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PNG Business News - November 17, 2020

Gold Mountain Raises $2 Million

Entities linked with company advisor Matt Liddy have given Gold Mountain (GMN) $2 million for its flagship Wabag project in Papua New Guinea.Overall, the stakeholders have bought over 36 million Gold Mountain shares at 5.5 cents per share. Gold Mountain, on the other hand, is set to issue over 2.5 million shares to satisfy placement fees payable to the investors.When it comes to their agreement, if the share price of Gold Mountain falls below a 10-day volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of 5.5 cents per share in 6 and 24 months, investors can request for additional shares to adjust for the lower cost. Gold Mountain has porphyry copper-gold-molybdenum deposits in Papua New Guinea along the Papuan Mobile Belt. Its flagship Wabag Project includes the Sak Creek, Monoyal, and Mt. Wipi. Recently, the firm has begun its next phase drilling at the Monoyal copper-gold porphyry target within the Wabag project. Due to the pandemic, Wabag was on hold for 6 months and drilling continued earlier this month. Gold Mountain last traded for 4.4 cents per share.

Mining

PNG Business News - November 13, 2020

Barrick CEO Meets With Landowners

To discuss the reopening of the Porgera Mine, the Porgera Landowners Association (PLOA) Negotiating Committee met with Barrick Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow and Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Affairs of Asia Pacific, Woo Lee in Port Moresby.While the Barrick team has been in Port Moresby for a month already, the PLOA Negotiating Committee is on the ground to discuss with Special Mining Lease (SML) clan leaders and their alternates, the significance of having direct control over royalties and benefits generated by the mine in the last 20 years. According to Landowner chairman Maso Mangape, mechanisms such as the Minerals Resources Development Corporation ( MRDC) and its subsidiaries, including Mineral Resources Enga (MRE) have long failed the resource landowners of PNG."These organizations have been mismanaged by a few and benefits intended for landowners, including the people of Porgera have failed to trickle down to the people,” he said. "In the interest of transparency and a more direct flow of benefits to households, we are proposing a different model, with a professionally managed entity established to transparently manage our benefits and royalties. Our people want the immediate and transparent flow of dividends into their bank accounts, not trapped by intermediaries and third parties. So far billions of Kina in gold sales revenue has been received by MRE and only a fraction has reached our people at the household level with no reports and transparency provided to landowners.”Mangape added, “We now have the opportunity to make things right for our people over the next twenty years, and these signatures show that 7200 SML landowners want a change so that benefits flow directly to households. There is overwhelming support amongst genuine SML landowners for our proposal for a new vehicle. We have come to Port Moresby to meet with Mr Bristow, but many more are still gathering back in Porgera to put their support behind our proposal.”Earlier this year, the negotiating committee coordinated with Barrick for landowner deals, a partnership based on certainty and trust. Mangape and Deputy chairman Dickson Pundi gave Mr Bristow a copy of the individually signed mandate of over 7200 Special Mining Lease ( SML) Landowners, which will be presented to the provincial government and the state. "Every mine operator requires a social license to operate. Over seventy per cent of SML landowners have already put their names to paper to resoundingly say they want a different deal,” he said. "Many more are gathering to sign in Porgera because they want a better deal that benefits them directly, cutting out the proverbial “middle-men”.

