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PNG Business News - February 18, 2021

Saonu: There Must Be Mutual Understanding Among Stakeholders Regarding Wafi-Golpu Project

Following a public forum in Lae last week, regarding the Wafi-Golpu project, Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu said that there must be a mutual understanding between all stakeholders - which includes provincial and national governments, and landowners and mine developers. He added that many people in Morobe allows the start of the multi-million Kina, except for the waste method proposed (DSTP) by the developer, and for other alternatives to be sourced. “As a famous American quote, the government of the people, for the people and by the people…and this concept must be applied in every government (democratic). The rules and laws must be followed if rules are followed then for who. If the system is to help the people and if it does not work then the people will make noise and we have to fix it,” Saonu said. “The public has raised concerns, we have conducted several consultative meeting here and Port Moresby,” he said.He said that all parties should come together for closure, but this has not been eventuated. “Since the issue of DSTP, the developer has not responded to the Morobe provincial government, they must sit and discuss their position,” he said.He added that it is important for the people concerned to be respected.

Mining

PNG Business News - February 18, 2021

Mori: Deep-Sea Tailings Placement is the Best Method for Wafi-Golpu Project

The government hasn’t breached any laws in granting the environmental permit for the Wafi-Golpu project in Morobe.This was according to Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Minister Wera Mori, who added that the deep-sea tailings placement (DSTP) was the best way for tailings disposal for the project. “We have not breached any laws in granting the permit,” he said. “Mining is all about science. There was a paramount mining safety practice considered before the permit was granted. A huge amount of mine waste can’t be stored in a tailings dam. It’s a time bomb itself. Basamuk, Simberi and Lihir all use DSTP. The incident at Basamuk was a result of a systems failure, it was not related to DSTP.”This was in response to the Morobe government who wanted the government to withdraw the environment permit and wanted an alternative for the project. Governor Ginson Saonu said that if all else fails, they will bring this issue to court. “The future of Morobe is in Wafi-Golpu so the State must do the right thing,” he said. “There must be proper people-leader interaction for meaningful participation between resource owners, the Government and all interested parties.”

Mining

PNG Business News - February 17, 2021

Mineral Resources Authority Plans to Decentralise

The Mineral Resource Authority plans to decentralise as well as establish an office set up in Kainatu, as mentioned by Kainantu MP and Mining Minister Johnson Tuke during the visit of Prime Minister James Marape to Kainantu. “In my capacity as the Mining Minister I have been working closely with the Prime Minister and we will see that some government offices are brought to the districts and provinces,” he said. “The Prime Minister has given his approval and the National Executive Council decision has been made already. What needs to be done is some final touches so that the MRA office will be set up in Kainantu so the work MRA does will be divided.”Mineral Resources Authority managing director Jerry Garry confirmed that the plan is to decentralise specific functions to regional centres - such as small-scale mining, development coordination and safety branch, and geological survey. Garry said subject to availability of funds, MRA may also build a small scale mining school and may hold stage outreach training programs. “The geological survey branch will undertake geological mapping, assessment of minerals and underground water resources. The team will also assist DDAs and provincial government,” he said.“Development coordination branch will be responsible to attend to landowner issues, fulfilling MoA commitments and ensuring any issues relating to mining and exploration projects are dealt with. The plan is to build an office, classrooms and accommodation for about 15 employees. The ideal site would be at Yonki, by the dam.”Meanwhile, apart from announcing the likely decentralisation of MRA to Kainantu, Tuke also appealed to the Prime Minister to make sure the Ramu 2 hydro project kicks off.“Prime Minister, we have already given the country the Ramu 1 hydro project and we do not want any politics, please give us the Ramu 2 hydro project too,” Tuke added.

