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PNG Business News - March 31, 2021

Kingston Resource Now Owns 100% of Misima Gold Project

Following the completion of all terms with former joint venture partner Pan Pacific Copper to buy its 19% stake in the Misima gold project in Milne Bay, Kingston Resources Ltd now holds a 100% interest in the project. Kingston has received the final tranche of the overall consideration of AU$2 million (K4.31 million) since receiving all regulatory approvals from PNG (K5.23mil). Kingston now has 100 per cent control of the plant, according to an announcement made last week on the Australian stock exchange. The merger agreement was first revealed on November 12, 2019, and then revised on June 24, 2019. According to Kingston managing director Andrew Corbett, this was a fantastic result for shareholders and a significant step forward for the firm on its journey to becoming a new gold producer in Asia-Pacific. “The completion of this transaction provides Kingston with 100 per cent ownership of our flagship asset, which is rapidly progressing towards development,” he said. “Since we first acquired an initial 49 per cent interest in the Misima gold project back in late 2017, we delivered a number of key project milestones that culminated in the delivery of a highly positive pre-feasibility study (PFS) for Misima in 2020. This PFS clearly demonstrated that Misima is a large-scale, long-life, low-cost gold project that is set to deliver significant value and opportunities for all stakeholders. We have grown the initial resource base from 2.3Moz (million ounces) to 3.6Moz, delivered a maiden 1.35Moz ore reserve, and we expect both our resources and reserves to continue to grow through ongoing in-fill drilling and testing of exploration targets.” He added, “Completion of this acquisition provides Kingston with a streamlined and simplified ownership structure, providing a strong platform and added flexibility to continue checking off the necessary milestones to re-start gold production on Misima Island.”

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PNG Business News - March 31, 2021

K92 Mining Records 56% Increase in Revenue at Kainantu, Thanks to Record Production

K92 Mining recently revealed that its Kainantu gold mine in Papua New Guinea's Eastern Highlands province produced a record annual gold-equivalent output of 98,872 oz. The gold equivalent volume is 95,109 oz of gold, 1,853,078 lbs of copper, and 36,067 oz of silver, reflecting a 20 per cent growth in AuEq from the previous year. Cash costs of US$651/oz gold and AISC of US$782/oz gold were obtained by the company. The firm reported that its annual revenue of US$159.1 million were up 56 per cent from the previous year. EBITDA was US$79.6 million, or US$0.37 per share, and operating cash flow was US$76.5 million, or US$0.35 per share. The company's net income was $42.0 million, or $0.19 per share. In addition, following the lifting of the State of Emergency in June 2020, K92 successfully commissioned Stage 2 Plant Extension, doubling throughput capacity to 400,000 tonnes per year and ongoing construction of the twin incline. K92 Mining is involved in the extraction of gold, copper, and silver from the Kora deposit at the Kainantu gold mine in Papua New Guinea's Eastern Highlands province, as well as the discovery and construction of mineral resources near the mine. In February 2018, the company announced commercial production from Kainantu and is in a good financial position. John Lewins, K92 Chief Executive Officer and Director stated, “2020 represented another transformational year for K92. In terms of operations, Kainantu delivered record throughput, production and development, and finished the year particularly strong, with multiple quarterly records achieved in the fourth quarter. In the third quarter, K92 achieved two major growth milestones: the completion of the Stage 2 Plant Expansion commissioning, and; the Stage 3 Expansion PEA study. The Stage 2 Plant Expansion, has already delivered a notable step-change in terms of the capabilities of the operation, doubling throughput capacity from 200,000 tpa (~550 tpd) to 400,000 tpa (~1,100 tpd). The Stage 3 Expansion PEA has outlined a Tier 1 Asset, expanding to 1 mtpa throughput with run-rate production of ~318kozpa AuEq, LOM average AISC of $362/oz Au and capital costs funded from mine cash flow at $1,500/oz.” He added, “On exploration, Kainantu doubled the number of drill rigs to 10, providing a significant boost to not only the rate of drilling but our capacity to drill multiple targets concurrently. In the second half of the year, this resulted in high-grade mineralization recorded at both the underexplored Karempe and Judd vein systems. The results from Judd are particularly encouraging with JDD0006 recording 7.25 m at 256.09 g/t Au, 113 g/t Ag and 0.42 % Cu (258.01 g/t AuEq, 5.30m true width) on the J1 vein (see November 9, 2020 press release), representing one of the highest-grade intersections drilled by K92. Importantly, underground development has supported the Judd drilling results, with the latest 65-metre development extension on the Judd 1235 Level recording an average 3.8 metres vein thickness at 18.70 g/t AuEq (17.13 g/t Au, 0.82% Cu and 37 g/t Ag) (see January 26, 2021 press release). Exploration results have increased our conviction for a higher throughput rate for the Stage 3 Expansion Definitive Feasibility Study and resulted in more drill rigs being added through 2021. Lastly, I would like to highlight that this transformational year was achieved in one of the most challenging environments globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The dedication and resourcefulness of our workforce have been exemplary, and the support of the government has also been a major factor in our success.”

