Sunday, April 27, 2014

Trainee pilots role models for PNG


- © Fairfax NZ News

PNG pilots
TAKING TO THE SKIES: Left to right, Siolima Walo, 26, Marie Auka, 19, Gail Rivu, 21, Selina Kule, 22.Picture by OLIVER WEBER
Nelson Aviation College is part of an ambitious experiment to lift the status of women in Papua New Guinea.
Four women from PNG have started a 68-week course at the Motueka pilot training school, on full scholarships funded by the governor of Central Province, Kila Haoda.
The innovative move is part of a plan by the Central Province government to raise the education level and perception of women in the country. The women's progress towards gaining a pilot's licence is being publicised in PNG so that they can act as role models in a country where only around 5 per cent of women are in waged work, according to Unesco.
"It is important in PNG and especially in the Central Province that I promote gender equality, in an industry that is dominated with males," said the governor.
The college's chief flying instructor, Jeremy Anderson, flew to PNG in early March to help select the women. He said the novel scheme attracted 100 applications and he met 10 shortlisted women.
He said they were all well educated, all at university with interests in hard sciences, and he was primarily looking for qualities of teamwork, honesty, leadership and the ability to learn.
The four women are living on campus in Motueka and in May, will be joined by the fifth scholarship recipient, who is currently in pilot training in Fiji.
Anderson said Central Province chose to work with NAC because it had a good reputation and already had links with Air Niugini, PNG's national carrier.
He said the women could be good candidates for jobs with the airline or one of the other airlines in PNG.
He said the school hoped the programme would be the start of an ongoing relationship with Central Province, and there had been talk of another five women coming once the first group had completed their training. The school now has five private students from PNG enrolled as well.
"We're very keen to support them because the aim of equality is very important.
"It's a big deal for them, it's a big deal for the people of Central Province, and we look forward to getting them trained and returned to PNG so they can inspire others," said Anderson.
Trainee pilot Marie Auka said: "We are proud to be selected as pioneer female cadets under the Central Female Pilot Scholarship Programme. This is not only a milestone but an honour and a privilege for us. We are still adjusting to the cold weather, however we are enjoying the hospitality and the friendly nature of people all around us. We hope to learn a lot about the culture and the people of New Zealand as well as learning how to fly."

Nautilus Minerals and PNG resolve issues, sign accord

TORONTO ( – Deep-sea mining hopeful Nautilus Minerals and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea (PNG) last week settled their financing differences and signed an agreement that would enable the Solwara 1 project to move forward toward production with the full support of the State.
Under the agreement, the State would take an initial 15% interest in the project, with an option to take a further 15% interest within 12 months of the agreement becoming unconditional. The State had paid Nautilus a non-refundable deposit for its initial 15% interest of $7-million.
The company’s TSX-listed shares have more-than-doubled in the past five days, and on Friday continued with its ascent, gaining up to C$0.13 a share in early trading, and closed up 20% at C$0.48 apiece.
Toronto-based Nautilus on Thursday said that the agreement was conditional upon the State, through a subsidiary of Petromin PNG Holdings, securing by July 31, the $113-million in funding for the State's 15% share of the capital required to complete the development phase of the project up to first production.
These funds would be placed in escrow until Nautilus had satisfied certain conditions for their release.
Among the requirements were that Nautilus would need to secure chartering of a production support vessel and secure certain intellectual property rights for the State.
The agreement envisions the parties creating an unincorporated joint venture to operate the project. After first production, Petromin's subsidiary would contribute funds in proportion to its interest.
Nautilus said that if the conditions of the agreement were satisfied and the State completed buying its 15% interest in the project, the ongoing arbitration concerning Nautilus' claim for damages related to the termination of the State equity option agreement dated 29 March, 2011, shall be dismissed.
However, if the State did not complete the transaction, then the position the parties were in prior to signing the agreement would be reinstated.
Nautilus CEO Mike Johnston said that the company was pleased to have achieved an amicable resolution of its issues with the State.
"This step represents a major vote of confidence in Nautilus Minerals and the Solwara 1 project. Through this joint venture, the State will provide a significant capital investment and will retain a direct interest in the long-term success of the project. We look forward to working closely with the State and Petromin on Solwara 1, which will generate significant economic activity within the State and the province of New Ireland," he said.
Johnston added that Nautilus was now focusing its attention on securing a suitable vessel arrangement and would continue with its discussions with potential vessel partners, while also undertaking a tender process with shipyards experienced in building offshore construction vessels. The company intends to have a vessel solution in place before the end of the year, he said.
Johnston continued to enjoy the support of the board, with his interim role as president and CEO having now been made permanent.
News agency Reuters on Monday reported that construction of Nautilus’ deep-sea mining robot was complete.
The Solwara 1 project sits about 1 500 m underwater, and is a seafloor massive sulphide deposit, which forms along hydrothermal vents where mineral-rich fluids spurt from cracks in the ocean crust.
Equipped with cameras and three dimensional sonar sensors, the robot is driven by two pilots from a control room on the vessel above, attached via a giant power cable.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Frank Trimmer’s unique wartime sketches shed light on hardships of life in PNG