Mining

PNG Business News - February 17, 2021

Newcrest Posts A Profit of K1.8billion for Half-Year Results

For its half-year financial results, Newcrest Mining has brought a profit of K1.8billion (US$533m).In the company’s market report, managing director and chief executive officer Sandeep Biswas said that the company has delivered a record free cash flow, lifted its dividend and looks at opportunities to unlock significant value at Lihir.“In 2018 we set ourselves some ambitious targets to Forge a Stronger Newcrest,” he said. “Our progress and achievements over the past three years have put us in a very strong position to not just weather the global uncertainty associated with Covid-19, but to keep our eyes firmly on our future growth agenda.”With the plan forging an even stronger Newcrest, which details its aspirations and measures for the next five years in line with a new company purpose, the firm has created a brighter future for its stakeholders through responsible and safe mining.“This year we lived that purpose through our success in managing the Covid-19 risk to our workforce and local communities through the compensation, relocation and benefits sharing agreements we signed with the landowners at Lihir, through our renewable energy agreement that will help significantly reduce our carbon footprint; and in our progress in developing new mines at Havieron and Red Chris,” he said. “The strong financial results for the half-year show how much the increase in the gold price has translated into improved profitability, record half-year free cash flow and an increase in returns to shareholders in the form of a fully franked interim dividend of US$ 15 cents per share, 100 per cent higher than last year. This year we have leveraged our technical capabilities to establish a pathway to unlock significant value from Lihir."

Mining

PNG Business News - February 09, 2021

Ramu NiCo: Production Efficiency is the Top Priority

For the nickel-cobalt mining project in Madang Province, production efficiency is still the number one priority. According to Ramu NiCo company president, Gao Yongxue, the employees of the mining project should take advantage of the scale-cost given that the world markets are going into recession. He has outlined the key project areas in 2021 - which includes improving productivity and stability, optimising team construction, reducing costs and increasing efficiency. He said that the firm needs to cope up with these new challenges. “We need to re-study the epidemic situation of PNG, redeploy the mission of “zero import and zero infection”, reinforce the prevention measures, comfort the employee’s emotion and extend our regards and care to all employees’ families,” he said. “Let us make full effort to build on the momentum, adhere to the route of high-quality development, cope with the crisis in a concerted effort and endeavour to achieve better production and operational performance through our hard work, and strive for the all-round realisation of annual targets and tasks,” Mr Gao said.Meanwhile, he announced that the firm has received “103.3 per cent above” the design capacity – for four straight years and in spite of the pandemic. “In 2020, we prioritised a number of aspects of work while centering on the production operation plan set early in the year,” Gao said. “Over the year, the project’s rated indexes were well controlled and the various process indexes were favourable with regard to the requirements in the plan set early in the year.”

Mining

PNG Business News - February 04, 2021

Barker: Porgera Mine First Before Wafi-Golpu

Although an economist has embraced the progress of the Wafi-Golpu project, Paul Barker said that they should focus more on the reopening of the Porgera mine quickly since the former takes time. “With Wafi-Golpu, we still have much further to go,” he said. “(Reaching) an immediate and practical agreement between the Government, Barrick and partners over equity and recommencement will have a more immediate restorative effect. It will enable contractors and employees to be rehired and work, production, exports and revenue to start flowing again in the relatively short future.”Barker said this in response to Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Minister Wera on the granting of the environmental permit for this project. He said, “The environment plan, which clearly won’t please everyone, although the experts say that the deep-sea tailings) option would post the least impact and risks, in comparison with a tailings dam in a very technically unstable area. There is still a lot of work to be done leading to a special mining lease and subsequent requirements, apart from the financing of such a major venture in a difficult global capital market, especially for developing countries (especially those with some track record of uncertainty in the field of mining).”

