PNG Under Explored in Geothermal Energy
by PNG Business News - August 16, 2021
Photo Credit: Shuttershock
According to William Duma, Minister of Public Enterprises and State Investment, Papua New Guinea is under-explored in terms of geothermal energy development.
Duma was speaking at the signing of a geothermal deed of agreement between the state and Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), an Australian company.
“Comparatively, Papua New Guinea is under-explored,” he said.
“If a geothermal location is to be determined to be viable for commercialisation, then, of course, Fortescue will apply for all the necessary licenses required for each province in accordance with the applicable legislation which the company is aware of.”
According to Duma, Fortescue Future Industries has discovered geothermal resources in numerous places around the country, with the potential to generate up to 10 gigawatts of power.
West New Britain, he said, had a caldera (Mt Talawe) in Talasea; Milne Bay, with areas of interest on Fergusson, Goodenough, and Normanby islands; Northern, with Mt Lamington; Madang, with resources on Karkar, Long, and Manam islands; East Sepik, with the islands of Bam, Blup Blup, and Kairiru; and Morobe, with parts of Bulolo and Wau, the McAdam National Park and the islands of Siassi and Umboi. Kumul Consolidated Holdings (KCHL) signed the agreement with FFI on behalf of the State.
According to KCHL managing director Isikeli Taureka, the deal with Fortescue was to look at areas of interest in the country.
Fortescue would next go out and perform more research to determine the capability of the geothermal sites that had been found, he added.
Following the confirmation of viable sites, Taureka said the developer and the state would sign a project agreement outlining what each party would undertake to develop the resource and the advantages to stakeholders.
He said that geothermal locations might be used to generate electricity, which would lead to more development such as roads and other infrastructure.
“Our side is to make sure that all the Government laws and permits are complied with.”
Reference: Mauludu, Shirley. The National (12 August 2021). “Focus on geothermal energy”.
Marcelle P. Villegas - July 15, 2021
MRA’s Recent Study on Geothermal Energy and its Potential
Image: Lihir geothermal model (Source: Newcrest Mining Limited  A recent study by Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) explores the potential of geothermal energy as a possible source of sustainable energy for Papua New Guinea. The Geological Survey Division, Mineral Resources Authority published “Geothermal Energy Resources of Papua New Guinea: Country Update” -- a study done by Maxine M. Lahan, Gener Villafuerte and Lynell Stevens. This study points out the geothermal energy is a good prospect as a potential source of energy in PNG. According to the researchers, “This paper aims to provide an overview of the preliminary geothermal studies initiated and conducted by the Mineral Resources Authority’s Geological Survey Division since 2009 including recent government policy initiatives.”  Like any energy project, each country has its set of hurdles and challenges. For geothermal energy in Papua New Guinea, the study mentioned that the development of geothermal energy here is somehow hindered by lack of policy and further exploratory work. The study aims to identify the pervading problems and the possible solutions for the successful development of geothermal energy utilisation. Alexander Richter from the Think Geoenergy website wrote on his article, ““Lack of policy and additional exploratory work required hampers potential geothermal investments in Papua New Guinea.”  He notes that this study released by the Mineral Resources Authority last 23 February 2021 “aims to bring the topic of geothermal energy back on the table in the country.”  The idea of developing geothermal energy is not a new concept. There was early historical research on potential geothermal resources that were done in the 1960s until the 1970s, and some recent ones by MRA in 2009 until 2016. The study reported that currently, there are 55 known, identified and recorded geothermal sites. However, only seven regions have been mapped and sampled. Where are they located? “The prospects identified are Talasea along the Willaumez Peninsula on New Britain Island, Kasiloli prospect at the active volcano of Pago on New Britain Island, the Silanga propsect also at the Pago Volcano on New Britain Island. Other prospects are Deidei on Fergusson Island, part of the D’Entrecasteaux Islands in Milne Bay Province, Rabaul at the active Tavurvur volcano and some other smaller prospects.”  As mentioned earlier, the study mentioned that geothermal energy has great potential in providing alternative energy source for the country. Lihir Island has an operating geothermal power plant with notable high-temperature and permeability options.  Creating the power plant was done in three stages / phases that started with a 6 MW backpressure plant in 2001. This was proceeded by a 30 MW expansion with a single flash plant in 2005. Finally in 2007, it had an additional 20 MW-Single Flash plant. There are, however, only 9 MW of the 30 MW that is operating. And only 2 MW of the 20 MW plant are operating as well. This report was given by the Papua New Guinea country update for the World Geothermal Congress 2020+1 in Reykjavik, Iceland last April 2021. Moreover, Richter noted in his article that there was increased interest in the geothermal energy in 2016, but “things have been pretty much idle since then.” He wrote, “In 2016 and again in 2020, the lack of policy for geothermal development was described as a key hurdle for the utilization of geothermal in PNG. While a new regulatory and supervision scheme seems to be set up for renewable energy development in PNG, there are not concrete plans for a boost for geothermal energy development. To develop the geothermal resources of PNG, “more exploratory work is required to collect additional information on the prospects already identified by MRA and others.” Figure 1: Location of PNG and Lihir Geothermal Power Plant (red polygon).  