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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.

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PNG Business News - March 29, 2021

Mass Testing Program Implemented at Ok Tedi Mining

Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) has begun introducing a Mass Testing Program within its activities in order to avoid further COVID-19 transmission and ensure a secure return to operations. Following a spike in COVID-19 cases on the mine site and in Papua New Guinea, the company began introducing the program on Friday, March 19th, for a period of 14 days. OTML has successfully implemented the research initiative, collecting over 4,000 test samples from its staff, contractors, corporate associates, and families so far. These samples are being sent to Australia for processing, and the National Control Centre in Port Moresby is receiving daily reports. People who achieve a positive outcome are cared for and supported in the isolation and quarantine process, according to OTML's contact tracing and isolation protocols. The mass testing program, according to OTML Health Manager Dr. Charlie Turharus, has aided his medical staff, which consists of physicians and health care practitioners from the OTML-funded Tabubil Hospital, in quickly testing and isolating COVID-19 cases. “Fortunately, almost all the cases we have recorded are asymptomatic or only showing mild to moderate symptoms,” he said.  OTML's Mass Testing scheme has included almost all of the mine's work areas, including Kiunga and Bige, where the company's wharf and dredging operations are located. Personnel in Port Moresby and its geographic discovery sites were also put to the test. “Our priority is the safety, health and wellbeing of all our personnel, and we will ensure that this mass testing program is implemented successfully so that we contain the spread of the virus and resume safe productions,” Dr Turharus said.  The testing schedule is on target to prepare for the resumption of operations after the closure time is completed.

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PNG Business News - March 25, 2021