Mining

PNG Business News - February 04, 2021

Ok Tedi Mining Resumes Operations

Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) has announced that it has returned to normal production after the second of the two processing circuits which were damaged in a fire incident on the 20th of December 2020 was restored recently. OTML Managing Director and CEO, Musje Werror expressed his appreciation to the team who worked for almost 6 weeks. “The commitment shown by our workforce, particularly over the festive season, was a testament to the One Team Wan Pasin spirit at Ok Tedi,” he said. He added, “Returning the first of the two circuits to the operation was a key milestone as it allowed the Company to recommence production and meet our January shipments. Damage sustained to the SAG-1 was however more severe and required two new switching equipment. The new equipment, which was flown to site on a specially chartered Hercules C130 aircraft last week, was successfully installed over the weekend.”Werror added that the cost of the fire was US$100 million, that a strong balance sheet is needed for protection against these unfateful events. “We have demonstrated previously that the Company is able to remain profitable and healthy despite such challenges, and we expect to do so again in 2021,” he said,

Mining

PNG Business News - February 03, 2021

Government to Spend K9 Million on Sinivit Mine Clean-Up

The government of Papua New Guinea will spend K9 million to clean the toxic remains left by developer Niugini Gold Ltd. at the Sinivit mine in East New Britain. According to Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Minister Wera Mori, the firm left in 2014 without informing the government, claiming that the latter failed to renew its license. Mori said he would be making a submission to Cabinet for funding to carry out the clean-up.“The mine was closed in 2014,” he said. “They abruptly left the camp and all the infrastructure, leaching facilities, the cyanide, dynamites and explosives. These are very dangerous and must be disposed of. We need to clean the place up. When the company left, they did not lodge a plan with the Mineral Resources Authority to put the camp under care and maintenance. As a result, we now have serious environmental issues. We need a reputable company to detoxify the cyanide, including those kept in the vat ponds and remove them.”Mori said that the clean-up might take less than three months. There are around 50,000 people living close to the site.

Mining

PNG Business News - February 03, 2021

Toroama Emphasises Stance on Panguna Reopening

After a landowner group has said that the Autonomous Bougainville Government has partnered with Caballus Mining, a firm based in Perth, to re-open Panguna Mina, its president, Ishmael Toroama has announced that the government is not colluding with any landowner groups or mining firms. “The idea of Caballus operating a mine on Bougainville has long been shelved after their failed attempt to co-sponsor the mining amendments with the former Momis-led ABG,” said Toroama. “Let me make it clear that the current ABG under my Presidency is not colluding with Caballus, RTZ, Bougainville Copper Limited or any landowner group. Statements by companies or landowner groups with a vested interest in Panguna, who claim to be working with the current ABG, are false. We are not backing any company or any landowner group to reopen the mine. My government is committed to protecting landowner rights from undue influence by persons wishing to solicit favours from the Autonomous Bougainville Government in an attempt to reopen the mine.”He added, “Any company wishing to develop Bougainville’s mineral resources, be it Panguna or the exploration of a greenfield site, must come through the proper channels. Bougainville has a mining act that governs the exploitation of our mineral resources, any parties wishing to be involved in the mining industry on Bougainville must comply with the laws of the land. As it stands, there is a moratorium in place over Panguna as well as the surrounding areas around the proximity of the mine. The Panguna Mine remains a very sensitive issue on Bougainville and parties wishing to reopen it must maintain a sense of decorum that respects the land, the landowners and the ABG.”“We cannot continue to make unfounded claims that are based on promises from the previous regime and its band of leaders and public servants who sought to manipulate the people of Bougainville and wantonly exploit its resources,” he said, “I urge leaders from the past government as well as the current ABG to refrain from making unsubstantiated claims over the future of the mine at this time. Let us be frank in our dealings and be considerate of the welfare of all our people on Bougainville. It is high time we stopped using our independence aspirations as a bargaining chip to further our personal agenda.”

Mining

PNG Business News - February 03, 2021

Mori: No Decision Has Yet To Be Made On The Frieda River Project

A decision on the environmental permit for the Frieda River copper and gold project in West Sepik is yet to be made.Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Minister Wera Mori said that the granting of the permit is not yet finished. “Frieda River is an ongoing project – meaning that PanAust, which has got the licence, is still conducting exploration,” he said.He added that before submitting their plan and their proposal to the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority and Mineral Resources Authority, they still need to work on the ore body and the style and type of mineralisation. “In the mining development plan they will submit, they will note the nature and style, the volume, and the mining rate (how much, in tonnes they are going to mine a year), together with the commercial mineral. From there, discussions will follow,” he said. “At the moment, I have not issued any permit to anyone yet.”Mori added that they also need to consider inputs from the West and East Sepik governments.“The people through their provincial governments will go through the process of discussions,” he said. “Meaningful discussions must take place between the people of East and West Sepik, whether they want the mine or not. That is something for them to decide with their provincial leaders. And then, we will talk to them. We can’t do anything now. All those processes are to be completed before an environment permit is granted. There are no submissions yet, not that I know of.”