Now, let us look deeper into the study. The initial discussion first introduced the geological features of Papua New Guinea. “Papua New Guinea is characterized by quaternary volcanic islands with potentially low to high-temperature geothermal resources that are yet to be systematically investigated for development and utilization,” according the study. A 50MW geothermal power plant on Lihir Island was installed. This is owned and operated by Newcrest Mining Limited within its gold mining lease. It was observed that the research and development of geothermal energy and other renewable energy sources has been hindered by lack of political will and support for the development of policies and legal frameworks and finance that will accelerate the development of geothermal power plants. This goes the same for the development of other renewable energy resources.  The study enumerates that PNG has abundant untapped renewable energy resources like hydro, geothermal, biomass, solar, wind, and tidal wave. However, due to the country’s cultural diversity, land tenure system, rugged terrain and largely rural popular, developing these sources of renewable energy is difficult and challenging. At the moment, hydro is the primary source of energy and provides just half of 797MW total electricity generation capacity. One-third of energy comes from diesel generators. Other energy sources like gas, geothermal and biogas generation “represent most of the balance with the bulk of this energy used for mining.”  Here are more key points from the study: Diesel is dominant in off-grid applications. The total electricity output in 2015 was 4324 GWh, comprising hydro-electric (23%), petroleum products (56%), natural gas (11%), and geothermal (10%) (APEC Energy Outlook, 2019). The total installed capacity estimates for 2016 was 797MW sourced from hydropower (432 MW), thermal (223), gas (85MW), geothermal (50MW) and biogas (7MW) according to the APEC Energy Outlook (2019). The gross production from the geothermal power plant on Lihir Island is currently 96 GWh/yr from 11 MWe generation capacity. About half of the country’s total installed capacity is from the private sector mainly for the mining sector. The rest serves businesses and about 13% of the total population that live in Port Moresby and other urban centers in the country. The majority rural-based citizens (87%) including urban settlements do not have access to electricity and continue to rely on traditional wood burning for cooking. Portable off-grid solar energy is reaching many rural homes and urban settlements these days for lighting and phone charging and is having positive impacts on peoples’ lives (APEC Energy Outlook, 2019). Figure 2: Total installed electricity capacity: 797 MW (source: APEC Energy Outlook, 2019) More on the geological background of PNG, it has a unique geology with rich amounts of mineral resources and geothermal potential. The study notes that this is because PNG is located on the “Pacific Ring of Fire”. PNG is located on an active tectonic region or a collision zone between the ff. plates: north-ward moving Indo-Australian plate west-northwest moving Pacific plate eastward moving Caroline plate. Lihir Mine and the geothermal steam field. The power plant is located at the bottom left corner of the photograph where the built up infrastructure area.  Lihir geothermal model (Source: Newcrest Mining Limited  “The geothermal resource policy is yet to be passed in Parliament; however, the government has recently approved the National Energy Policy (2017-2027) which lays out the plan for the establishment of the new National Energy Authority and Energy Regulatory Commission which will be mandated to administer and regulate the energy industry. This policy provides for the development of various policies for geothermal and other renewable energy sources to develop sustainable renewable energy.”  Figure 3: Institutional and regulatory arrangement for the energy sector in PNG. The Electricity Management Committee comprised of relevant government departments makes decision for the renewable energy development (source: DPE).  Looking at the future development and installation, what can we expect in the future? The study reveals that currently there is no plan for new geothermal power plant installations in the next 5 to 10 years. The study suggests that more exploratory work is required at this stage to collect more information on the prospects identified by MRA and others.  However, there is still hope in the future, perhaps with the help of the National Energy Policy 2017-2027. “The recent policy initiative through the National Energy Policy 2017 – 2027 is a positive step towards the development of geothermal and other renewables as the new proposed National Energy Authority develops the policy and regulatory frameworks that would encourage geothermal exploration in the country and hopefully development.”  ----- Reference  Lahan, Maxine M., Villafuerte, Gener, Stevens, Lynell. (April - Oct. 2021). Proceedings World Geothermal Congress 2020. "Geothermal Energy Resources of Papua New Guinea: Country Update". Retrieved from - https://pangea.stanford.edu/ERE/db/WGC/papers/WGC/2020/01028.pdf  Richter, Alexander (24 Feb. 2021). Think Geoenergy Website. "Bringing geothermal back into the energy discussion in Papua New Guinea". Retrieved from - https://www.thinkgeoenergy.com/bringing-geothermal-back-into-the-energy-discussion-in-papua-new-guinea/ Photo credits/charts: Courtesy of Lahan, Maxine M., Villafuerte, Gener, Stevens, Lynell. (April - Oct. 2021). Proceedings World Geothermal Congress 2020. "Geothermal Energy Resources of Papua New Guinea: Country Update". Retrieved from - https://pangea.stanford.edu/ERE/db/WGC/papers/WGC/2020/01028.pdf