Mining

PNG Business News - November 12, 2020

West Sepik Rejects PanAust Proposal

The government of West Sepik has rejected the proposal of PanAust, the developer of the US$7 billion (K24.4bil) Frieda River project, to construct a tailings dam at the headwaters of the Sepik River, administrator Conrad Tilau says. This, in spite of the fact that the project is expected to create many jobs.Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) managing director Jerry Garry said that the government was still waiting for the proposal of PanAust for this project. He also remarked that a dam was not an option. “We have rejected the developer’s environment plan and so they have to opt for another tailings disposal proposal such as deep-sea tailings placement (DSTP),” Tilau said. “We discovered that the developer’s environment report is not environment-friendly and the mine when in operation, will greatly affect the people and the environment.”Tilau said that the developer gave them their environmental report actively seeking their support to push through with the construction of the mine.“We engaged an environmental and mining consultant to review the developer’s report and our consultant discovered that there was no proper report about the geophysical layout of the area to determine if it was an earthquake zone,” he said. “There is no relocation plan and who would fund the relocation of villages to be affected by the mine? There was no proper data collection as some data was not accurate so there were no substances to convince us in the report that the environment will not be affected. The developer’s report was more like a cut and paste research.”Tilau also added that the provincial government would not give their report for declining the environment plan of the developer to the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority.“The developer wants their wharf to be at Vanimo but we want their wharf to be at Sera in Aitape because Vanimo will be an industrial and tourism park,” he said. “But the developer refused to listen to us because they still want to put their export facilities in Vanimo town.”

Mining

PNG Business News - November 11, 2020

Simberi Gold Mine to Consider Sulphide Ores

St. Barbara's Simberi gold mine in New Ireland are going back to mine material that was previously not economically feasible due to the current price of gold This was revealed by general manager Jason Robertson, who added that the mine was presently investigating a transition from the processing of oxide ore to sulphide ore, where sulphide ore previously encountered problems which would require a new mining process and plant. Robertson added that the concern lied with the changes to the Mining Act that might introduce additional expenses and costs, such as an increase in cost in the process of sulphide ore. He said that in the case of St. Barbara, the concern was the suggested introduction of a mine waste levy. “We have worked to make our current waste disposal process completely environmentally friendly,” he said. “But if too many additional costs are introduced then we would have to finish mining the remaining oxide ore and then shut the mine down. St Barbara is currently investing US$150 million (K511mil) in PNG and they need to have some assurance their project will be able to survive.”Meanwhile, New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan had a strong view of the changes in the Mining Act, adding that all he wanted was for the community to have a better life after the mine. “Now is the time to have this discussion because we do not want to experience another Porgera situation in New Ireland,” Sir Julius said, adding the conversation between the New Ireland government and St. Barbara should begin now. “The New Ireland government has repeatedly proposed that ownership be returned to the people,” he said. “Mining companies must make a reasonable return comparable to international profit margins.”

Mining

PNG Business News - November 10, 2020

Kingston Resources Submits EIR

Kingston Resources just passed to the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority an environment inception report (EIR) in connection with the Misma gold project in Milne Bay, marking the beginning of the environment permitting process of the project. “We are very excited to be taking the first steps down the environment approvals pathway for our Misima gold project,” Kingston managing director Andrew Corbett said. “Our initial engagement with the PNG’s Conservation and Protection Authority has been very constructive, with the quality of the work we have presented benefitting from the operating history of the site and extensive data available to the company.”With the PNG Environment Act 2000, developers should submit an EIR for the project, outlining the scope of investigations. Kingston will formally present the EIR to the Conservation and Protection Authority of PNG for feedback and finalise the scope of the EIS.Last month, Kingston continued drilling in Misima after the lifting of the COVID restrictions. The company is also finishing a pre-feasibility study.Corbett said: “We are delighted to have our team at Misima back on the ground with the drill rigs turning again, working towards our goal of bringing the Misima gold project back into production.”

Mining

PNG Business News - November 10, 2020

Mayur Resources Limited Finishes Test Work

Mayur Resources Limited has finished independent test work, confirming the production of quality quicklime at it's Central Cement and Lime (CCL) project.Managing director Paul Mulder said that the ability of Mayur to come out with low impurity and high-grade quicklime supported the market appeal of the project. “The Central Cement and Lime Project not only has the potential to meet 100 per cent of PNG’s quicklime requirements but also provides direct access to Australian and other South Pacific export markets for use in various applications and sectors including the key end-user markets of gold, nickel and alumina processing,” Mulder said.A couple of months ago, the government awarded Mayur a 20-year mining lease for the project.In its annual report, the company said that it is raising US$350 million (K1.23 billion) to finance its projects and that the structural shifts in the lime industry of Australia give an important export market opportunity. The grant served as the final statutory approval required to start the construction of the facility. Mayur chairman Rob Neale said that the mining lease grant was one of the milestones of the company since 2017.