Adyton Resources Starts Drilling Program at Gameta Gold Project

Adyton Resources Corporation has started a 3,000-meter diamond drilling program at its Gameta Gold Project on Fergusson Island, which is part of Papua New Guinea's "Rim of Fire." The Gameta Gold Project has a 360,000-ounce gold (oz Au) inferred mineral resource, and Adyton's Wapolu Gold Project on Fergusson Island has a 140,000-ounce gold (oz Au) inferred mineral resource. Given the existing resource on Gameta, the goals of this program are to increase trust and add ounces by drilling deeper and along with strike extension drilling. The Fergusson Island projects are located in the same discovery zone as Misima and the nearby Woodlark Island projects. The first drill hole has been finished after two drill rigs were mobilized to the site. By the end of May, the first assay results should be available. The program will supplement the 14,361 meters of past reverse circulation (RC) and diamond drilling at Gameta. In May, the company will continue drilling on its 100% owned Feni Gold Project, which has a 650,000 oz Au inferred mineral resource and is located in a Tier 1 area along a mineral belt that includes the world-class Simberi, Lihir, and Panguna gold and copper projects. Frank Terranova, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Adyton said, “The company is pleased to be off to such a fast start after only listing in late February 2021. Having spent significant time and effort over the past several months creating a portfolio of highly prospective copper and gold exploration projects, the Adyton team is excited to be drilling and working to create shareholder value. The drill rigs are turning, and news flow is imminent. The company is very well positioned with more than $9 million in cash reserves, over 1,000,000 oz of mineral resources in the inferred category, and major shareholders and banking partners who remain fully supportive of our exploration strategy.” Terranova stated that recent PNG COVID-19 developments had had no material impact on the company's exploration campaign since all of the Fergusson Island and Feni projects benefited from being located on islands. He said, “The technical teams will remain on-site for the duration of the drilling programs which are protected by appropriate COVID-19 safety and health protocols.” The Gameta job program has the following goals: Diamond drilling will be used to increase the trust in the project's existing inferred resources, allowing a large part of them to be categorized as indicated or higher. Drilling intended to extend the depth of historical drilling down-dip to test for extensions to the existing ore zones will be used to expand the existing resource base. To analyze prospective processing routes, collect ore-grade samples for metallurgical and geotechnical testing. Adyton intends to deploy the two drill rigs to the Feni Gold Project, which is situated within the Lihir volcanic arc, in the coming weeks. The initial Feni drill program will consist of approximately 3,000 meters of diamond drilling, which will be added to the project's existing 18,893 meters of RC and diamond drilling. A substantial and largely untested porphyry copper target has been clearly highlighted by recent 3D re-processing of Induced Polarisation (IP) surveys conducted in 1998. This primary phase anomaly is modelled as a 150-200mm sub-vertical pipe with a substantial depth extent. The drilling program will focus on this pipe-like feature. The drilling program at Feni has the following goals: Within the Kabang mineralised structural corridor, test for both porphyry copper and overprinting epithermal gold mineralisation. Drilling for the porphyry copper target would take place at a depth of 500 meters. By upgrading a part of the inferred resources to indicated status, the existing 650,000 oz Au inferred mineral resource will be increased, as will the trust in the current identified resources. Complete a drilling program in and around the Kabang prospect with the main objective of extending the existing inferred mineral resource and testing the highest priority exploration targets identified through the above work. Conduct an exploration drilling program along the strike of the main Kabang mineralized zone (800 meters), with three widely spaced sections along the mineralized zone, each with angled holes proposed across the mineralized zone: SW Kabang: Test the highlighted porphyry Cu/Au IP target and epithermal Au. Central Kabang: Test the central Kabang zone (around AMD005 and KAD004) NE Kabang: Test the Matangkaka area (west of the MAD group of holes)

Mining

PNG Business News - March 23, 2021

Barrick Positive About Porgera's Restart

After PNG declined to renew a special mining lease (SML), the mine was shut down about a year ago. Barrick Niugini is appealing both the rejection and PNG's August decision to grant an SML to state-owned Kumul Minerals Holdings. President and CEO Mark Bristow said in Barrick's annual report issued last week that the company had signed an in-principle deal with the government on the re-opening and potential service of Porgera in the fourth quarter. "Teams from both sides continue to work on the details of a mutually acceptable settlement agreement," he said. "This has been a long and difficult negotiation, but I am optimistic that we will reach an agreement and get the mine re-opened this year." The excitement was echoed in Zijin Mining's annual numbers, which were published over the weekend. "Having all relevant parties' interests in mind, the company is striving for renewal of the mining lease of the Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea and resumption of production," Zijin said. Late last year, Bristow flew to PNG for talks with Prime Minister James Marape, who was under pressure to get a better return on the country's capital. Porgera has been removed from Barrick's production forecast of 4.4-4.7 million ounces of gold for the time being. Porgera's share of output in 2019 was 284,000 ounces of gold, at all-in sustaining costs of US$1,003/oz, according to the Canadian miner. Both Barrick and Zijin own 47.5 per cent of Porgera, with the Enga provincial government and landowners holding the remaining 5%. Meanwhile, PNG is dealing with an increase in COVID-19 incidents, prompting Australia to announce a fortnight-long travel ban between the two countries last week. Newcrest Mining, headquartered in Australia, said that no disruption to gold production at its Lihir mine was planned at this time and that it was consulting with the government to better grasp the specifics of the travel ban and to assess and minimize any possible effects. Similarly, K92 Mining, based in Canada, said the ban was unlikely to have a substantial effect on production at its Kainantu operations, though certain non-production-related activities may be affected. K92 CEO John Lewins told Mining Journal's sister publication PNG Report that the company had seen no positive cases across its quarantine scheme for the first nine months, but had discovered 15 in the last four weeks.