Mining

PNG Business News - February 01, 2021

PNG Sees K18 Billion Investment With The Start of Wafi-Golpu

With the construction of the Wafi-Golpu copper and gold project in Morobe about to start because of its environmental permit, Papua New Guinea hopes to see a windfall of over K18 billion investment in its economy. Constructed by developers Harmony Gold Mining Company, this project is expected to cost at K17.26 million.“At this time when our economy is contracting, it is important that we must bring in a major project to (be a catalyst to) reviving the economy,” said Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Minister Wera Mori. “And there is no better project than Wafi-Golpu which on record is one of the biggest undeveloped copper and gold deposits in the world.”Mori announced that the project will use the deep-sea tailings placement (DSTP) as its waste disposal measure.In order for the economy to recover, Mori said that this project should start.“By law, the managing director of the Cepa (Gunther Joku), is required to grant the permit (after being satisfied that) all statutory processes involved in the granting of such permits are in place,” Mori said. “That includes the environmental impact studies to be conducted and specific environment statements to be made.”Mori added, “It was as late as last year that as the minister responsible for Cepa, I gave approval in principal for the permit to be granted so that it will start the process of moving towards a mine development contract for the Wafi-Golpu joint ventures,” he said. “Upon the granting of a special mining lease, which forms part of the permitting processes of which we are now commencing with the environment permit, it will see an injection of close to US$5billion (K17.26bil) into the economy over five years for the construction of infrastructure.”The next stage is to have discussions with the developers of the project and the granting of a mine development contract. “The Morobe government and the people of Morobe will be represented through their elected leaders, to ensure that they gain maximum benefits from the spin-offs that are going to be generated,” he said. “The (granting of the permit) is a fulfilment of the requirements to take this project forward. The mining lease cannot be granted without the environmental permit. Having satisfied all the statutory requirements for the granting of such, the managing director of the Cepa Gunther Joku.”However, Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu didn't receive the news too well.

Mining

PNG Business News - January 22, 2021

Mining Minister Says License for Wafi-Golpu Mining Project to be Given in July or August

According to Mining Minister Johnson Tuke, the Wafi-Golpu mining project is set to be licensed by end of July or August this year, adding that this project will take off by 2nd quarter of 2021. He noted that there is already a framework agreement and there is no best time for the license to be granted than that of July or August of this year. “I am very sure, adamant and optimistic that they will get the licence this year,” he said. “The environment permit has been granted and that supersedes all the agreements, but in the course of the activity, then we can be able to piggyback on what the government has issued and we can be able to mitigate through.”Mr Tuke said that this project will still go on and that they have already been through all discussions with relevant parties. “Now we are set to fast-track and move forward in the production of the license for Wafi,” he said. “All due diligence has been done, proponents are very happy and we are very happy, we are set to go…the environmental permit has been given so perhaps my sealing time is as I am not looking for more than August. At the end of July and August, I should grant the license and I am stubborn hearted to deliver that. I am perfectly sure that for Wafi I will deliver the license by the first week of August or last week of July.”For Porgera, he said, that the issue is still before the courts but they are working on a clause in the development contract.

