MRA Executives Visit Simberi Mine
by PNG Business News - June 15, 2022
Photo: Jerry Garry (centre), Andrew Gunua (right) and Simberi mine engineer Naomi Gamoga taking a look at the mine pit which is exhausting its oxide ore. Credit: PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum
The Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) has commended St Barbara for the application of modern technology in the safe operation of its Deep-Sea Tailings Placement pipeline and in its fleet of heavy equipment at its Simberi mine.
MRA Managing Director Jerry Garry, who visited Simberi mine for the very first-time last week, was particularly impressed with the use of geotagging in the monitoring of the DSTP line and the In-Vehicle Monitoring System (IVMS) which records operator activity in the equipment.
Mr Garry said the improvements were indicative of the mine moving beyond compliance requirements to values-based commitments as it transitions from oxide mining to sulphides.
The installation of the geotagging system on Simberi’s DSTP pipeline means exact coordinates can be transmitted while the IVMS – which includes a camera unit, vibrating seat cushion and warning lights – is monitoring operator/driver activities and identifying unsafe behavior.
Mr Garry, who was accompanied by his Executive Manager Development Coordination Andrew Gunua, took a tour of Simberi’s pit - where he was fascinated by the use of the three-kilometre rope conveyor in ore delivery to the process plant - before visiting a range of community projects built under St Barbara ‘Stronger Communities’ commitment.
Messrs Garry and Gunua also toured the Simberi cocoa nursery - the source of the current Tabar dark chocolate that is being trialled and enjoyed in New Ireland - and were impressed with Simberi’s mariculture initiatives which include coral and mangrove propagation and growing of giant clams.
The duo also visited the Simberi Primary School, community markets, and Maragon Clinic - facilities that derived from partnerships between St Barbara, Simberi Mining Area Landowner Association, and the New Ireland Provincial Government.
They commended Simberi management for striving to embed a high performing safety and social responsibility culture in the operation.
Article courtesy of PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum
PNG Business News - March 29, 2021
MRA Seeks Views Over Simberi Gold Project
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
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PNG Business News - June 24, 2022
Creating decent income-earning opportunities for rural communities in Papua New Guinea under road maintenance programme
EU Funded UN Joint STREIT PNG Programme, as part of its mission to support efforts towards reducing rural poverty, is engaging local communities with a focus on struggling single parents as a support workforcefor maintenance of 18 selected farm-to-market roads in the Sepik region. Led by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the creation of these employment opportunities in remote communities where there are limited income-generating activities because of lack of accessible roads to markets is a relief to many disadvantaged households. This month the ILO team visited some of these beneficiaries who are employed in the Road Maintenance Groups (RMGs) working on a 17.7km-long Walkasa Mai-Wanwan road and an 8km-long Yiminum-Wilbowe road in the Nuku District of Sandaun Province. For the beneficiaries, this is a lifetime opportunity for a regular and steady income to support their and their families' everyday needs, and one important concern for the struggling families is paying for their siblings' and kids' school fees and associate costs. Among the struggling families are some widows like Marathia, aged 59, from Yiminum Village, who works on the Yiminum-Wilbowe road. "My husband died, and we were really struggling because our families have their own problems to take care of. Now, I'm very happy with this job which I joined last year. It helps with school fees for my children," said Marathia. Marathia was left with five children to support, including one who is attending final year studies at a vocational training nearby. With the income as an RMG, she was able to pay PGK 500 school fee last year and early this year she paid PGK 250. She said the community is also happy to see her contribution in a job they usually see as for men only. For youths like Jena Suwa this employment opens a new window to their life. She was not able to complete her studies after year 10 in 2018. "I'm very happy today because I was doing nothing in the house. I will now save some money to prepare to go back to school to become a nurse," said Jena. Sony Apo is another youth who completed Grade 8 in 2015 and is looking forward to some money to upgrade. He dreams of becoming a carpenter to continue the legacy of his late 'big daddy'. "Big daddy was the only skilled man we had in the family, and now I'm ready to become a carpenter as well," he said. The main works that encompass the road routine maintenance aspect to be undertaken by the RMGs include pothole patching, vegetation clearing, drainage and general cleaning along the road in preparation for engagement of a contractor to perform specific maintenance on these farm-to-market access and feeder roads. Safety gears and road maintenance tools like boots, gloves, vests, safety helmets, spades, hoes, wheelbarrows were also among the tools and equipment provided and distributed by the EU-STREIT PNG Programme among the RMGs' members. During the visits, the Programme's Community Facilitator, Rachel Bowie also shared with the RMGs to demonstrate commitment in their work to take ownership in the routine maintenance of these roads because it will serve them, their families and their fellow community members. The mission also conducted a drone survey of a 14km-long Nanaha-Tau LLG access road in the Ambunti-Drekikier District, East Sepik Province. In consultation with Ward Members, locals, including youths and women, were also recruited to form RMGs to conduct routine maintenance for this road that will also service Drekikier Secondary. Under the Programme selection criteria, one RMG comprises six members that must have at least two females. The group must also have representation from youths, single parents whose partners have died or have deserted them and traditional owners of land the road passes through. The Programme, in partnership with MiBank, a local financial institution, is implementing cashless transactions and banking for rural farmers by opening bank accounts for these RMGs, and their payment is deposited directly at the end of every month. This arrangement encourages rural farmers to save and grow their earnings, which can be used to access small loan benefits. Under this rural agriculture development programme, 18 rural roads in the Sepik region totalling close to 300 km in length are being maintained or upgraded with the help of RMGs to support the market access initiative implemented by the EU-STREIT PNG Programme for rural and farming communities to boost agriculture production and agribusiness activities pertaining to three targeted cocoa, vanilla and fisheries agri-food value chains for an improved income and cash flow for the rural communities. The roads will also support other agricultural, business, social and community activities and facilities like schools, aid posts and health centres that are in dire need of better accessible roads. The EU-STREIT PNG Programme, being implemented as a UN Joint Programme (FAO as the leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region. The Programme aims to help improve the lives of the people from East Sepik and Sandaun provinces, by focusing on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through improved economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains while strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment, and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.
PNG Business News - June 24, 2022
Santos welcomes new apprentices in higher-level program
Photo: Leon Buskens, Santos Country Chair PNG meeting the 25 new apprentices in Port Moresby before their departure to the Institut Teknologi Petroleum Petronas (INSTEP) in Malaysia. Joining Mr Buskens and the apprentices are members of the Santos Training and People & Culture Teams. Santos is helping to equip Papua New Guinea’s next generation of oil and gas technicians with international qualifications. Ten females are among 25 novices who have joined the Santos 2022 Apprenticeship Program following a rigorous selection process which will see them train at the Institut Teknologi Petroleum Petronas (INSTEP) in Malaysia – 900 applications were received for the 2022 Program. Upon completion of the technician training at INSTEP, the apprentices will earn a Pearson Business Education Technology Council Level 2 and Level 3 UK qualification. Santos Country Chair for PNG, Leon Buskens when welcoming the apprentices, said: “You have joined at an exciting time following the merger between Oil Search and Santos. As the inaugural batch under the merged entity, there are greater opportunities for you to advance in all aspects of your career both in PNG and abroad. I encourage you to do your best and importantly, maintain a positive attitude and uphold your values - this is what will take you far on this journey. “This is the beginning, but you should be proud of yourselves as we are of you for making it this far. Congratulations and welcome to Santos.” Joining Mr Buskens to address the new cohort were pioneering trainees Cornelius Soagai, Senior Government Affairs Manager and Lydia Warubi, Deputy Occupational Health & Safety Manager. Mr Soagai went on to become the first national Production Manager in the Operations and Maintenance Department while Ms Warubi made waves as the first national female process technician to work at the Central Processing Facility. Both leaders encouraged the apprentices to maximize on the career development opportunities available to them at Santos. Among the cohort was Judy Sasa who completed the Company’s pre-apprentice program at the Kumul Petroleum Academy (KPA) in 2020. Judy finished at the top of her class and attained an honourable achievement award. A grateful Judy thanked Santos for a further opportunity to broaden her knowledge in oil and gas production. “My dream is coming true as I have always wanted to work in this industry,” Ms Sasa said. The 25 apprentices along with the Santos training team departed PNG for Malaysia last weekend. Two permanent employees were also part of the travelling party to INSTEP where they will train to become dual Electrical & Instrumentation tradesmen. Article courtesy of Santos
PNG Business News - June 23, 2022
PM Marape says East Sepik can become ‘economic powerhouse’ of PNG
Photo: PM Marape addressing the crowd in Maprik Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says East Sepik has the potential to become the “economic powerhouse” of Papua New Guinea. He said in Maprik recently (June 22 2022) that because of this potential, and in memory of founding Prime Minister the late Sir Michael Somare, the next Government would be formed in East Sepik. Present with the Prime Minister were East Sepik Governor Hon. Allan Bird (National Alliance), Angoram MP Hon. Salio Waipo (National Alliance), Maprik MP and Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Hon. John Simon (Pangu) and Pangu candidate for Wosera-Gawi Ronald Asik. Sir Michael was instrumental in the formation of both Pangu and National Alliance “East Sepik has the potential to become the ‘economic powerhouse’ province of our country,” PM Marape said. “This is why I will bring Government formation to here: Firstly, in memory of Sir Michael, and secondly, in memory of Sir Pita Lus. “This will be the 11th Parliament, and the first Parliament without Sir Michael and Sir Pita being alive. “This will be symbolic that the nation is now being passed on to the next generation.” PM Marape said formation of the new Government in East Sepik would also inspire the new generation of leaders to hold on to the lofty ideals of the founding fathers like Sir Michael and Sir Pita. He said his Government, over the last three years, had passed major laws to fight corruption and promised the people of Papua New Guinea that some prominent leaders would be prosecuted after the elections. These include the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), Whistle Blowers’ Act and Undisclosed Wealth Act. “What would be the point of Allan Bird and I growing the economy of the country when corruption is still prevalent?” PM Marape said. “We have managed to stifle corruption in the big way with passage of the three bills during the last term of Parliament. “Over the last three years, we have spent over K56 billion, which has grown the economy by K30 billion.” PM Marape said East Sepik’s economic powerhouse potential was in agriculture, through the vast Sepik Plains, and challenged the province to start growing rice on a large scale to reduce the huge K900 million rice import bill. “Over the next few years, and into the future, we want to grow our own rice for domestic consumption as well as export to Phillipines, Indonesia and the rest if the region,” he said. “Sir Michael, before his passing, said he had helped groom me up and asked me not to forget East Sepik into the future. “The way to achieve this is through economic independence. “I want every Papua New Guinean to have money in their pockets: Grow rice, grow cocoa, grow vanilla, look after cattle, bring in tourists, stop consumption of home brew, stop marijuana and other bad habits. “We are ready to take the country to the next level. “I want East Sepik to be an economic powerhouse no longer dependent on Waigani. “This is why I ask the people of East Sepik to send Allan Bird, John Simon, Salio Waipo and my Wosera-Gawi candidate Ronald Asik, Ambunti-Dreikikier candidate Richard Rafa and Wewak candidate Jim Simitab to Parliament. “ Article courtesy of PM JAMES MARAPE News Page