The Asia Miner

JUL-SEP 2017

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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18 | ASIA Miner | Volume 14 • Issue 3 | 2017 Papua New Guinea THE Bougainville region's autonomous government (ABG) has lifted a decades-long moratorium on mining and exploration in sections of the region. The ABG says its bureaucracy has built the skills to handle applications. ABG president John Momis made the announcement after the Bougainville executive council carefully considered the implications of developing the capacity of the government to manage explora- tion applications and the people's needs. He said the decision applied to Mt Tore in the north of the main island, and Jaba and Isina in central Bougainville but not Panguna. Since development of the Panguna mine more than 40 years ago, the rest of Bougainville has been covered by the moratorium. In 2006, the ABG requested a drawdown of mining, oil and gas powers and functions from the national government. In 2008, the ABG and government signed the Alotau agreement that established the road map for the transfer of these powers and functions. Although the process was slow, the ABG enacted its own Min- ing Act in 2015, which paved the way for regulation of its own mining sector. "The Bougainville Constitution and the Bougainville Mining Act 2015 clearly define the people as owner of all minerals found on all the land in Bougainville," John Momis said. "It is significantly im- portant that the people's consent must be given before any mine is developed. "Without capacity we would be inundated with applications and we would be drowned. I think there is some confidence now in the Mining Department to handle the applications so we have decided to lift the moratorium, partially, in these three restricted areas." He also said the Bougainville Mining Act gave the ABG the opportu- nity to preserve and reserve certain areas from mineral exploration and mining to develop mineral resources for current and future generations. The Bougainville executive council has the final authority to grant mining licences in Bougainville and in this way it will scrutinise every would-be investor well to ensure only genuine investors invest. "We have learnt our lessons from the Panguna experience and now have the opportunity to do a better job," John Momis said. "On behalf of the people of Bougainville, I invite and welcome applica- tions from prospective applicants to invest in our mining sector." A REDUCTION in all-in-sustaining costs (AISC) at Newcrest Min- ing's Lihir Gold Project during the March quarter helped the com- pany achieve its lowest overall all-time AISC of US$713 per ounce, which was 5.1% lower than the previous quarter. AISC at Lihir in the period was $822, down from $883 in the December 2016 quarter and $950 in the September 2016 quarter. Production in the quarter was 229,572 ounces, up from 227,498 ounces in Q4 2016 and 206,760 in Q3 2016. Production in the nine months to March 31 was 663,830 ounces, up from the 654,062 ounces in the same period ending March 31, 2016. Newcrest said production was higher as lower milling throughput was offset by higher head grade and slightly higher recovery rates. The AISC decrease of $61 per ounce was predominantly due to the higher production volume, an increase in average head grade, slight increase in recovery rates and lower material movement partially offset by higher sustaining capital. Total material moved for the March quarter was 12.5 million tonnes, 2.9% lower than the previous quarter. This was primarily driven by a reduction in the use of in-pit short haul options. Average ex-pit direct feed grade was higher in the quarter 3.2 g/t compared to 3.0 g/t in Q4 2016 as mining transitioned into higher grade areas. Mill throughput in the quarter was at a 12.6 million tonnes per an- num rate, lower than the previous quarter primarily due to planned shutdowns of two of the three SAG mills to replace mill liners with an improved design. The annual mill throughput rate target of 14 million tonnes by December 2017 remains on track. Guidance for 2017 at Lihir is 880,000-980,000 ounces. In the fi- nancial year ending June 30, 2016 Lihir produced 900,034 ounces of gold. Target generation programs at Lihir began during the quarter with initial work in the Kinami area. Additional mapping and sampling was proposed for the June quarter. Elsewhere in PNG, exploration has commenced on Tatau Island as part of Newcrest's option and farm-in agreement with St Barbara. Target generation exploration is being conducted over several priori- ty porphyry target areas to define future drill targets. Bougainville moratorium partially lifted Newcrest Mining's Lihir Gold Project on Aniolam Island in Papua New Guin- ea's New Ireland Province. It is 900km northeast of Port Moresby. Lower costs at Lihir Gold Project

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