Tag Archives: Johnson Tuke

Tuke to mediate mine dispute, review agreement

August 29, 2017
By ZACHERY PER

 
MINING Minister Johnson Tuke has intervened to resolve the standoff at the Bilimolia gold mine which led to the destruction of mining equipment last week.

 
He visited the Bilomolia landowners and the K92 management which operates the mine to discuss the review of the memorandum of agreement. They will formally meet on Friday this week to review the agreement.

 
“I will get the Mineral Resource Authority,  K92 mine management and Bilimoia landowners to review the existing agreement and to find an amicable solution to the standoff,” Tuke said.

 
He told villagers at Bilimoia One that it was fortunate that the mine was in his electorate and that he was recently appointed as the Mining Minister.

 
On Thursday last week, the landowners stormed the mine site at the foot of the Irumapimpa Mountain and destroyed millions of kina worth of mining equipment. The villagers told Tuke that they had been denied spin-off benefits to provide catering, transport, security and other services as specified in the agreement.

 
Bilimoia Landowners Association chairman Neneti Tesai and members Isaac Uringke, Dawa Baiyaki and Linus Tau said they were disappointed.

 
The equipment damaged included the generator that supplied electricity to the underground mine.

 
A number of vehicles including an underground truck were set on fire.

 
Chief Operating Officer John Lewins said 70 per cent of landowner benefits went to Bilimoia while 30 per cent went to other landowners. He said out of 500 employees at the mine, 300 were locals, 170 from other districts and 30 expatriates.

 
Lewins said  wages paid to landowners amounted to more than K6.6 million per annum through the landowner entity Bilimoia Development Company.

Tuke Seeking Independent Audit on Gold Exports

BY MELISHA YAFOI

Mining Minister Johnson Tuke is seeking the establishment of an independent audit on all PNG gold shipments and offshore facilities where they are refined.

This has never directly been done and Mr Tuke said “neither the Bank of PNG nor Treasury Department has the technical capacity and instruments to authenticate such data provided by the industry.”

“This regards gold only and excludes other precious metals,” he said.

However, he will not be arbitrary about it and wishes to open up dialogue with all players in the mining industry.

The matter is one of two discussion papers the minister is initiating including the possible formalising of the small-scale alluvial mining sector to capture tax credits.

Mr Tuke said the discussion paper must be seen by all stakeholders as having elements of transparency and good governance in the provision of credible reports by mining companies.

Mr Tuke said the audit concept might be a disincentive but he prefers it “be seen to compliment or forms part of the transparency initiative currently supported by the mining industry and the PNGEITI Secretariat at Treasury.”

“This can be included as part of EITI structure, or to a certain extent, seen to compliment PNG EITI processes.

“The two discussion papers will be open to wider industry stakeholder consultations and I will stand to appreciate any pros and cons prior to any recommendation to the National Government,” he said.

Mr Tuke said the idea of these discussion papers came about after learning the industry has been challenged in the last ten years with fewer investors coming into the country with existing exploration tenements gone into recession.

He said this was largely due to the downturn in global metal prices.

“I would like to see investors and new players coming into the country and I’m sure our existing regulatory and policy framework provides the incentives which are economically sound and conducive,” he said.

He expressed optimism on the Wafi-Golpu and Frieda River proposed mine developments which he wants to see come on stream now.

Mining review to be conducted

BY MELISHA YAFOI

Minister for Mining Johnson Tuke says he will ensure the overdue review of the Mining Act 1992 and outstanding polices will be undertaken and completed under his term.

Mr Tuke said his predecessor Byron Chan had done a tremendous job in that regard it will be his task to see changes were implemented.

He said export revenue generated by the industry were significantly large compared to other industries.

He urged senior management of both the Department of Minerals Policy and Geohazards (DPMG) and the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) to perform their mandated roles as they are competent technical advisors he will rely on.

He said the department and the ministry needs to work together as a team to ensure the industry moves forward and is consistent with the regulatory and policy framework in place for the next five years.

“We must admit that the downturn in mining activities is attributed largely to external factors, amongst others, one being the falling metal prices, which we have no control over,” he said.

Mr Tuke said he would like to see the two large mining developments in Wafi-Golpu and Frieda come on-stream, while those under exploration open during his term.

“The O’Neill government remains positive and focused on growing the economy and it is the government’s agenda to integrate new-revenue-generating measures and mining as one of the biggest export revenue earners has all the credentials.

“In my term, I would like to see investors and new players coming into the country and I’m sure our existing regulatory and policy framework provides the incentives which are economically sound and conducive,” he said.

Mr Tuke reiterated that the country has huge potential in the extractive industry. He said having world’s renowned mining companies operating in the country is a show of confidence in the country for existing and new players.

He appealed that all mining companies discharge their community obligations through the various benefit packages as he will ensure to conclude any Benefit Sharing Agreement that are being reviewed.