Tag Archives: Papua New Guinea

Nickel 28 claims industry ‘first’ carbon neutral status

Nickel 28 Capital Corp has become what it believes is the first carbon neutral refined nickel-cobalt producer in the world through a transaction involving the purchase of 52,500 carbon offsets on the Verra Registry.

The carbon offsets will, it says, fully offset Nickel 28’s anticipated 2021 attributable greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the Ramu integrated nickel-cobalt mine and refinery in Papua New Guinea (pictured), an asset it owns 8.56% of.

Anthony Milewski, Chairman of Nickel 28, said: “We are incredibly excited to be one of the first, if not the first, producers of refined nickel and cobalt in the world to fully offset its carbon footprint.

“We feel strongly that each of us has an obligation to do our part personally and professionally to help stave off the negative impacts of climate change. As the world pivots to electric vehicles and other means of decarbonisation, it is imperative that the critical basic materials fuelling the transition have the minimum possible impact on the environment.”

On February 9, Nickel 28 announced it had completed an independent analysis on GHG intensity for the Ramu nickel-cobalt operation, confirming the operation is one of the lower GHG emitters in the nickel industry. Ramu’s average GHG intensity has been calculated at 15.6 t of carbon dioxide equivalent per tonne of nickel (15.6 tCO2e/t Ni) in mixed hydroxide product. This compared favourably with a nickel industry average GHG intensity of 36.6 tCO2e/t Ni as calculated by Wood Mackenzie, Nickel 28 said.

The company says it will continue to introduce greater environmental, social and governance transparency with respect to its assets in response to investor and industry trends.

“In addition to GHG emission reporting, Nickel 28 will be providing further clarity with respect to other key measures such as health and safety statistics, community investment, energy and water usage, rehabilitation, and land reclamation,” it said.

Nickel 28 currently holds an 8.56% joint-venture interest in the Ramu operation, with Ramu operated by the Metallurgical Corporation of China, which, along with its partners, owns an 85% interest in Ramu.

Ramu produced 33,659 t of contained nickel in mixed hydroxide product in 2020, compared with 32,722 t in 2019.

Wärtsilä takes on power plant performance contract at Lihir gold mine

Wärtsilä is to help optimise the performance of the Lihir gold mine’s 170 MW power plant, in Papua New Guinea, as part of a 10-year tailored guaranteed asset performance agreement signed with Lihir Gold Ltd, part of Newcrest Mining.

The agreement has shared business case incentives based on key performance indicators (KPIs), which reduce operational cost and enhance power availability, supporting the mine’s production targets, according to Wärtsilä.

The 10-year agreement, worth over €150 million ($183 million), was signed in October and is targeted to take effect from the end of the March quarter. The expected revenues for 24 months of operation, some €20 million, have been included in Wärtsilä’s order book in the December quarter.

Lihir’s 170 MW power plant provides a critical electricity supply to run the operations of the mine. It has 22 Wärtsilä engines, of which the last one was commissioned in 2013.

The incentivised KPIs will lead to an increase in revenue and a reduction in operational cost, according to Wärtsilä, with the partnership enabling Lihir Gold to focus on gold production while Wärtsilä takes care of optimising the power plant performance.

The agreement will also provide the customer with maintenance and parts cost predictability, including a reduction in working capital.

The agreement includes full technical support, real-time monitoring of the equipment from Wärtsilä’s Expertise Centres, condition-based maintenance and asset diagnostic reporting, operational advisory support, as well as all planned and unplanned maintenance of the generator sets and auxiliaries. The agreement KPIs with shared incentives are based on fuel and oil consumption and power availability, with the option to adjust these KPIs by mutual agreement should the market change.

Daniel May, Manager – Power, Utilities, Projects & Engineering, Lihir, Newcrest Mining, said: “During the initial market engagement process, it was determined that Wärtsilä’s experience, track record and capabilities in Papua New Guinea made them the best partner to further develop the partnership agreement that has now been signed. This is a flexible solution that delivers incentives and benefits to both parties.”

Henri van Boxtel, Energy Business Director, Wärtsilä Energy, added: “This agreement takes a holistic approach to the plant’s operations and maintenance, and reflects the importance of the strategic partnership between Wärtsilä and the customer. By linking the availability and performance of the power generating plant to the mine’s productivity, we are establishing a flexible and beneficial business case that promotes efficiency and delivers real value over the entire lifecycle of the power plant. We are at the same time aiming to increase the reliability of the electrical supply, which can help raise the mine’s output.”

