Harmony’s Senior Executives Affirm Company’s Commitment to PNG
by PNG Business News - May 02, 2022
Photo: Harmony representatives present at meeting in Port Moresby with Prime Minister, Honourable James Marape MP (L-R) Mr. J. Van Heerden, Ms. B. Lekubo, Prime Minister, Honourable James Marape MP, Mrs. M van der Walt and Mr. K. Wali.
Senior executives from Harmony’s offices in South Africa, toured company assets in PNG this week. They met with Prime Minister James Marape to emphasise the company’s continued commitment to invest and grow in PNG.
Harmony’s Financial Director, Boipelo Lekubo, and Senior Group Executive: Enterprise Risk and Investor Relations, Marian van der Walt, spoke of Harmony’s investment in PNG since 2004 and the company’s pursuit of multiple opportunities in the Morobe Province, of which the Wafi-Golpu Project is one.
“Harmony, through its subsidiary companies, owns the Hidden Valley Mine and 50% of the Wafi-Golpu Project, as well as extensive exploration interests in and around the Morobe Province,” Ms. Lekubo said.
“Significant capital works associated with the Hidden Valley Mine life extension are presently underway, and Harmony continues to assess further investment opportunities in PNG”, Ms. Lekubo added.
As of 31 December 2021, the Hidden Valley Mine had paid an aggregate PGK 179.4 million in royalties. However, as many industries are experiencing, “Our stakeholders increasingly wish to understand what Harmony is doing environmentally, socially and in terms of governance,” Ms. Lekubo said.
“‘Responsible Stewardship’ is a key pillar underpinning Harmony’s operating philosophy, which is mining with purpose. The principles of sustainable development are embedded in our business. For example, we recognise, both in South Africa and PNG, that preferential procurement is a national imperative, and we are proud to be supporting PNG businesses, including landowner businesses. During the previous financial year, Harmony’s total procurement spend in PNG was PGK 517 million, including PGK 152 million spend with landowner companies.”
“Investment in a country’s people is also key. More than 96% of the Hidden Valley Mine’s 1,600-person permanent workforce are Papua New Guineans, including 29% of senior management and 76% of superintendents. This is continuing to increase through our Superintendent and Leadership development programs. We also recently announced our 2022 scholarship recipients, awarding full scholarships to four Morobeans’ to pursue university studies in mining related fields.”
“That 15% of our Hidden Valley Mine workforce is female, including over 24% of truck operators—many who have been recruited from our landowner communities—is also a source of pride.”
Harmony is also committed to responding to climate change and has announced its plans to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2045. Ms Lekubo explained, “This commitment will influence our energy choices and Harmony’s approach to developments going forward. “There is no doubt about the importance of the Hidden Valley Mine, and—in the future—the Wafi-Golpu Project, to Harmony.
Ms. Lekubo said that The Hidden Valley Mine proved to be critical to the Harmony Group when all of Harmony’s South African mines were shut down due to Covid-19 restrictions. “Thank you to each of our stakeholders for ensuring that the mine remains responsible and viable through particularly challenging times. A special thanks also goes to the PNG Government for partnering with us in keeping Harmonites safe and healthy”.
With respect to the Wafi-Golpu Project, Harmony has been encouraged by the recent progress of discussions with the PNG Government.
“We look forward to concluding the permitting of the Wafi-Golpu project, enabling us to continue creating shared value for all our stakeholders in PNG”, Ms. Lekubo concluded.