Herald Sun

A greeting card by Frank Trimmer while he was in Papua New Guinea.
A greeting card by Frank Trimmer while he was in Papua New Guinea. Source: News Limited

FRANK Trimmer would not speak of the hardships he experienced in Papua New Guinea during WWII but his unique drawings and letters are a window into the life of an Australian soldier.
His daughter, Bev Sard, of Hamstead Gardens, has hundreds of letters that Warrant Officer Trimmer send home to his wife, and her mother, Mary, during his 275 days in the jungle.
In between Japanese bombing raids, Frank drew dozens of images of everyday life and his letters home provide a priceless, first-hand account of the conditions under which Aussie soldiers fought against the Japanese from 1942.
Australian and US troops pushed the Japanese out of PNG by early 1943 but fighting continued in New Guinea until 1945.
Frank often decorated his letters to Mary with a caricature of a soldier to give his new wife special cheer during the dark times.
BeV has cherished the sketches and letters since 1973 when he died of a heart attack in the driveway of the Hamstead Gardens house he designed and built himself.
22/04/14 Copy pic of Frank Trimmer who was in World War 2. pic Calum Robertson
Frank Trimmer served in Papua New Guine during World War 2. Source: News Limited

She now wants the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, to have the valuable time capsule of Australians at war and his medals, including the Pacific Star and 1939-1945 service medal.
“I thought that if anything happened to me, I don’t want these to get lost in the system,’’ Bev said. “I think they’d be better off in the war museum and I think dad would want that too.
“I don’t want all this to be lost or undervalued.’’

That did not happen until October and after he contracted chronic dermatitis, malaria and dengue fever.
If not for the help of his “Fuzzy-Wuzzy’’ New Guinea native friend, he said he might not have survived. Frank would send money to him for about 20 years after the war.
When he returned, Frank bought a smallgoods delivery business on Regency Rd.
“For the last six years of his life he had to employ a bloke because he couldn’t do the work,’’ Bev said. “Dad kept getting reoccurrences of malaria and dermatitis, he had it real bad.
“He just wouldn’t talk about (the war) but he was a father in a million and a husband in a million, too. I had such wonderful parents.’’
Frank was scarred by the war and he did not march on Anzac Day but Bev will tomorrow for personal reasons.
“It means so much to me because all I can think of is my dad,’’ she said.
An Austrailan War Memorial spokeswoman said she would contact Bev.

The robot is ready - when will deep sea mining start?

The News
  LONDON: The world´s first deep sea mining robot sits idle on a British factory floor, waiting to claw up high grade copper and gold from the seabed off Papua New Guinea (PNG) - when a wrangle over terms is solved.
Beyond PNG, in international waters, regulation and royalty terms for mining the planet´s subsea wealth have also yet to be finalised. The world waits for the judgment of a United Nations agency based in Jamaica.

“If we can take care of the environment we have a brand new day ahead of us. The marine area beyond national jurisdiction is 50 percent of the Ocean,” said Nii Odunton, secretary general of the UN´s International Seabed Authority (ISA).

“I believe the grades look good, the abundance looks good, I believe that money will be made,” Odunton said from the ISA offices in Kingston.

High-tech advances, depleted easy-to-reach minerals onshore and historically high prices have boosted the idea of mining offshore, where metals can be fifteen times the quality of land deposits.

In Newcastle, the “beasty”, as engineer Keith Franklin calls his machine, lies in wait, resembling a submersible tank with four metre wide cutting blades.

Built by Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD), it will put Canadian listed Nautilus Minerals on course to become the first company to commercially mine in deep water.

Nautilus´ primary resource, Solwara 1, about 1,500 metres underwater, is a Seafloor Massive Sulphide (SMS) deposit, which forms along hydrothermal vents where mineral-rich fluids spurt from cracks in the ocean crust.