The total installed base of Wärtsilä’s power generating equipment in a number of projects in Papua New Guinea is 381 MW, of which 170 MW has been supplying power to Lihir Gold.

Fortescue to evaluate green hydropower opportunities in PNG

Fortescue Metals Group’s Fortescue Future Industries Pty Ltd has signed an agreement with the Papua New Guinea Government and wholly-owned corporation, Kumul Consolidated Holdings Ltd (KCH), that could lead to the development of PNG’s hydropower resources to support ‘green’ industrial operations.

Under the deed, the parties will promptly investigate the feasibility of these green projects for both domestic and export markets, a move Fortescue says is consistent with its record of delivering both capital growth and yield to its shareholders while sharing the benefits of sustainable development and employment with local communities.

KCH is the entity which holds in trust, the Papua New Guinea government’s non-petroleum and non-mining assets.

“Fortescue Future Industries shares Fortescue’s commitment to a green industry future and will work closely with local people and communities to establish training and long-term careers,” the company said. “This is fully aligned with Fortescue’s approach from its inception that the communities in which we operate will benefit from our growth and development.”

Subject to the completion of feasibility studies and approvals, individual projects will be developed by Fortescue Future Industries with ownership and project finance sources to be separately secured without recourse to Fortescue, the company explained.

“Execution of studies and approach to capital investment will be consistent with Fortescue’s track record of developing multi-billion dollar projects in the Pilbara, at an industry leading capital intensity,” it added.

(Pictured above is the Warangoi Hydropower Station in East New Britain, PNG, operated by PNG Power)

K92 Mining continues to add new equipment at expanding Kainantu gold mine

K92 Mining, despite the onset of COVID-19, has made significant progress on its plans to increase production at its Kainantu gold mine in Papua New Guinea.

In March 2020, Kainantu achieved a major milestone, commencing the first long hole stope using the modified AVOCA method. This method is ideal for narrow vein/lens higher-grade stopes and can provide higher tonnages through continuous fill and blasting, as well as improved dilution control, according to the company.

The commencement of this new mining method is significant since previous mining has been exclusively from lower productivity and higher-cost development and cut and fill stoping, K92 said.

The first stope was from the K1 Vein and, to date, long hole stoping activities have performed in-line with design and have been increasing, providing a notable positive impact on operational flexibility, the company added.

Mining operations, which have been expanding in line with the 2019 decision to expand throughput to 400,000 t/y, from 200,000 t/y, have also benefited from further additions to the mining fleet.

The Papua New Guinea COVID-19 State of Emergency declared on March 20, 2020, saw limited impact to freight, with the arrival of a third Sandvik LH517i underground LHD loader with AutoMine® capabilities, a third CAT AD45B 45 t underground truck and two Terex Articulated surface haul trucks, since its declaration. The Government of Papua New Guinea ended the COVID-19 State of Emergency on June 16, resulting in a further easing of some of the restrictions, particularly around domestic movement.

“The equipment joins a significantly expanded and modernised fleet since the decision to proceed with the Stage 2 Expansion on March 13, 2019,” K92 said.

Back in January, the company said it expected a Sandvik DS421 cable bolter to arrive this quarter, alongside a modular batching plant. The company said earlier this month that this unit (pictured), as well as three new and high powered diamond drill rigs were in transit to the mine.

Twin incline activities have recently recommenced at Kainantu with the easing of restrictions from the state of emergency. Ground support for the portal is also underway, with portalling and the installation of steel sets expected to commence in the first half of the September quarter, the company said.

The process plant, meanwhile, has achieved multiple daily throughput records during the June quarter, significantly exceeding the 200,000 t/y, or circa-550 t/d nameplate capacity, with over 700 t/d achieved on multiple occasions.

“The strong performance of the process plant and underground mine to date are expected to result in gold-equivalent production exceeding March quarter output,” the company said.

The March quarter saw K92 produce 19,240 oz of gold, 339,993 lb (154 t) of copper and 6,937 oz of silver for a total of 19,934 gold-equivalent ounces, representing the second highest quarter on record. Gold-equivalent production in 2019 was 82,256 oz, with 115,000-125,000 oz of gold-equivalent scheduled in 2020.