PNG Business News - September 16, 2021
Engaging the global crowd to design the electric mine of the future
Today, the Electric Mine Consortium (EMC) launched the ‘Electric Mine Simulation’ crowd challenge in partnership with the OZ Minerals Think & Act Differently ideas incubator and Unearthed. OZ Minerals, IGO, South 32, Blackstone Minerals, Evolution Mining, Barminco and Goldfields have committed to significantly reducing their carbon footprint. These seven mining companies along with a number of partner companies, have come together to form the Electric Mine Consortium, a collaborative group seeking to accelerate progress towards a fully electrified zero carbon and zero particulates mine. Electrification of mine sites is a critical step change needed for the mining industry to achieve a zero carbon future. Switching to electric and renewable energy represents a transformational shift that will change the way mines are designed. This challenge is about using simulation to understand the impacts of electrification on mine design and through this challenge the EMC is looking to find innovators that can help do this. The eight-week online challenge invites companies and individuals from around the world to propose an approach to designing an open architecture, mine design simulation platform that can initially be used to compare a fully electric underground mine with its traditional diesel powered equivalent. Brett Triffett, Transformation Technologist, from OZ Minerals explained, “there is a great opportunity to use whole-of-mine simulations that integrate all of the dependent systems so we can understand the holistic value in transitioning from diesel to electric solutions in underground mines. We would like to be able to quickly build and test different mine designs and compare things like productivity, costs, emissions and energy requirements. We think that eventually this capability could be expanded to include the entire mining value chain. We have invited the crowd to propose solutions because we are not currently aware of a platform that meets this brief. What we have learned from running previous crowd challenges is that there are often people from outside our industry who have ideas or technology that can be applied to mining. These people are often unknown to us and in many cases they are unfamiliar with our industry. By participating in a crowd challenge, innovators can access a new market and be supported in developing new products and business models.”. A selected cohort from from this challenge will join the Think & Act Differently incubator and be supported in developing a demonstration of their solution. The incubator program is a supportive environment that includes; funding, mentoring, opportunities for collaboration, capability uplift and exposure to mining data and mining operations from across the EMC members.
PNG Business News - September 15, 2021
Weir Minerals strengthens its partnership with international technology group, Andritz
Weir Minerals and Andritz have signed an agreement at MINExpo 2021 expanding their shared commitment and strategic cooperation to supply equipment for processing tailings in the mining industry. The foundations of this agreement have been built on a shared understanding and vision to enable the sustainable and efficient delivery of the natural resources essential to create a better future for the world. Since 2018, Weir Minerals’ and Andritz’s partnership has seen them collaborate on joint tailings projects. This shared history as partners – a collaboration made stronger by the quality of individuals on both teams – has reinforced their abiding belief that together, both Weir Minerals and Andritz are stronger. This shared success has led both Weir Minerals and Andritz to renew their on-going commitment and announce they’ll be expanding their offer to all regions around the globe. Utilising Andritz’s proven separation and dewatering technologies, Weir Minerals has strengthened its whole-of-mine capabilities, showcasing market-leading products from extraction to comminution, mill circuit and tailings management. ‘Weir Minerals has been providing tailings solutions for decades; we have dedicated research facilities – the Weir Technical Centre in Melbourne, Australia and the Sustainable Mining Centre in Venlo, Netherlands – that are challenging conventional ways of thinking about tailings, while also developing practical, innovative and sustainable solutions that will reduce operating costs and improve safety,’ Ricardo Garib, Weir Minerals Division President said. ‘Decreasing ore grades mean that mines are producing more tailings than ever before. One of the challenges with tailings management is that there cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach; each mine requires a tailored solution that carefully considers the minerals being processed, as well as the site’s climatic and geological conditions. Weir Minerals prides itself on having both the expertise and equipment that allows us to partner with miners everywhere to plan and implement tailings solutions based on their operations’ unique challenges and this agreement with Andritz enhances those capabilities,’ he said. ‘Andritz has a long history working across a range of different industries. We are very proud of the work we’ve done with Weir Minerals; together, we’re excited about continuing to provide a joint offering of sustainable and value-added tailings solutions. Both companies