Article courtesy of Harmony Gold
PNG Business News - November 02, 2021
Marape Announces the Launch of the National Gold Refinery and Mint Project
The National Gold Refinery and Mint Project Deal, signed recently by Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape, is a milestone agreement for the country and a key success in the implementation of his government's "Take Back PNG" program, according to Marape. “The project has started and will establish, for the first time in Papua New Guinea, a downstream processing and value-adding industry for gold, one of the country’s most-valuable natural resource exports,” he said. “The project will put Papua Guinea on the world gold map, so it is rightfully recognised in both gold mining and gold refining industries, and in global precious metals and financial markets, as one of the world’s most-important gold-producing countries.” PM Marape stated that downstream processing of natural resources in PNG, such as gold, forests, and fisheries, is critical to the country's economic future and job creation, and that it is a core priority of his government. “This has been talked about for decades, but it is my leadership peers in present Government who are now pushing for this major in-country downstream processing project,” he said. “It is the first of many to come. “Until now, all the economic and social benefits from refining and value-adding to Papua New Guinea’s gold, have been exported to foreign refineries and for the benefit of foreign countries. “The project will ensure that we account for all gold produced in PNG and export out finished products for companies and individuals who are in the gold industry.” For the first time, all earnings, taxes, new US dollar foreign exchange inflows, employment, and related advantages from gold and precious metals refining will stay in PNG, according to PM Marape. “For the first time, PNG will be recognised on the world stage, including by international refined gold regulatory bodies, such as the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA),” he said. “PNG will become known and recognised as a producer of international standard: gold and precious metal investment bullion bars, gold and precious metal legal tender investment coins; and other refined gold products. The initiative, according to PM Marape, would create four new world-class firms in the state: National Gold Refinery – It will purify all of PNG's gold and precious metals and manufacture gold and silver bullion bars to international standards; National Mint – minting its own currency and the new National Bird of Paradise legal tender coin, as well as investment grade gold and precious metal currency coins; National Gold Bank – to offer the PNG gold mining sector with dedicated gold and precious metal banking and trading services; and National Gold – PNG gold and precious metals, as well as its value-added bullion bars, investment coins, and other goods, will be sold to worldwide investors. “This is a high-end value-adding business and for a gold producing nation, we want to move into this space,” PM Marape said. “No one has dared to dream this dream, but as a Government fighting to earn more from our resources, this low-hanging economic opportunity is now harnessed .” PM Marape stated that the state will be a 50:50 joint venture equity partner in the project from the start, with 30% of the State Interest going to local alluvial miners and landowners. “The State also has the right to buy majority or total control of the project at a time into the future as defined in the project agreement with Refinery Holdings who are partners in this project,” he said. “Refinery Holdings will be the project manager, operator and financier of the project until the State decides to buy control.” PM Marape stated that the National Gold Corporation will pay the full corporation tax rate (currently 30%) on profits from the start. “Refinery Holdings will pay full dividend withholding tax on its dividends received from National Gold Corporation, “ he said. “The project will generate substantial new dividends and corporate taxes paid to the State – currently projected at approximately US$800 million over the first 15 years of operation.” The initiative, according to PM Marape, would produce a lot of employment and possibilities. “Up to 200 new jobs will be created during the construction phase of the refining and minting facilities on land leased within the LNG and Petroleum Park, and at Jackson International Airport,” he said. “There will be up 350 new tertiary level jobs in the operational phase and there will be significant training and skills transfer to local employees for decades to come. “And there will be the creation of many local ancillary industries, including gold tourism facilities, and long-term supply requirements from local contractors and suppliers.” PM Marape stated that the new world-class specialized gold refinery in PNG will assist small-scale, local alluvial gold miners (i.e. landowners). “Landowners can expect to receive better pricing for their gold from the National Gold Refinery and will avoid having to deal with ‘industry middlemen’ or having to accept the discounted gold price offered by middlemen for their gold,” he said. PM Marape stated that fresh and considerable foreign money inflows will boost PNG miners and the economy. “The project and its gold products are priced in US Dollars,” he said. “The National Gold Refinery will have an estimated initial US$4 billion per annum gold throughput, and more as gold production increases, every year for many decades to come. “The PNG gold mining industry will benefit from having a world-class, professionally-managed, gold and precious metals refinery in-country and dedicated to servicing all their refining and gold trading requirements. “A local world-class gold refinery means that the time gap between gold production and sale is significantly reduced as unrefined gold does not need to be shipped from PNG to foreign refineries. “This may mean some PNG mining opportunities will now become economic, and it may increase the profitability of existing mines through a reduction in processing cost. “The project also includes arrangements by which current and future PNG gold miners will transition from foreign gold smelting and refining arrangements to refining of all PNG gold and precious metals through the National Gold Refinery. “The State will provide a statutory guarantee of the gold delivery and related obligations of the National Gold Corporation Group to assure PNG gold miners and international banks, investors and gold industry counterparties that their gold and dealings with the Group are safe and secure at all times. “The National Gold Refinery will, by law, provide globally-competitive refining costs, outcomes and benefits for PNG gold miners now and into the future.” “The project, and the significant long-term foreign investment in the project by the private sector, demonstrates regionally, and internationally, that my Government’s foreign investment policy is effective and that PNG is a mature, stable, and safe investment destination for exploration, mining, and production of gold, and refined gold.” “I look forward to work with the investors, our local SME and alluvial gold miners and landowners, as well as those in the big mines to ensure that this refinery and mint is beneficial to all parties in the mining and gold business. Reference: Pacific Mining Watch (30 October 2021). “PNG PM Marape announces start of National Gold Refinery & Mint Project”.