Mining

PNG Business News - March 23, 2021

K92 Mining Concerned with Increasing COVID Cases

K92 Mining said that the corporation, as well as the resource sector, is worried about the rise in Covid-19 cases in the nation. According to John Lewins, the company's CEO, it has the potential to have a huge impact on PNG's entire resource industry and, by extension, the rest of the economy. “While the major concern should be the health and wellbeing of all people, the ability of the resource industry to maintain operations is critical to the ability of the Government to combat the pandemic,” he said. “Remember that the resource industry is the major driver for the PNG economy accounting for almost 30 per cent of the GDP (gross domestic product) and over 80 per cent of exports. The sector also provides more than 20,000 jobs to Papua New Guineans, while 30,000 more are employed in landowner businesses, and other PNG businesses that support the industry.” Some of the potential effects are the following: Due to constraints or a lack of aircraft, PNG workers are unable to travel from their homes to the mine sites;  Skilled expatriate workers are unable to travel to PNG. For the next two weeks, Australia has stopped the movement of fly-in-fly-out personnel. If this trend persists, it will be impossible to keep the resource sector running safely without these skilled employees, and all operations will be forced to shut down. Covid-19 infection among skilled PNG workers, causing them to be unable to work for short or long periods of time; Locals are worried about the Covid-19 being brought in by "outsiders," causing unrest. Transportation of supplies and equipment between provinces is restricted; Delays in the release of products and equipment from ports; Impact of the Covid-19 on PNG Powe and all manufacturers and contractors PNG Power, fuel suppliers, trucking firms, and maintenance contractors are all affected by the Covid-19, as are supply chain matters from foreign vendors. “Keeping the resource industry operating is of major importance to PNG as it is the major contributor to the economy and if this is impacted or stops, this will obviously have a massive impact on the PNG economy,” Lewins said. “Imagine the equivalent of another 10 Porgera mines stopping production, tens of thousands of jobs (K92 alone has over 1,000 employees and contractors), hundreds of millions in lost taxes and royalties, loss of business for suppliers, contractors, trucking companies and the like plus impacts on local communities. The potential impact on the economy in turn affects the ability of the Papua New Guinea Government to combat the pandemic.”

Mining

PNG Business News - March 23, 2021

Lewins: Weakening gold price to Impact K92 Operations

According to K92 Mine Inc, the falling worldwide gold price means that mining companies in the country will reduce non-essential spending, which would have an effect on suppliers. John Lewins, the company's CEO, was responding to questions about existing gold prices. He added that the gold price began the year at around US$1,950 per ounce (K6,694.49/oz) and has since declined to around US$1,730 per ounce (K5,939.21/oz). According to him, mines may postpone capital and expansion projects, reducing jobs and production growth. “Any movement in the gold price affects the gold mines in PNG,” Lewins said. “The average ‘all-in sustaining cost’ of production for PNG mines is around US$1,000/oz (K3,433.07/oz) to US$1,100/oz (K3,776.38/oz), so at current prices, all the mines in PNG are still operating with good margins. Lower margins, mean lower profits, less tax to Government, less money spent on exploration and capital and lower royalty payments to communities and Government. The other point to note is that the Australian dollar has strengthened against the US dollar, so the gold price in Australian dollars has dropped even more, from AU$2,700 (K7,177.11) late last year to currently AU$2,100 (K5,582.20). Given that a lot of the costs incurred by PNG gold mines are in Australian dollars, this is probably more important than the US dollar price movement.” According to Lewins, the gold price will remain under pressure for the first half of this year, but will possibly recover in the second half. “Much depends on the performance of the US economy and others, following the shutdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said. The price of gold is expected to fall in 2021 for a variety of reasons: Central banks' physical demand for gold has declined;  Jewellery sales have been underwhelming as the covid-19 pandemic has stifled customer activity; Investors' "lack of interest" in buying gold has also been a source of market stress; Gold has been sold by a number of hedge funds; and The US dollar has strengthened, implying a drop in gold prices; and, growing interest in alternative investments such as Bitcoin. “It should be remembered that the gold price is still at a very high price relative to the average price over the last five years,” Lewins said.