bring a different expertise and know-how to the partnership; we complement one another and ultimately it’s our customers who’ll benefit,’ Steve Huff, President Andritz Separation said. Tailings management forms an important element of Weir Minerals’ broader integrated solutions approach, which considers problems and challenges from all perspective and draws on a range of experts – process engineers, design engineers, product experts and materials scientists, among others – to identify potential challenges and opportunities and provide tailored solutions. ‘This latest agreement enhances our overall tailings offering and enables us to provide our customers with a complete tailings solution. Under the brand name IsoDry, we will continue to offer customers a range of mechanical separation technologies, such as thickeners, filter presses, centrifuges, and vacuum belt filters,’ Charlie Stone, Weir Minerals VP Sales and Business Development-Mill Circuit said. Weir Minerals has strengthened its tailings team to support the market and ensure that it can provide innovative solutions based on each customer’s specific requirements. The agreement provides the opportunity for potential future collaboration on technology, harnessing Andritz’s market-leading separation technology in conjunction with Weir Minerals’ minerals and tailings processing technology. Many of these products – Warman® pumps to transport fluid tailings, GEHO® pumps to handle paste, Cavex® hydrocyclones to dewater tailings and the Multiflo® range of dewatering solutions – have been integral to helping miners manage their waste for generations. Weir Minerals and Andritz have also reiterated their shared commitment to sustainability; it is an essential part of both their business and corporate strategies. Both companies have outlined ambitious plans to reduce their carbon emissions, while their approach to ESG initiatives extends to all aspects of their organisations. ‘Shareholders and stakeholders are rightfully demanding more sustainable mining practices and tailings management is an area where there’s a lot of scope for improvement. Weir Minerals wants to play a central role in changing how the industry thinks about and manages tailings. Ultimately, we believe that sustainable solutions are not only environmentally beneficial, but also reduce operating costs and minimise risk,’ David Almond, Weir Minerals Global Director, Product Management Process said. ‘Weir strives to make our customers more sustainable and efficient; it’s core to our purpose and at the heart of what we do. We believe that embedding sustainability throughout our organisation protects and creates long-term value for our stakeholders and secures the long-term future of Weir. Our approach to tailings management is an extension of our broader corporate strategy. There is scope to make long-lasting, impactful change in how the mining sector thinks about and manages tailings and Weir is proud to be one of the industry leaders,’ Jon Stanton, Weir Group Chief Executive said.
PNG Business News - September 15, 2021
STAKEHOLDERS VIEWS CRITICAL FOR BETTER RESOURCE GOVERNANCE: ALKAN
Head of the PNGEITI Mr Lucas Alkan last week in Wabag at the opening of the consultation. The Head of the PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Mr. Lucas Alkan has issued a strong challenge to stakeholders in the extractive industries to embrace and promote the work of EITI in Papua New Guinea to derive best value from the industry. Mr. Alkan spoke of this last week in Wabag when he opened the upper highlands regional consultation on a proposed law to transition the PNGEITI into a statutory authority. “PNG EITI is a government driven initiative to promote transparency and accountability in the PNG mining and petroleum space which has been driving the PNG economy for a sustained period of time. “But there is this misconception about proceeds from mining and petroleum activities not being translated well into development on the ground and this sentiment is shared by many at both the provincial and national level. “What PNGEITI is doing is to shed light on the leakages on revenues and proceeds from the mining and petroleum activities with the ultimate aim of improving governance in the mining and petroleum sectors using international best practice standards to see the desired development outcome from this important sector. “Seven years into PNGEITI implementation in PNG, we’ve now seen the need to make the PNGEITI administrative body, the PNGEITI into a statutory body to see more improvement in the EITI reports to enhance good governance in the sector to derive the best development outcome. “We’ve covered two regions; the New Guinea Islands and Momase regions and we are now conducting consultations in Enga and Eastern Highalnds to cover the big highlands region. “I encourage the best knowledge and views from all stakeholders from the stakeholders in these consultations so that we give birth to a law that truly reflects the genuine views of all stakeholders for better development outcomes. A State Technical working group comprising the Department of Petroleum, State Solicitor, Internal Revenue Commission, Department of Personnel Management, Department of Treasury, the National Economic Fiscal Commission and Department of Finance were in the Enga capital, Wabag for a four days consultation for the Upper Highlands region” “PNGEITI has been in operations since 2014 effected by a NEC decision and now we are moving into the next step in anchoring this extractive industry reporting process into PNG’s legal and administrative system. PNGEITI published 7 reports detailing activities taking placing inn the PNG mining and petroleum space,” Mr. Alkan said. Article Courtesy of PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative