MRA Seeks Views Over Simberi Gold Project
by PNG Business News - March 29, 2021
The Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) is gathering feedback from all project stakeholders involved in the Simberi gold mine in New Ireland to determine the best course of action for the amended memorandum of agreement (MoA).
The National Executive Council (NEC) authorised the updated MoA for signing in April 2017, according to managing director Jerry Garry. Since then, he said, several efforts by the MRA to get the parties to sign the 2017 Simberi revised MoA have failed since the New Ireland government (NIPG) has refused to sign.
The New Ireland government's reason for refusing to sign the amended deal, according to Garry, is that its proposal for expanded compensation was not taken into account.
“The benefits include royalties, special support grants and the tax credit scheme,” he said. “The State maintained its position that the current rates stipulated under relevant laws would remain until such time these rates were reviewed.”
NIPG's requests, according to Garry, were for a 10% royalty limit, up from the 2% prescribed rate; a 10% special support grant (SSG), up from the 0.25 per cent prescribed rate; and a 10% tax credit scheme (TCS), up from the 0.75 per cent prescribed rate.
Last year, NIPG sent the suggested amendments to the Office of the State Solicitor (OSS) for legal approval through an NEC request.
“The OSS advised that the Simberi revised MoA was approved by the NEC in 2017 and had gone through the legal and the established MoA vetting process and that all parties should sign,” he said. “The MRA is currently in the process of seeking the views of all project stakeholders on what would be the appropriate action to take in respect to the 2017 Simberi revised MoA. (This is) because it has been five years since the MoA was agreed on by the stakeholders to the Simberi project. The duration of the revised MoA is five years and the term has naturally lapsed,” Garry said.
The Simberi gold mine is run by St. Barbara Ltd.
PNG Business News - September 06, 2021
Delegation Visits Simberi Mine
A delegation from the Environment Department, led by environment minister Wera Mori and managing director of the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority Gunther Joku, recently visited St Barbara's Simberi facilities to discuss plans to transition to sulfide mining. The purpose of the tour was to observe firsthand the programs and projects that St Barbara is doing on the island to safeguard the island's marine and terrestrial environments. St Barbara's attempts to alleviate the effects of mining, including the waste disposal technology utilized in this project and future waste disposal plans for sulfide mining, were also on display. Following a mine mishap in May and a brief halt of operations, Simberi restarted mining last month. Mori urged St Barbara to guarantee that Simberi, as a member of PNG's mining industry, continues to contribute significantly to the country's economy. “It is the industry (mining) that’s responsible for keeping the country going. “This is not because you generate revenue for your company, shareholders, and employees, but also the country derives revenue from this project and it is in our (government’s) interest to see that you get back into production,” said Minister Mori. Minister Mori, a geologist with almost 30 years in the profession, was also equipped with a geo pick and conducted some rock samples in Simberi's pits. The cocoa farm and nursery were also exhibited to Mori and his colleagues. “You’re way ahead with your end of mine life programs here in Simberi. “The mine will come and go, but the landowners must be able to support themselves beyond mine life and this project is a good way to sustain their livelihoods,” said Mori. He also paid a visit to the Maragon sub-health centre, which is operated by the government and funded by St Barbara, as well as the Simberi Primary School. Kevin Woodward, Simberi's interim General Manager, thanked the minister for his visit to the project. Reference: Post-Courier (31 August 2021). “Environment Minister Visits Simberi”.