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PNG Business News - March 22, 2021

Miner Promises to Follow the Proper Procedures of Acquiring lease

According to an official, the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture (WGJV) will follow the proper procedures before its application for special mining lease 10 is approved. David Masani, WGJV's principal community engagement advisor, stated this during the company's numerous scheduled meetings with communities that would be impacted by the K18.4 billion gold-copper project. People were using mainstream and social media to speak about the advantages and procedures, according to Masani. “Our province is jumping ahead in the process, talking about benefits, businesses and contracts,” he said. “We are not following due process; the mandated process by the government.” Moses Mambu, a representative of the Mineral Resource Authority, explained that the environmental permit was just one step in a longer phase. “An environment permit does not mean the company can now develop this project,” he said. According to Mambu, the application for SML 10 that was submitted in August 2016 is still with the government and will go through a rigorous process before being granted. A mining development contract will be signed, and a memorandum of agreement (MoA) will be developed through a developmental forum between the national, provincial, and local governments, landowners, and WGJV. “This agreement is yet to eventuate,” he said. “And two key benefits to be discussed under this agreement are royalties and equity. These are only for people living along with the pipeline footprint, SML area or the tailings outfall.” The fiscal stability agreement and the State equity acquisition agreement, according to Mambu, are two other agreements that need to be achieved. “Such things are to be considered before granting the SML,” he said.

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PNG Business News - March 22, 2021

Travel Ban Will Not Affect Lihir Development, According to Newcrest

The Australian Government's ban on incoming and outgoing travel between the neighbouring countries is expected to have no effect on Newcrest Mining's Lihir gold activity in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The Lihir operation is undergoing a scheduled maintenance shutdown and is steadily resuming operations. Newcrest stated that it was working closely with the Australian Government to prevent any possible impacts from the ban. “There is currently no anticipated interruption to gold production arising as a result of the travel suspension,” Newcrest stated. A "tiny number of COVID-19 cases" has been recorded among the gold miner's PNG employees, who are being monitored and assisted by medical personnel in quarantine. “Strict hygiene, social distancing and other COVID-19 management protocols remain in place at Lihir with comprehensive testing, quarantine and precautionary contact tracing procedures enforced,” Newcrest stated. “Lihir has a dedicated isolation camp and separate isolation and treatment facility where care and support can be provided.” From the 2023 financial year onwards, Newcrest hopes to place Lihir as a one-million-ounce-per-annum gold producer. As COVID-19 cases in PNG rise, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison suspended fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) staff from flying in and out of the country as part of a broader travel ban. Australia has banned all outbound travel exemptions to Papua New Guinea, according to Morrison. “This will include no general FIFO work. If you’re there, you stay. If you’re here, you stay,” he said. “We cannot risk people going into those areas and back to Australia.” Prior to the ban, Ok Tedi Mining, a Papua New Guinea miner, imposed a two-week suspension on its international charter flights last week after its staff tested positive for COVID-19 during hotel quarantine in Cairns. After completing the quarantine time, Ok Tedi's quarantined employees were released. 