Preparations are also being made to recommence Stage 2 process plant commissioning in the near term, to double plant throughput capacity to 400,000 t/y. All the equipment is installed, and commissioning is expected to commence in first half of the September quarter, with completion targeted at the end of that three-month period, K92 said.

John Lewins, K92 Chief Executive Officer and Director, added that a Stage 3 Expansion preliminary economic assessment is planned for July.

Monadelphous bolsters Pilbara iron ore order book

Monadelphous Group has added another A$150 million ($101 million) worth of construction and maintenance work in the resources and energy sectors to its portfolio after being awarded contracts from the likes of BHP, Rio Tinto, Fortescue Metals Group and Newcrest Mining.

The company is set to continue its stay in the Pilbara of Western Australia having secured a contract under its existing BHP Western Australia iron ore (WAIO) asset panel framework agreement associated with the dewatering of surplus water at Mining Area C (Yandi mine, pictured).

Close by, it has received a three-year contract with Rio Tinto for the provision of maintenance services and minor projects on its Pilbara marine infrastructure, and one-year extensions to its two existing fixed plant maintenance and shutdown crane services contracts with Fortescue.

In addition, Monadelphous has been appointed to BHP’s WAIO Site Engineering Panel for a further two-year term, to provide civil, structural, mechanical, piping and marine services at its mine site and port operations in the Pilbara.

In Papua New Guinea, meanwhile, Monadelphous has sealed a new three-year contract to provide minor capital project services, including civil, mechanical, structural, piping, and blast and paint at Newcrest Mining’s gold mining operations on Lihir Island. The company has been providing services at Lihir Island since 2017.

Added to this is a four-year contract to continue providing mechanical and electrical maintenance and turnaround services for a customer’s midstream operations in the Queensland, Australia, coal seam gas market.

OK Tedi boosts operator safety with new Immersive Technologies collaboration

Immersive Technologies and OK Tedi have established the first fully-integrated Operator Performance Analytics (OPA) system as part of the Papua New Guinea miner’s focus on operator safety, Immersive says.

Following the successful delivery of continuous improvement projects and managed services by Immersive, OK Tedi opted to establish an OPA installation on-site with the dual goals of improving safety and machine care among their operators, Immersive, which is now part of Komatsu Ltd, said.

Using the OPA electronic operator scorecard, OK Tedi was able to drill down to individual operator performance indicators. These indicators can be used to see how an operator compares with their peers or are trending over time. “Ranking of all operators additionally provides a unique opportunity to motivate personal ownership of safety statistics and performance, while providing management an effective tool to identify training needs to improve overall mine site productivity,” Immersive said.

OPA data can also be filtered specific to machine errors, performance on different machines, performance over time and training history to locate the root cause of a performance trend. An initial dataset was analysed using six months of machine operational data from the field and simulator data, with this data used to identify outlier operators in terms of risk rating or performance against key metrics (such as spot time, average speed loaded and average tonnes per km/h).

Masket Siune, Superintendent Mine Business Improvement & Training OK Tedi, said: “OPA has enabled quicker analysis of mine operator performance to identify trends or patterns to mitigate risk relating to equipment reliability and operator productivity metrics.

“We now have a reliable operator data platform that gives real comprehensive data view to approach our operators and discuss training development needs or for reward and recognition for the outstanding performance based on both risk and productivity criteria.”

With multiple operational data sources integrated within OPA, OK Tedi easily identified a high incidence of high peak frame bias events, therefore prioritising simulator training for those operators contributing the highest error counts, Immersive said. Once underperforming operator groups or individuals are identified, these can be selected and assigned to a training needs analysis report.

Simulator training can then be conducted and training data automatically sent back to OPA —without manual intervention. Typical training scenarios for errors could require operators to navigate loaded trucks over rough road conditions or load and dump using the correct procedure. In turn, this can be used for assessment of training retention and impact.

Alex Da Silva, Global Professional Services Manager at Immersive Technologies, said: “At OK Tedi, analysis that previously took days or weeks, now takes minutes, integrating disparate data systems with simulator generated data provides a single, powerful platform for workforce development planning.”

OK Tedi, which mines copper, gold and silver in the Western province of PNG, plans to extend the use of OPA to additional machines types to further support its operations, according to Immersive.

