New Mining Law Strips Rio Tinto's Rights at Papua New Guinea Mine
A new mining law passed in Papua New Guinea has stripped away all exploration and mining licenses from Rio Tinto subsidiary Bougainville Copper Limited.
The new law, which went into effect on Friday, formalizes the province’s control of its own resources and passes power to regulate mining from the Papua New Guinea government. At the same time, it removes the seven exploration licenses and special mining lease for Bougainville.
The new legislation transfers power over mining from the Papua New Guinea government to the local legislature, giving much of the power to Australian copper, gold and silver company Bougainville Copper.
However, the company’s Panguna mine has been the hub of a decade-long civil war in which 20,000 people have died.
"We have invited them to come and negotiate with us and if they don't meet our mutually acceptable terms then they are welcome to go," said Bougainville President John Momis.
"That is the only thing they have; first right of refusal."
According to President Momis, the decision to cancel the licenses comes after consultations with the community on Bougainville.
"If we didn't [cancel the licenses], the landowners and the ex-combatants wouldn't have allowed BCL to come back," President Momis said.
"This mining Bill will likely lay the foundations for another Bougainville crisis," the Panguna Veteran's Association said in a statement shortly before the Act was passed.
"Rio Tinto/BCL owned and controlled our minerals before and it led to the war.
"Under this Bill, Rio Tinto/BCL owns and will control our minerals - why would the result be any different this time?"
Philip Miriori, Chairman of the Me’ekamui Government of Unity commented on the announcement saying the move was dangerous and could potentially hurt the local communities.
"This is a dangerous and destabilizing move and is not acceptable to the Me'ekamui," Philip Miriori said.
"The critics are totally wrong - we have stripped Bougainville Copper of all powers.”
He added, "I think [the critics] are being misled deliberately by outsiders who have a vested interest."
Bougainville is due to hold a referendum on independence between 2015 and 2020.
BHP, Rio Tinto & Vale launch Charge On Innovation Challenge
Mining giants BHP, Vale and Rio Tinto have launched the 'Charge On' Innovation Challenge to solve one of the biggest challenges the industry faces today - decarbonising mining operations.
'Charge On' Innovation Challenge
In partnership with Austmine, Australia's leading mining equipment, technology and services industry association, founding patrons BHP, Vale and Rio Tinto have launched the competition to encourage technology innovators to develop new concepts for large-scale haul truck electrification systems. The main goal is cutting emissions from surface mining operations.
“The mining industry needs to be at the forefront of tackling the climate challenge. The Charge On Innovation Challenge is a great example of the current collaborative work being done by the mining industry and mobile equipment manufacturers to decarbonise mining fleets,” the trio said in a media statement.
“In addition to providing a zero-carbon energy source, the conversion of mobile mining equipment to battery-electric can potentially unlock value, as electric motors have fewer moving parts when compared to standard equipment.”
A number of non-traditional mining sector vendors are actively developing technologies that can assist in mine electrification. By submitting a Challenge to the market, the Patrons of Charge On expect to:
- Demonstrate there is an emerging market for charging solutions in mining
- Accelerate commercialization of solutions
- Indicate to suppliers, the mining industry seeks interoperable solutions
- Maintain multiple actors and competition in the supply chain
- Integrate innovations from other sectors into the mining sector
"We expect some solutions identified in the Challenge could provide propulsion to existing diesel-electric trucks. This may present a pathway to early implementation for dynamic charging solutions," the trio said.
Found patrons BHP, Vale and Rio Tinto are pledging their commitment to fighting climate change:
"The mining industry has an important role to reduce emissions and do our part to achieve the Paris Agreement goals to limit the impacts of climate change."
The Charge On Innovation Challenge asks vendors to present interoperable solutions that can safely deliver electricity to large battery-electric off-road haul trucks in a way that maintains or improves current productivity levels. Specifically, mechanisms capable of delivering in the order of 400kWh of electricity to each truck within a haul cycle (ie load, travel, dump, return, queue). The delivered electricity is to charge a battery, and if applicable directly propel the truck.
Austmine CEO Christine Gibbs Stewart commented: “We expect the Challenge will attract companies from a broad range of sectors including mining, automotive, aerospace, agriculture, and defence to deliver selected charging concepts to create a standard product that can interface with all trucks."
More information about the challenge will be released on May 18.
The competition echoes growing efforts being made across the industry to tackle emmissions and promote electrification. In march this year, the Electric Mine Consortium was launched. It's founding members include Gold Fields, Dassualt Systemes and Sandvik who pledged their commitment to decarbonising mining operations.