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PNG Business News - March 19, 2021

Ok Tedi Halts Operations in Order to Contain the Spread of Covid-19

COVID-19 has forced Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) to pause operations in order to protect its employees, communities, and operations. Due to a recent increase in COVID-19 cases at the mine site and in Papua New Guinea, OTML will temporarily pause operations on Friday, March 19th for 14 days to prevent further virus transmission within its operations. This suspension, according to OTML, coincides with the PNG government's National Isolation Strategy, which will go into effect on Monday, March 22nd. The success of the control steps, as well as when the virus has been contained, will decide when regular operations will resume. The decision to halt operations reflects OTML's commitment to take all reasonable steps to ensure the protection, health, and well-being of its staff, families, contractors, and host communities, as well as to allow a stable, cost-effective, and timely resumption of operations for the benefit of all stakeholders. During the suspension, the organization will take steps such as repatriating non-essential workers to their home provinces and introducing a mass testing program for its staff. Any staff may be forced to work regular hours during the suspension of operations in order to maintain essential services or for treatment and maintenance. The suspension is expected to result in a revenue loss of about PGK210 million, which will have a direct effect on foreign currency inflows into PNG. Meanwhile, the Company is weighing its options in light of the Australian government's decision to temporarily halt the fly-in and fly-out of mineworkers based in Australia. It said, “We do not anticipate significant disruption to our operations as a result of the Australian  Government’s announcement, however, we are looking at alternative ways to repatriate  several of our expatriate employees during the suspension of operations.”   After COVID-19 cases were discovered in Queensland from international travellers in hotel quarantine, the company declared that it was suspending international charter flights into Australia. OTML hires over 1,800 people directly, with less than 4% of them being expatriates. OTML also confirmed that it would collaborate with the PNG government to help with vaccine procurement and distribution for OTML employees.

Mining

PNG Business News - March 19, 2021

NRI: Bougainville has Vast Mineral Potential

According to the National Research Institute, given Bougainville's position within the Pacific Rim of Fire, the possibilities for mining various minerals, especially gold and copper, are vast (NRI). Following the collapse of the Panguna mine, NRI noted in a recent report on Bougainville that regaining foreign investor trust in mining in Bougainville was proving difficult. “Even more difficult is the effective management of the revenues from the sale of public resources such as minerals, forestry and fishing, which has long been a challenging problem for developing countries,” the report highlighted. “The primary management problem has been with the effective expenditure of resource revenues. Therefore, a major issue for discussion in Bougainville should be on whether institutional arrangements can be devised that will ensure that the resource revenues collected by the ABG – from, say, fishing, forestry or mining – will be put to good use in developing the economy.” It continued, “We have argued for a management system where a share of mineral rents are directly paid to the public in the form of compensation for the sale of their asset. This has several advantages, including the fact that such transfers will bind the public across space and generations, concentrate attention on the returns from publicly owned assets, and create economic spillovers in the form of increased output and revenues for the budget. The model used in Alaska to manage the collection and distribution of its oil and gas revenues seems to be very worthy of consideration by Bougainville. This regime establishes a political constituency with an interest in protecting the revenues from corruption, waste, and so forth. If Bougainville is to adopt a policy of this kind, the nature of politics dictates that it should be done as soon as possible. Otherwise, if an alternative policy is adopted, it will be impossible to dismantle later as it will have formed its own constituency by then.”

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PNG Business News - March 11, 2021