GR Engineering to take on Woodlark gold process plant in PNG

GR Engineering Services looks like being rewarded for all of its hard work in Papua New Guinea (PNG) with the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for Geopacific Resources’ Woodlark gold project.

The ASX-listed mine developer says it has issued GR Engineering with an EPC letter of intent for the 2.4 Mt/y carbon in leach (CIL) process plant (modelled above), tailings line and other supporting infrastructure at the PNG project.

The final EPC contract is expected to be in the form of a guaranteed maximum price and will be signed following agreement of the final terms and conditions, Geopacific said.

“The company has selected an EPC contracting structure to de-risk the largest component of the capital expenditure requirement. Other remaining establishment capital costs also include site-based infrastructure and a mining fleet,” the company added.

In the meantime, Geopacific says it may instruct GR Engineering to commence an early works program to procure tenders and pre-order long lead time items such as the SAG and ball mills.

The processing plant will be constructed between the Kulumadau and Busai pits which are around 4 km apart. The project currently has 1 Moz in gold reserves, with significant upside from the 600 km² exploration licence, Geopacific said. The grade for the first five years is over 1.5 g/t Au with all-in sustaining costs estimated at A$866/oz ($586/oz).

GR Engineering is currently finishing off work on a crusher replacement project for Ok Tedi Mining in PNG.

Geopacific Managing Director, Ron Heeks, said: “GR Engineering has a strong reputation in successfully designing and constructing processing plants on time for a guaranteed maximum price. Geopacific is confident that their recent experience in PNG and strong track record in constructing similar projects will greatly de-risk the construction of Woodlark. We look forward to finalising the EPC contract, and advancing the development of Woodlark.”

GR Engineering Managing Director, Geoff Jones, said: “Our clients are increasingly seeking certainty and a track record of performance and GR Engineering has been able to demonstrate this to Woodlark, including by reference to its successful project outcomes in the turnkey design and construction of mineral processing plants in the gold sector.”

OEV acquires Nautilus production support vessel

Ocean Energy Ventures (OEV), a subsidiary of the MDL Energy group of companies, together with Quippo Oil and Gas, has acquired the newly built production support vessel previously destined for Nautilus Minerals and its Solwara 1 copper-gold marine mining project off the coast of Papua New Guinea.

The contract for the hull MW301-1 was originally signed in Shanghai, China, on July 26 and became effective on September 3.

The vessel, now re-dubbed ‘Amaya Explorer’, was originally ordered by Marine Assets Corp (MAC) against a five-year contract with Nautilus Minerals.

OEV said: “OEV’s dialogue for the charter of the vessel to Nautilus Minerals was terminated on October 5, 2018, and Nautilus have been instructed to remove all of their equipment off the vessel. OEV is now re-purposing the vessel.”

Kulpreet Sahni, CEO of MDL Energy, said: “We are delighted to have concluded the contract for the purchase of Fujian Mawei hull MW301-1. The vessel hull fits well with our future plans and we are excited about this first step on a new journey for us.”

MDL Energy calls itself an offshore shipping investment organisation with added capability to design, build and deliver vessels for offshore operators using in-house resources. It offers solutions for offshore oil and gas operations, tailored to the specific needs and requirements of its clients.

Nautilus said on December 2 it was currently negotiating the terms of an agreement with arm’s length third parties to fund the acquisition of the PSV Nautilus previously arranged to be procured through MAC and the integration costs of installing the mining equipment on the PSV.

Wafi-Golpu Memorandum of Understanding signed

Harmony Gold Mining Co and its Wafi-Golpu joint venture (WGJV) partner Newcrest Mining have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.

The MOU is an affirmation of the parties’ intent to proceed with the Wafi-Golpu project, subject to finalisation of the permitting process and Harmony and Newcrest board approvals. It establishes the framework for the parties to progress the permitting of Wafi-Golpu as quickly as practicable in accordance with applicable regulatory processes.

The MOU provides a framework of key terms to be included in the Mining Development Contract and other related agreements with the state, including provision for stability to underpin the significant long-term investment required to develop and operate the project.

The agreement also re-affirms the intention of the parties to complete the permitting process and achieve grant of a Special Mining Lease by 30 June, 2019.