PNG Business News - September 24, 2021
Gold Output Remains Stable
Despite an increase in export and revenue, gold output in the alluvial mining industry has remained stable for the past 13 years, according to an official. Export income has increased from K100 million to over K600 million yearly in 2019 and 2020, according to Mineral Resource Authority managing director Jerry Garry. However, he stated that manufacturing maintained at approximately 100,000 units. Gary believed that if mechanised mining operations such as the usage of excavators, trammel, and other mechanised processing facilities were utilized, gold production might grow. Unfortunately, he added, the alluvial industry has not moved into specialized mechanised processing facilities because finance institutions were wary of the significant investment risks involved. Gary said that unlike hard rock mining, where the distribution of metals such as gold or copper could be predicted with a high degree of certainty, alluvial mining deposits could not. “There is no uniformity in the distribution of alluvial gold in an alluvial deposit,” he said. “So you cannot be sure exactly to ascertain the volume of sediment to come up with how much gold is in that deposit.” Gary stated that this will be discussed at the alluvial mining conference in Lae. “Once we get some understanding and if we can minimise the risk, then financial institutions will be comfortable in investing,” Gary said. Reference: Bauai, Gloria. The National (23 September 2021). “Garry: Gold production stagnant”.
PNG Business News - August 23, 2021
Hidden Valley Contributes K633.7M to the Economy
The Hidden Valley Mine contributes K633.7 million to the regional and national economies, indicating its importance in the development and growth of the country's economy. Monica Rau, the Harmony Gold PNG exploration's environment, social, and governance manager, revealed this in a PowerPoint presentation at the Chamber of Mines and Petroleum's community affairs and media workshop in Port Moresby. She also stated that Hidden Valley has paid the government K591.5 million in royalties and direct taxes over the last LOM. Hidden Valley, according to the report, has created over 2000 jobs, with 96 per cent of them located in Papua New Guinea. “From financial year FY 2009 to FY 2020, Hidden Valley has spent K4.9 billion on procurement in PNG, including K1.3 billion with local landowners, K 1.8 billion in Morobe Province, and K 1.7 billion on other procurement in PNG.” The mine has supported a variety of community activities through the memorandum of agreement (MoA), the benefit-sharing trust, and discretionary spending in the areas of community infrastructure, education and health support, law and order programs, gender development, integrated development, and donations, as well as assistance given to communities throughout the mine's life cycle. She also addressed the obstacles and solutions on the path to mine closure, stating that the mine has around seven years to run until more extension options are discovered, but landowners and communities are unwilling to discuss mine closure. Hidden Valley is a gold and silver open-pit mine that began operations in 2007 in the Morobe Province. Morobe Consolidated Goldfields Limited (MCG), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Harmony Gold (South Africa), owns and operates the mine. Reference: Post-Courier (17 August 2021). “”Rau: Hidden Valley Contributes K633.7M To Economy”.
PNG Business News - May 16, 2022
Get over it... with PNG Forest Products' NiuBridge
Photo: NiuBridge on the Boluminski Hwy, New Ireland, PNG You know how they say, “Build a bridge… and get over it”? Well with PNGFP NiuBridge you don’t have to build it, because it’s already built! These expertly designed and engineered modular bridges are prefabricated to your specifications by PNG Forest Products. With a design life of 50+ years and installed cost base typically under half that of equivalent concrete or steel, NiuBridge is the ideal, most cost-effective solution for bridging installations in Papua New Guinea. The NiuBridge System includes deck, girders, kerbing and accessories, and comes with a pre-applied bitumen surface. Little maintenance is required thanks to PNGFP’s unique veneer preservation treatment, ensuring complete protection from termites and rotting. NiuBridge is manufactured from PNG plantation pine to both AS/NZS 2269 and AS/NZS 1604 standards and exploits the advantages of natural timber, which is not subject to fatigue failure, unlike other materials such as steel and concrete. Available in single lane, dual lane, or custom design, NiuBridge is suitable for a range of load conditions including Austroads T44 and AS 500 Bridge Design. NiuBridge and sister product NiuDeck are widely used by local and state governments across Australia. The peak body for the timber industry in Queensland has welcomed these products as a demonstration of the versatility and innovation of using Engineered Wood Products in bridge construction. “Using prefabricated timber systems in bridges is gaining greater market recognition due to their inherent strength, light weight and low carbon emissions footprint compared to other construction materials”, said the CEO of Timber Queensland, Mick Stephens. So next time you need to get over it, don’t waste valuable time and loads of money building a bridge. Buy a NiuBridge and get over it sooner and more cost effectively!
PNG Business News - May 16, 2022
Need help with to live, work and study in Australia and with student enrolments in EQI accredited schools? Ask Migration Plus!