Chances of Panguna Mine Re-Opening Improving

The head of one of the Bougainville landowner groups impacted by the Panguna mine says it is up to the landowners to decide whether or not to reopen the mine. The Panguna Mine was at the heart of the ten-year Bougainville civil war, and it was forced to close in 1989 when it was PNG's largest export earner. But, thanks to Panguna Development Company Ltd, which has brought together almost all of the landowner parties, there is renewed talk of reopening the closed mine. An agreement has been reached to help Bougainville Copper Ltd, a former miner, in its search for an exploration license, and to offer landowners shares in the venture. There has also been widespread opposition to resuming mining at Panguna, but Therese Jaintong, chair of the Siokate landowners' party, said it is up to them to decide. "The landowners are empowered by the Bougainville Mining Act. So whatever they say they have the power with the government - all of us talking together. We are coming close to finding some good solutions," she said. According to Jaintong, they decided to put together all interested parties to discuss the mine's future. "We are very genuine that what we want to see is BCL and Rio Tinto and the National Government and the ABG to sit together with us landowners, mine-affected, and we come with some plans to find a solution to this," she said. "There's no use fighting over it and then bringing new issues, new structures, new people - so we are very genuine together." SMLOLA, which had previously backed another developer, is the only mine-affected landowner party that has declined to sign the resolution. Jeff Clason, an organizer with Panguna Development Company Ltd, said that reopening the contentious mine was still the best way for the area to develop a viable economy. He said there was support for reopening, particularly because Bougainville's other options are limited. "In this age and what we are going through, we already voted 98 per cent for independence and if they can come up with another strategy to make Bougainville we'd listen to them," he said. "But they haven't come up with anything mate. As you the bottom line is every country needs money."

Mining

PNG Business News - March 11, 2021

K92 Mining Has a K50M Budget for Exploration in 2021

In 2021, K92 Mining will invest K50 million in exploration. Exploration dollars are critical, according to John Lewins, chief executive officer and director of K92 Mine, because they extend the project if good prospects are discovered. The mine was re-commissioned in 2017 and announced commercial production at the start of 2018, according to Lewins. So, it's been running as a commercial profitable mine for three years and has turned a profit. “What’s important for Papua New Guinea is that the recognition of the potential that we got here in PNG,” he said. “And that, I think it’s been forgotten to a certain extent over the last few years and we have seen exploration expenditure dropping over several years.” Lewins also said that they would like to see that start up again because there will be no more mines unless there are more explorations .“So exploration dollars are important,” he said. “This year, 25 per cent of all exploration dollars come from our company. I believe, we are the single largest company in terms of our expenditure in exploration and that’s our commitment.” When the company's explorations linked the kora North deposit to its main ore body, it reached pay dirt and turned around its fortunes. He said, “Its only Kora North but we are busy looking for a number of other deposits and we are not focusing just on Kora and the mine. But we got over 700 square kilometres of ground to run and our budget is K50m on explorations. We are spending a lot of money on exploration and that’s the profit that we made or money that we made is put back to look into it or production in Papua New Guinea”.

Mining

PNG Business News - March 11, 2021

PNG Technical Team Will Work on Assessment on the Wafi-Golpu Mining Project

By the end of the month, a technical team from the Papua New Guinea technical (PNG) Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) will soon be tabling an assessment on the details regarding the construction of the Wafi-Golpu Mining project to the mining advisory council (MAC) According to MRA managing director Jerry Garry, “Permitting of a special mining lease for large projects will require a different pathway than permitting a medium scale to small scale mine under the mining lease,” he said. “For a special mining lease, requires three distinct pathways for permitting. One, environmental permitting is a mandatory requirement and is done independently through the environment act under the custody of the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (Cepa). That process has been done and Cepa has issued the environmental permit for the Wafi-Golpu project. “The other is technical, from the mining perspective,” he said.  “That includes looking at structures to be built on the ground, the roads the buildings, the processing plants. Because it will be an underground operation, we will also look at designs to critically ensure that the integrity of the structures and any development met the expected standards. Once that is done and we are satisfied, we will give the green light for them to go and construct. During construction, we also provide that oversight to ensure that it is done safely. We have looked at all the proposals. Our technical team is about to table the technical assessment to MAC for the council to deliberate on. We anticipate that process to conclude by at least the end of March.” Garry added that if it goes to the MAC and the council was okay with it, then the council would deliberate on the application. The third stream was the mining development contract, he said.  “It’s between the State and developer to go by the books in terms of the benefits and any fiscal stability that they want,” he said. “When that is locked in, then we have a lower level called a development forum which will then involve MRA and State team to negotiate with the provincial government, LLGs and landowners in terms of benefits.”

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