“This MOU is an important step in progressing the permitting of the Wafi-Golpu project. I wish to thank Prime Minister O’Neill and his government for the constructive manner in which they have worked with the WGJV partners and for the commitment demonstrated in advancing this important project in the best interests of the people of Papua New Guinea and shareholders,” said Peter Steenkamp, Chief Executive Officer of Harmony.

He added: “Our joint understanding of the terms and timeline that we are working towards as set out in the MOU is central to the commencement of the initial work programme. Harmony is committed to make a meaningful contribution to the social and economic development of Papua New Guinea and we look forward to continue working with the government and people of Papua New Guinea to complete the permitting process.”

As a result of entering into the MOU, the WGJV is completing approval processes to commence a substantial work programme, including the establishment of underground access for further drilling of the Golpu deposit and the construction of a bridge over the Markham River, which is an integral feature of the proposed new Northern Access road from the Highlands Highway to the mine site.

The MOU recognises that development of the Wafi-Golpu project will be of major economic significance to the people of Papua New Guinea, and encourages the development of the project in a way which will contribute to the advancement of the social and economic welfare of the people of Papua New Guinea, while also providing a viable and stable foundation for the long term development of the Project by the WGJV.

The Golpu deposit is located approximately 65 km southwest of Lae in the Morobe Province of PNG, which is the second largest city in PNG and will host the Wafi-Golpu export facilities. The proposed mine site sits at an elevation of some 200 m above sea level in moderately hilly terrain and is located near the Watut River about 30 km upstream from the confluence of the Watut and Markham rivers.

The feasibility study update was released in March 2018. Project economics set out in that demonstrate significant free cash flow generation. Once in production, the asset has the potential of being one of the lowest decile cost copper-gold producers.

The WGJV submitted an Environmental Impact Statement for the project to the relevant PNG regulatory authority, Conservation and Environment Protection Agency in June 2018. Consultation with the regulatory authority, community and other stakeholders is ongoing.

The project has mineral resources estimated to contain 26 Moz of gold, 8.8 Mt of copper and 48 Moz of silver. This includes ore reserves for the Golpu deposit estimated to contain 11 Moz of gold and 4.8 Mt of copper.

Currently, the Wafi-Golpu project includes the Golpu copper-gold porphyry deposit, the Nambonga copper-gold porphyry deposit and the Wafi high sulfidation epithermal gold deposit.

Exploration activity to date has shown that the Wafi-Golpu tenements host one of the highest grade porphyry copper systems in southeast Asia (the Golpu deposit).

The Golpu deposit is one of several porphyry ore bodies identified along the 25 km long Wafi-Transfer. Newcrest and its joint venture partner are actively exploring this highly prospective terrain for additional deposits.

The plan is to develop the Nambonga decline and twin underground access declines to access the orebody in which three block caves and associated services and infrastructure will be developed, including a portal terrace, the Watut process plant, power generation facilities, laydown areas, water treatment facilities, wastewater discharge and raw water make-up pipelines, raw water dam, sediment control structures, roads and accommodation facilities. Block caving is the proposed mining method.

The project area comprises three main areas of proposed activity:

  • Mine area – The proposed mine area is located on the northern side of the Owen Stanley Ranges of PNG, approximately 65 km from the Port of Lae, in the foothills of the Watut River catchment. The elevation of the Mine Area ranges from about 100 m above sea level (mASL) to 380 mASL. Most of the area is steep and mountainous, and is covered by dense tropical rainforest.
  • Infrastructure corridor – The proposed corridor is situated on the floodplains of the Watut and Markham rivers and includes the Mine Access Road. The proposed 32 km long Northern Access Road connects the Mine Access Road to the Highlands Highway. A concentrate pipeline extends from the Mine Area to the Coastal Area.
  • Coastal Area – This includes the proposed Port Facilities Area and the proposed Outfall Area. The proposed location of the filtration plant and associated materials handling and ship loading facility is the Port of Lae and the Outfall System comprising the mix/de-aeration tank and associated facilities is located some 6 km to the east of the port, in close proximity to the Markham River estuary on the Huon Gulf.

Harmony and Newcrest each currently own 50% of Wafi-Golpu through the WGJV. The State of PNG retains the right to purchase, at a pro rata share of accumulated exploration expenditure, up to 30% equity interest in any mineral discovery at Wafi-Golpu, at any time before the commencement of mining. If the State of PNG chooses to take-up its full 30% interest, the interest of each of Harmony and Newcrest will become 35%.