problematic in terms of the current legislation."

However, the country's Seabed Minerals Authority commissioner Paul Lynch says 'precautionary principle' and environmental issues were front and centre to the original Act.

He says it was amended in 2015 and is under continual review with input from Ms Penjueli and PANG welcome.

PAUL LYNCH: "We're very open to that but currently we've got the act out for review and we're expecting that out to the community next year and into Parliament should there be any changes needed."

But Lynch says this year the Marae Moana Act was passed to provide a holistic umbrella to all aspects of the Cooks' marine management.

He says its ground-breaking national legislation that has conservation as its main plank.

PAUL LYNCH: "With zoning for different users, like zoning for fishing, zoning for tourism, zoning for mining. Mining if it takes place in the future, it's going to be quite contained and controlled based on a zoned management marine spatial plan."

In zones beyond the Cook Islands in the north-east Pacific, mining projects are underway managed by the International Seabed Authority under the UN's Law of the Sea.

The environmental organisation Te Ipukarea Society's Kelvin Passfield says the Cooks should learn from these.

KELVIN PASSFIELD: "I'd be inclined to wait and see what the environmental impacts outside of our EEZ were before allowing any mining within our EEZ. The Cooks can wait and see what happens in other jurisdictions or in the high-seas like the Clarion Clipperton Zone and determine what impacts there may be from them."

PANG'S Maureen Penjueli agrees but points to Nautilus Minerals' plans to mine Papua New Guinea's Bismarck seabed.

MAUREEN PENJUELI: "If you simply take PNG as the case study, the Solwara 1 project, it is clear that impacts have already been felt. You don't have to go into it to look at the impact, you can look at PNG."

An annual report from the Canadian company shows both the environmental impacts and profits from the project are unknown.

In the Cooks, Texas based Ocean Minerals has 17 months left in its agreement to apply for manganese nodule prospecting and exploration licences but with weak global demand for rare earth minerals, the economics may not stack up.

SOURCE: RNZI/PACNEWS