PNG Business News - February 21, 2022
COVID-19 Outbreak at Simberi – FY22 guidance withdrawn
Photo: Simberi Mine St Barbara Limited notes the COVID-19 pandemic infection rates across the Tabar Island group have increased significantly, impacting the local communities and our workforce. While gold production at Simberi Operations continues, ramp-up of mining operations is not achieving target rates and uncertainty remains as to when full workforce participation can resume. The Company has elected to withdraw FY22 guidance as it focuses on the health and safety of the local community and its workforce, while also progressing recovery options. St Barbara Managing Director and CEO Craig Jetson said, “The health and safety of the local community and our workforce is our primary concern. Of our circa 600 daily workforce, today there are 139 active cases. The majority of those cases are asymptomatic with no-one hospitalised. While we have experienced previous COVID-19 surges, this Omicron outbreak is proving to be far more disruptive. This is a difficult time for the community, the site team and I have met with the community leaders to offer our support. The Community Relations and Medical teams are actively working with the community offering testing and vaccination support.” St Barbara notes the current reduction in commercial flights across PNG due to pilot shortage as the pandemic impacts the aviation industry. This is anticipated to impact our ability to source additional supplies and rotate senior national and expatriate staff. The mine and processing plant continue to operate at a reduced rate. When we have greater certainty on the situation St Barbara will be in a better position to quantify the ongoing impact of the COVID19 outbreak and provide updated FY22 guidance. Article courtesy of St Barbara Limited
PNG Business News - March 28, 2022
Simberi COVID-19 outbreak under control
St Barbara Limited now expects Simberi will produce between 25-30koz at an AISC of $3,200-3,600 per ounce in FY22. Group FY22 production has been updated to 275-290koz and AISC of $1,750-1,870 per ounce. Guidance for Leonora and Atlantic remain unchanged. St Barbara Limited withdrew guidance for its Simberi operations on 18 February 2022 due to significant increases in COVID-19 pandemic infection rates across the Tabar Island group exacerbating the difficulties in ramping up operations after six months in care and maintenance. At its peak the outbreak caused 270 people at the Simberi operation to be in isolation of its circa 600 regular daily workforce. Currently there are 12 employees in isolation and the outbreak is considered to be under control. A combination of limited operators and maintainers during the outbreak resulted in low truck availability reducing the amount of material mined and hauled, with production for the third quarter now expected to be ~11koz. The face position in the pits are significantly behind schedule leading to reduced oxide ore being available in Q4. Notwithstanding the restoration of national workforce numbers, the Company has determined that ramp-up rates will be slower than previously anticipated. The ongoing difficulties with securing expatriate maintenance specialists and operations management is expected to impact Q4 FY22 and the new guidance range reflects that assessment. Article courtesy of St Barbara Limited
PNG Business News - November 28, 2022
Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry holds 67th Annual General Meeting
The Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry (POM CCI) held its 67th Annual General Meeting at the Lamana Hotel on the 24th of November 2022 , present to witness the occasion were its members, executives and various stakeholders. The meeting was officially opened by the President and Master of Ceremony Mr. Rio Fiocco who gave his opening remarks and report. He thanked all the POM CCI staff for their hard work this year despite the challenges faced by covid and other changes in the administration. Some of their achievements highlighted included the recruitment of two graduate accountants from the IBS University and the employment of its new membership officer. Mr. Rio Fiocco stated that by 2023 the chamber will be working with Total PNG to pre-qualify its members to be contracted to early works stage of the Papua LNG project . "All members who have issues affecting their business can feel free to come and see us so we can lobby for you through NCD or if it government related we will also lobby for you through the PNG Chamber of Commerce and Industry", said Mr. Rio Fiocco. The treasurer of POM CCI Ms. Akae Beach presented the chambers Financial Report stating that it had made a net surplus of k114,020 which is a 12% net profit margin despite not recouping most of its membership fees. "The Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc is in good financial position and our net asset stand at K1.49m compared with K1.38m last year , a healthy increase of 8 %. Whilst conditions remain challenging , I am confident that the chamber will continue to be in overall surplus in 2022 as we continue maintaining our current strategy ( with an increase focus on both the Corporate and SME sectors) whilst continuous improvement in our financial systems, increase online and physical marketing efforts and increase member initiatives" stated Ms. Akea Beach. Ms. Akae Beach concluded that she will be leaving the chamber by the end of the year but will still support the chamber within her own capacity.
PNG Business News - November 27, 2022
PM Marape, Ministers and star international business speakers headline PNG Mining & Petroleum Conference in Sydney