Mining

PNG Business News - November 10, 2020

Reopening of Porgera Mine Put On Hold

Because local landowners are claiming billions of kina in compensation amidst talks with Kumul Mineral Holdings Limited (KMHL), Barrick Niugini Limited (BNL), and the state, the world-class Porgera mine in Enga Province may not reopen yet. According to Prime Minister James Marape and Minister for Mining Johnson Tuke, the mine may reopen in due time. Earlier this year, the Tuanda Incorporated Land Group (ILG) filed a K8 billion lawsuit against BNL and the State on claims of human rights violation, environmental damages, and legacy issues at the Waigani Human Rights Courts. Tuanda ILG chairman Sol Taro is set to fight for the compensation.Some of the occurrence regarding this matter that happened recently included the claim of the Justice Foundation for Porgera Limited against BNL for US$13.28 billion, and the Lower Porgera Landowners demanding the settlement of K3.8 billion on environment legacy issues from BNL before the re-opening of the mine. In addition, the Porgera River Alluvial Miners Association also lodged a claim against BNL for K3,813,173,889 for the environmental damage and the Pogera River socio-economic impact for the past 30-years.“The fact that our people have no compensation agreement with BNL to confirm our case, this is the time we make our stand to inform the State and the Porgera mine developer to compensate the people before the mine re-opens,” Mr Papo said.He said that if the developer and the state don’t meet the demands, the construction of a tailings dam should be implemented, as well as ensuring the safety of the people and the environment. In spite of all of these claims, the BNL and the State through the Conservation Environment Protection Authority and Mineral Resource Authority state that there were no legacy issues. Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Wera Mori recently said that both past and previous mine developers operated under the environmental permit. He said that the socio-economic and massive environmental impacts had legal issues but they were operating under the law and that there was nothing to comply with.

Mining

PNG Business News - November 06, 2020

Crusher to be Commissioned This Month

Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) Managing director and chief executive officer Musje Werror has revealed that this month, it will commission its new K800 million crusher. “The old crusher will be decommissioned and removed by the end of the year to allow access to high-grade ore on the East Wall, which will come into production in 2023,” Werror said.Werror said that this was identified as a strategic imperative by OTML’s strategic planning committee in 2016, and led to the net value of the mines - which are increasing from US$1.9 billion (K6.72bil) in 2015 to US$3.3 billion (K11.66bil) in 2020.This also involved a mine life extension from 2026 to 2029. Major projects general manager Mark Thomson said that the commissioning of the crusher is within budget and its safe construction showed an important milestone for the mine. “The safe construction and commissioning of the CRP within the approved budget represents a significant milestone for OTML and demonstrates what can be achieved by working as One Team Wan Pasin. This is illustrated by the fact that the CRP team recently celebrated two years lost time injury-free and 3 million hours worked.”The OTML board and management targets to prolong the mine life “for as long as sustainably possible” and aims to generate benefits to stakeholders via compensation, dividends, services, training and business opportunities, royalties, employment, and infrastructure.

Mining

PNG Business News - November 06, 2020

MRA yet to decide on Tolukuma Mine

The Mineral Resources Authority has said that it hasn’t decided yet who will operate the Tolukuma gold mine in Central and the new deal on ownership. According to Managing Director Jerry Garry, the government was still waiting for updates from Pini Accountants and Advisor, the mine’s liquidator, which was anticipated to sell the property and pay the credits K15 million.“We have no updates from the liquidator,” Garry said. “Pini Accountants and Advisors was supposed to sell the property.”Last July, the liquidator proposed for sale by public tender Mining Lease 104 and other assets, and also said that the sale was on a strictly “as is where is basis”. The liquidator said that the sale is composed of existing and pending tenements and assets such as plant and equipment, machines, buildings and motor vehicles at a mine site in Central. Garry said that he knew that the National Court had placed the mine into liquidation on Feb 7, 2018. He added that the same court ordered the mine to pay IPI Catering and Hevi Lift Ltd costs and incidentals of the proceedings, due to money that the mine owed them. “Andrew Pini of Pini Accountants and Advisors was appointed by the same court as the liquidator,” he said. “From the date of the court order to the date of sales, Tolukuma Gold Mine shall continue to be fully subjected to the Companies Act.”

Mining

PNG Business News - November 04, 2020

Toroama Pushes for Bougainville Limestone Mining

As part of developing the economy, Bougainville President Ishmael Toroama hopes to re-ignite limestone mining. This, as he embraced the reconciliation in the Eivo-Torau Constituency which he desired, would ignite the redevelopment of the defunct Manetai Limestone Project.The president congratulated the leaders, the landowners, and the people for working on the next steps towards economic recovery. He added that the people as the resource owners must be in control of the political destiny of Bougainville through participation in the economic sector. Toroama added that the needs and the rights of the people must be first. He also said that the new land legislation would show the desires of the people of Bougainville as owners of their land. The first 100-day plan of President Toroama regarding the economic recovery of Bouganville includes other projects such as the Tonolei Project in Buin and the Special Economic Zone in Bana district.

Mining

PNG Business News - November 04, 2020

Coppermoly’s Planned Exploration Deferred

The planned exploration activities of Coppermoly Limited has been deferred indefinitely because of the restrictions of travel between Papua New Guinea and Australia. One of these activities is the proposed drilling programme at the Mt Nakru prospect in West New Britain.According to Coppermoly which has a cash reserve of A$4.3 million (K10.5m) as of Sept 30, the company remains well-funded to continue its exploration when time permits. It said, “Mt Nakru (EL 1043): The Mt Nakru Cu-Au project (EL 1043) comprises two known deposits, Nakru 1 and Nakru 2, which are 1.5km apart.”Classified in accordance with JORC (2012), estimated by mining associates in February 2019, the Mt Nakru project has many mineral resources. Simuku (EL 2379): The Simuku project, meanwhile, has exploration licence 2379 on the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea.At Simuku, mineralisation is copper-molybdenum-gold porphyry style linked with the Simuku-Kulu Intrusive Complex, an Upper Oligocene in age. Spaced along a 3km to 4km, north to northeast trending zone, three and potentially four porphyry copper-molybdenum-gold prospects, have been recognised on the Simuku project.The exploration strategy of Coppermoly is to check out areas adjacent to the Simuku mineral resource for the same styles of mineralisation in order to widen the mineral resource. The company has recently outlined some geographical studies related to areas near the site. One of these is Mak Mak, a greenfields exploration tenement lying almost to the Nakru tenement. For this quarter, no exploration has been done.

Mining

PNG Business News - November 04, 2020

Outlook Remains Positive for OTML

In spite of the current pandemic, the financial and production forecast for Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML) continues to be strong.According to managing director and chief executive Musje Werror, they are managing the operations of the company well this year despite the ill effects of COVID-19. “Our production and financial forecast for 2020 remains strong and we expect to achieve budget profits on the back of the current metal prices and high-grade ore material,” he said. “We expect to perform better than last year despite the impacts.”He said that he remains positive about the financial forecast of the company for the rest of the year, noting that the gold-copper mine in Western “successfully resumed safe operations on Sept 14 after a six-week suspension due to a spike in positive Covid-19 cases detected in the workforce”.He added that when the first case of the coronavirus happened on Aug 4, the company was able to stop the virus from spreading into the community. “During the six weeks outage, the company developed a restart plan incorporating a major quarantine and Covid-19 testing programme for 6,000 OTML and contractor employees,” he said. “To accommodate the quarantine requirements, the company had to amend the rosters by adding a fourth panel, rearranged the onsite accommodation and established entry point centres in Port Moresby, Tabubil, Kiunga and Bige to test all personnel before they start work.”