Photo credit: Migration Plus Migration Plus is a leading Migration firm in Cairns, in the Far North Queensland region providing professional migration advice to students, individuals, government, businesses and corporate groups including the mining, hospitality, tourism, agricultural and air services industries. Migration Plus are also Education Agents with Qualified Education Counsellors on their team and they represent a number of reputable universities and colleges across Australia, including Education Queensland International (EQI) for student enrolments. They work closely with EQI and have successfully assisted PNG students enrol in schools across Queensland and also assisted with visa applications for the students for many years. With Australian borders opening to international visitors, temporary workers and international students, they can assist you with all migration matters for your business and family to visit, work or study in Australia. Now is the time to start your children’s enrolment to study in any of the EQI’s accredited schools from Prep to Year 12. Education Counsellors at Migration Plus can assist your children’s enrolment for Year 10, Semester 2, the important pathway into senior high school subjects through the Senior Education and Training Plan. Semester 2 commences in July 2022. With an in-depth knowledge of migration law, their specialist team provides a complete solution to your migration requirements and coordinate all facets of your migration needs. The Migration Plus team is very passionate about what they we do – the rewards of being able to assist in changing lives and helping clients achieve their goals is first and foremost. With over 90 years of combined experience available to you, you can count on their highly specialised team for accurate advice. Contact the Specialist team for further information.
Marcelle P. Villegas - May 16, 2022
Australia Opens Its Doors to International Students
Photo credit: Education Queensland International “International students are an important part of the Australian community, and we are excited to welcome them back to our classrooms, campuses and communities.” This was the announcement posted on their website by the Australian Government last February to herald the reopening of international travel to students. “Australia’s borders are open to fully vaccinated international students and Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders.”  “From 21 February 2022, all visa holders who are fully vaccinated for international travel purposes can travel to Australia without a travel exemption. Unvaccinated visa holders will still need to be in an exempt category or hold an individual travel exemption to enter Australia.”  The Australian Government said that international students will be subject to Australian Government border restrictions and any State and Territory quarantine and testing requirements. Quarantine and testing arrangements for State and Territories are frequently changing. Therefore, international students are advised to visit www.Australia.gov.au/states to be updated with the latest information and announcements of the Australian Government. In relation to this, the Department of Education, Skills and Employment has developed a “factsheet on the reopening of international travel to students” which is available for downloading from the website.  “All visa holders who are fully vaccinated in accordance with Australia’s international border entry requirements are able to arrive in Australia without needing an approved travel exemption. This includes fully vaccinated international students.”  Here are more important reminders from the Australian Government: People who do not meet Australia’s vaccination requirements for international travel must apply for a travel exemption to travel to Australia, unless they are in an exempt category. Visa holders who arrive in Australia may have their visa cancelled and be detained and removed if they: are not fully vaccinated for international travel purposes in accordance with Australia’s border entry requirements; or do not have a medical contraindication to a COVID-19 vaccine as defined by the Australian Government; or are not in an exempt category or hold an individual travel exemption. To be considered as “fully vaccinated for international travel purpose” to or from Australia, one should have completed a primary course of a vaccine approved or recognized by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). This includes mixed doses. The currently approved or recognised vaccines for travel are the following: Two doses at least 14 days apart of AstraZeneca Vaxzevria, AstraZeneca Covishield, Pfizer/Biontech Comirnaty, Moderna Spikevax or Takeda, Sinovac Coronavac, Bharat Biotech Covaxin, Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV (for people under 60 years of age on arrival in Australia), Gamaleya Research Institute Sputnik V, Novavax/Biocelect Nuvaxovid. Single-dose dose of Johnson & Johnson/ Janssen-Cilag COVID Vaccine are also in the list of approved and recognized vaccines. “At least 7 days must have passed since the final dose of vaccine in a course of immunisation for you to be considered fully vaccinated for international travel purposes. Mixed doses count towards being fully vaccinated as long as all vaccines are approved or recognised by the TGA.” How about exceptions for vaccination requirements and arrangement for children? “People with acceptable proof they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, and children under 12, can access the same travel arrangement as people who are fully vaccinated for international travel purposes.” Moreover, temporary visa holders who are younger than 18 years old at the time of departure for international travel to Australia do not require an approved travel exemption when the child is travelling with at least one adult who is fully vaccinated for international travel purposes. “Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children aged 12-17 years old entering Australia may be exempt from passenger caps and eligible for reduced quarantine requirements. Travellers should always check the quarantine requirements for the state or territory they plan to travel to, or transit through, prior to arranging their travel.” “If the child is travelling with unvaccinated adult family members, then the entire family group will be subject to managed quarantine and passenger caps.” For more information on vaccination travel requirements, quarantine rules, and other related matter, visit https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/vaccinated-travellers. Reference:  https://www.dese.gov.au/reopening-international-travel-students  https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/vaccinated-travellers  Factsheet on the reopening of international travel to students https://www.dese.gov.au/reopening-international-travel-students/resources/factsheet-reopening-international-travel-students