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Mining

PNG Business News - January 21, 2021

OTML Expects a Profit of K700.40mil for 2020

In spite of the challenges in 2020, OK Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML) said it predicts a profit of US$200 million (K700.40mil) for 2020. This is an unaudited number, and the firm hopes to release the full-year report for 2020 later this year. “OTML expects a profit after tax of more than US$200 million (unaudited) for 2020 despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the impact of the fire late last December of 2020,” the company said. “As of last Wednesday, ore processing has commenced at one of the two processing circuits (SAG-1) which was impacted by the fire incident after significant remedial work was completed. The other processing circuit (SAG-1), which sustained severe damages as a result of the fire incident is expected to be operational by late January.”The firm also added that a committed team worked during the holidays breaks last year for much-needed repairs to make the processing circuit operational. This was in total almost 10,000 man-hours. “An investigation report into the cause of the fire incident and the recommended actions to prevent a recurrence was submitted to the chief inspector of mines who has given us the approval to re-commence operation after careful deliberation and assessment of the report,” it said.

Mining

PNG Business News - January 21, 2021

K92 Mining Provides 2021 Operational Outlook

K92 Mining expects another significant, year-over-year, increase in gold equivalent production of 16-36% to 115,000 to 135,000 ounces, while also delivering low-cost production, with an estimated cash cost of $515-$565 per ounce gold and all-in sustaining cost of $825-$875 per ounce gold. Additionally, the Company plans to ramp-up exploration activities and invest in future production growth.On exploration, 2021 is forecasted to have a significant increase in both near-mine and regional activities with a forecasted expenditure of $14-17 million. Over the course of 2020, the drill fleet doubled to ten rigs and an eleventh drill rig is expected to arrive imminently. Exploration plans are to target the Judd, Karempe, Kora and Kora South vein systems, and the Blue Lake porphyry in addition to continuing generative surface exploration.Growth capital is forecasted to be between $25-30 million, which includes the ongoing twin incline development. The twin incline is designed for a throughput capacity of up to 2 million tonnes per annum, or 3 million tonnes per annum with conveyors.John Lewins, K92 Chief Executive Officer and Director, stated “2020 was certainly a very strong year for K92, with year-over-year production growth of 20%; significant exploration progress on multiple vein systems; increases of +180% and +50% in Kora’s M&I and inferred resource estimates, respectively, and; completion of our Stage 3 Expansion PEA outlining Tier 1 Asset potential of +318,000 oz AuEq run-rate. In addition, the quality and importance of Kora has been recognized, with K92 being awarded the prestigious Thayer Lindsley Award for Best Global Discovery from the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) for Kora North. Importantly, all of these milestones were achieved during the COVID-19 pandemic and were made possible due to the extraordinary commitment of our workforce, exceptional resource at Kora and also the support of Government in Papua New Guinea on all levels.""While we expect the COVID-19 environment to persist through the majority of 2021, we believe 2021 has the potential to continue the growth of our Company as we further expand production at Kainantu, significantly ramp-up exploration on multiple vein and porphyry targets, and complete our next resource update and Stage 3 Definitive Feasibility Study in the second half of 2020. We believe the future for Kainantu and K92 looks very exciting.”

Mining

PNG Business News - January 18, 2021

K92 Mining Posts Record Production

The production of K92 Mining for the last quarter of 2020 at its Kainantu gold mine in Papua New Guinea were as follows: 29,820 oz AuEq or 28,809 ounces of gold, 493,584 pounds of copper and 10,395 ounces of silver.The firm has also said that it represented a year-over-year production growth of 20% - with the record of 98,872 oz AuEq or 95,109 oz gold, 36,067 oz silver, 1,853,078 lbs copper. “We are especially pleased with the performance of the Kainantu gold mine during the fourth quarter, achieving record production. Importantly, the quarter was underpinned by record mill throughput, mine material movements and mine development,” CEO and Director John Lewins said. He added, “2020 represents our third consecutive year of production growth and 2021 promises to continue that record with our first full year of the Stage 2 Expansion. Exploration activities have ramped up considerably, ending 2020 with 10 drill rigs on-site and an eleventh rig expected to arrive shortly. The drill rigs are targeting the Judd, Karempe, Kora and Kora South vein systems, and the Blue Lake porphyry.”

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