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PNG Business News - November 03, 2020

Govt to use DSTP for Wafi-Golpu Project

In talks over a waste disposal system, Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Minister Wera Mori stated that the Papua New Guinea government desires to stop this stalemate for the K18 billion (US$5.4 billion) Wafi-Golpu gold-copper project.He added that he was going to sign an “approval in principle” to use the deep sea tailing placement (DSTP) “without any further delay”. Note that the Morobe government and landowners were against the DSTP method and opted to use an on-land system to store mine waste. Mori said he is already tired of waiting and that they are ready to sign. Last week, the Morobe government and the landowners met in Lae and decided to not approve the DSTP method. Governor Ginson Saonu said that the government should look into an alternative. “The people of Morobe have spoken saying yes to Wafi-Golpu and no to DSTP,” he said. “To propose a submarine deep sea tailing in Huon Gulf Sea must be prohibited (as) it is unethical and improper.”Saonu also added that submarine tailing was not allowed in international gold mining principles and standards which project developers must abide by. “Wafi-Golpu mine must be subject to international best practice and principles of which Newcrest and Harmony Gold Mining Company Ltd are members,” Saonu said.Mori said the provincial government was to make a submission but only wrote a letter to Marape. “They did not make a submission. They only wrote a letter to the Prime Minister. Their approach is wrong,” he said. “All statutory requirements have been complied with or met. We can’t make exceptions. We’ve asked them for a submission but they (instead) wrote a letter.”As a result of several requirements and processes fulfilled by the joint venture of the Wafi-Golpu copper and gold project in Morobe, Mori said the Environment Council has accepted the environmental impact statement and recommended to him the approval of the project. Some gold mines such as the Simberi gold mine (New Ireland), the Lihir gold mine (New Ireland), the Misima gold mine (Milne Bay), and Ramu nickel mine use the DSTP method and no negative impacts were reported.

Mining

PNG Business News - October 30, 2020

K92 Mining to Invest $250M

Over the next three years, K92 Mining Inc will invest US$250 million (K855.55mil) to hit a production level of more than 300,000 ounces per annum. According to chief executive officer John Lewins, the company will still continue to provide beneficial outcomes to the communities.“We are excited about the coming year as it will be a major transformative year for our company,” he said. “We believe we will provide many positive outcomes for all of our stakeholders, including our communities. We are forecasting a new record production for the year, committing to a major expansion which will see K92 Mining spend US$250 million (K855.55mil) in capital over the next three years and move to a production of over 300,000 ounces per annum.”He said that in early 2021, the operations of the company is to increase to more than 1,000 employees and at the end of 2022, to more than 1,500. The number of employees is currently at 730 - with 130 casuals and 200 contractors. Lewins added that the mine has finished an expansion of mine production capacity to double throughout- from 200,000 tonnes per annum to 400,000 tonnes per annum.“As a result, production this year will increase from 82,000 ozs gold in 2019 to 100,000 ozs gold in 2020 and 140,000 ozs gold in 2021,” he said. “We have had significant exploration success in 2020 and will be spending even more on exploration in 2021 – over K30 million to build on that success.”

Mining

PNG Business News - October 21, 2020

Wafi-Golpu Project Starts Soon

In a presentation on the Wafi-Golpu deep sea tailings placement, Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Wera Mori said that Papua New Guinea’s Wafi-Golpu mining project starts production soon - five years after its construction phase. He added that block caving is the method to use for this copper/gold project. “Upon granting of the special mining lease, it will take at least five years to construct all necessary infrastructures at a cost of approximately US$5 billion (K17.48bil) before the first ounce of gold and pound of copper are produced,” he said.Following the recommendation of the Environment Council (EC) after the developer had met necessary environmental requirements and processes, Mori said he is set to grant Wafi-Golpu joint venture (WGJV) an environmental permit.“The granting of the approval in principle will now pave way for the State negotiating team including representatives of the Morobe government to start discussions with the developer, WGJV, on a mine development contract,” Mori said. “The minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change has 28 days from Sept 10, the date of the environment council decision to grant the approval in principle The 28 days lapsed on Wednesday, Oct 7.”Because no one had contested the decision of the EC during the 28-day period, Mori said that he is required to grant the approval. Meanwhile, Prime Minister James Maraque urged the stakeholders to establish a waste disposal project for the Wafi-Golpu, adding that the development of this project is essential for the economy.

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