Prime Minister Marape headlines a star line-up of speakers at the 16th PNG Mining and Petroleum Conference, in Sydney in December, to promote international investment in PNG. Already over 1000 attendees are registered to attend, as the Conference features a dynamic and engaging program centered around Prime Minister Marape’s announcement of 4 new mega projects and the expected re-opening of Porgera gold mine. Prime Minister Marape will be providing the keynote opening address on Day 1. He will be joined by Australian International Development Minister Pat Conroy. Senior executives of the major international investors in PNG, including Newcrest CEO Sandeep Biswas, Harmony Gold CFO Ms Boipelo Lekubo, TotalEnergies Senior Vice President Mr Julien Pouget, Santos President Upstream Mr Brett Darlie and ExxonMobil PNG Managing Director Mr Peter Larden will be providing a global outlook for their companies’ operations around the world, how they have adapted to emerging trends and how their PNG investments fit into their global portfolios. A highlight will be CEO of Fortescue Future Industries Dr Mark Hutchinson’s presentation of Fortescue’s vision for how green hydrogen can be a gamechanger for the world and PNG’s envisaged role supplying hydrogen to the world. Day 1 concludes with a session featuring former Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, the respected Julie Bishop, presenting her view as to why Australia needs to invest more in PNG, and PNG’s Trade and International Investment Minister Richard Maru outlining the PNG government’s vision for investment and development in non-mining sectors. Each session on Day 1 will feature panels moderated by well-known Australian media personality Ms Ticky Fullerton. Day 2 of the Conference features policy statements by Mining Minister Ano Pala and Petroleum and Energy Minister Kerenga Kua, presentations by Kumul Petroleum and MRDC, project updates on all of PNG’s existing mining and energy projects, and the presentations of the next wave of resource and energy projects – Papua LNG Project, Pnyang LNG Project, Pasca Gas Project and Wafi Gold-Copper Project. Day 3 of the Conference features a unique 3 stream format focused on varied themes including Exploration growth, Climate Change & Energy, Improving Ease of Business, Infrastructure, and Business Success stories. Day 3’s program features a significant list of speakers including heads of government regulatory agencies, CEOs of various PNG and international businesses, and includes international institutions such as the IFC. The Conference concludes with a session that focuses on PNG success stories where resource revenues have been invested for future benefit, and a presentation on the importance of the PNG Sovereign Wealth Fund. “It’s an engaging and dynamic Conference program with a high-profile cast of speakers. I am very grateful for the support that the Prime Minister has provided to the Conference, and the unprecedented participation of Government Ministers and heads of departments and agencies as speakers. Industry and the PNG Government are presenting a united front in promoting PNG as an international investment destination at the Conference. We are pleased that we can work with the Government in this regard. The Prime Minister will be in a unique position in our history by speaking about the advancement of 4 major projects, and the potential doubling of PNG’s GDP in the near future, which can usher in significant economic benefits for our people.” Said Mr Anthony Smaré, President of the Chamber of Mines & Petroleum. “We are also very fortunate that so many high-profile leaders from some of the world’s largest companies have taken time out to come and speak at the Conference to outline why they believe PNG is an important place to invest in. Australian Minister Pat Conroy’s speech will give us an indication of Australia’s view of PNG’s importance. I am personally looking forward to the afternoon session on Day 1 when Julie Bishop will present her view as to why Australia needs to invest more in PNG, and Minister Richard Maru will challenge international companies and countries to invest more into the PNG Government’s investment priority areas such as infrastructure and agriculture.” “Over 1000 people are now registered to attend the Conference, but there is still some seats left, so I encourage business people not already registered, to quickly secure their seats at www.pngconference.com over the next few days. The Conference is unique because you can meet everyone who has a role in PNG’s resources and energy sector - Government policy makers and regulators, the business movers and shakers, landowners, financiers, investors, suppliers and contractors from all over the world – all in one place over three days from 5 to 7 December 2022 at the Sydney Hilton Hotel.”
PNG Business News - November 27, 2022
PM Marape supports development of oil palm industry on a massive scale in PNG
Photo: PM Marape and Governor Bird in discussions with representatives of Pacific Elite Palm Oil Group in Singapore on Monday (November 21, 2022). Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has given his support to development of the oil palm industry in Papua New Guinea on a massive scale. PM Marape gave his support after he and East Sepik Governor, Hon. Allan Bird, met with representatives of Pacific Elite Palm Oil Group in Singapore on Monday (November 21, 2022). The company currently runs an oil palm project in East Sepik, which it wants to emulate in all provinces, saying that it will be an economic gamechanger for the whole country. The company aims to create the largest agriculture-based wealth in the South Pacific, as well as generate electricity for PNG, using oil palm. Governor Bird told PM Marape that if a long-term oil palm development plan was drawn up, with the aim of economic independence for PNG, one million hectares of oil palm grown all over PNG would bring in an extra K100 billion for the country. “We can double our GDP just from palm oil,” he said. “If we go into downstream processing, this K100 billion could double, so that we could be earning K200 billion on top of our current GDP. “The other flow-on to the economy is power production that fits into the grid, carbon credits, increased cattle production, as well as jobs. “Palm oil is amazing because you can do so much with it, including green energy, which can be generated from the waste of palm oil. “If we have 33 operations throughout PNG, similar to what we are doing in East Sepik, 100,000 jobs would be created “This is brilliant.” Governor Bird told PM Marape that oil palm, when made into biofuel, would save the country millions of kina. “If we produce enough palm oil, we don’t need to go out and buy fuel, as we can produce our own,” he said. “It can also bring inflation down as we are no longer importing inflation. “I’m excited because it provides us an escape plan from all these things that are affecting us.” PM Marape welcomed the proposal by Pacific Elite Palm Oil Group and the ideas of Governor Bird, who has helped to grown the vanilla and cocoa industries in East Sepik, and PNG. “As regards expanding nationwide, I invite you to come to Port Moresby, and I will run the investment figures past the super funds and Kumul Consolidated Holdings,” he told the company’s spokesperson Alexander Tho. “A family of investors can easily mobilise the money required for the project. “I also want you to have a stake in the business, and run it, as we cannot do it on our own, in like what Barrick is doing at Porgera Mine.”