How Asia's LNG sector will drive Exxon Mobil's growth

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Exxon Mobil (XOM_), America's biggest energy company, is expanding its footprint in Asia's liquefied natural gas, or LNG, market.
The oil behemoth's LNG project in Papua New Guinea, or PNG, is nearing completion in June, four months before originally planned. Exxon Mobil has already contracted more than 95% of the supplies to four Asian buyers. Moreover, the Asian market-focused Gorgon LNG project in Australia, in which Exxon Mobil holds a minority stake, could also come online by 2015.
Through these projects, Exxon Mobil will increase its supplies to Asia, where LNG commands a higher price  compared to other regions, of more than $14 per million British thermal units (MMBtu). An increase in supplies to Asian markets can, therefore, drive the company's earnings growth.
Moreover, Exxon Mobil's initial deliveries from PNG will likely be spot cargoes. Although LNG spot prices have recently shown weakness, they are still above $15 per MMBtu. Moreover, the spot prices could increase in the next couple of months ahead of the uptake in demand in the summer season.
Exxon Mobil's shares, currently around $100, are up 12.7% over the last 12 months.
Exxon Mobil has a significant global position in LNG projects around the world, particularly in Qatar and Indonesia where the company has 65 million tons of annual liquefaction capacity. Its portfolio includes four of the world's largest LNG trains, each with capacity of 7.8 million tons per year.
The global LNG demand will be driven by the energy-hungry Asian economies where, analysts believe, the rising levels of pollution and income has created a healthy business environment. China and India will emerge as the new demand centers, as opposed to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan that have traditionally been the largest importers of LNG.
Last year, China unveiled a new natural gas policy that prioritized the use of LNG in the transport sector due to pollution concerns. LNG is the cleaner alternative to diesel, which is normally used to fuel the vehicles in the country. Moreover, when natural gas is used for electricity generation, it emits 60% less carbon than coal.
In 2013, China's LNG imports climbed 23% to its highest ever level of 18 million tons. By 2020, the country's demand for natural gas could triple. Since half of its gas imports consist of LNG, therefore, China's demand for LNG will remain robust.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Newcrest axes PNG jobs in austerity drive

The Australian

GOLD miner Newcrest Mining will cut hundreds of jobs in Papua New Guinea in a push towards austerity.
The decision comes after the company launched a raft of cost-cutting projects across its operations last quarter.
The Melbourne-based gold miner, one of the world’s biggest, said it cut 208 jobs across a range of roles at its Lihir site from January to March. Newcrest said it also eliminated another 32 vacant roles at the site, its most expensive to operate.
Newcrest pinned its 11 per cent drop in third-quarter gold production on maintenance work at sites including Lihir and Cadia East in eastern Australia.
Newcrest’s priority is now on bolstering cash flow, “not maximising production ounces,” chief executive Greg Robinson said.
Some of the world’s largest resources companies, including BHP Billiton and Anglo American, have been cutting spending, shelving major projects and looking to run existing operations harder after pledging better capital discipline after years of heavy investment in new mines. This has resulted in hefty job cuts across the industry.
Commodity prices from coal to gold slumped as mine supply increased, the US moved to tighten monetary policy and economic growth in China cooled.
Newcrest has curbed spending over the past 18 months, which included closing its Brisbane office. This came after a sudden halt to a more-than-decadelong bull run for the gold market. Spot gold prices are currently down about 25 per cent from 2013’s highs.
In February, Newcrest reported a slide in first-half net profit — to $40 million from the $323 million in the same period a year earlier — as it posted write downs against exploration assets and extra tax charges tied to research and development.
“I think there is more room for us to move,” said Mr Robinson of the company’s ability to cut costs further, on a call today with analysts and investors. He said the Lihir mine would be a focus for cash savings and productivity improvements in the period ahead.
It costs the company $1344 an ounce to sustain operations at Lihir, compared with $875 an ounce at its Telfer mine in Australia, and $381 an ounce at its Cadia Valley site.
Newcrest separately confirmed Mr Robinson would stand down in early July, and will be replaced by Sandeep Biswas. The former Rio Tinto executive joined Newcrest as chief operating officer in January with the expectation he would take over Mr Robinson’s role in the latter half of 2014.
Shares in the company were recently up 1.5 per cent, outperforming a 0.5 per cent rise in the broader S&P/ASX 200. While third-quarter gold output fell to 551,590 ounces from 621,125 last quarter, production was still up 7 per cent compared with a year earlier.
The company also stuck to earlier estimates that gold output would reach the higher end of its 2.0-million ounce to 2.3 million-ounce guidance range this fiscal year.
Still, some fund managers are cautious. “Its balance sheet remains quite constrained, burdened by too much debt, and some of its major assets are simply being run for cash generation, which I believe is a very short-term approach,” said Ben Lyons, a Sydney-based portfolio manager at ATI Asset Management, who sold his fund’s holdings in Newcrest about 18 months ago.
In its half-year report in February, Newcrest said its operational cash flow had nearly halved, while debt-to-equity level jumped above 30 per cent from 17 per cent in the same period a year earlier.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Strong quake hits off Papua New Guinea

An earthquake with a magnitude 7.5 struck off Papua New Guinea yesterday and a tsunami warning was briefly issued for the Pacific Island nation and neighbouring Solomon Islands, but there were no immediate reports of damage.
The quake, at a depth of 10 km, struck 68 km southwest of Panguna on the island of Bougainville, the US Geological Survey said, revising down the magnitude from an initial 7.8.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center later cancelled a tsunami warning for Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands and there was no threat to neighbouring Australia or across the Pacific Ocean.
At least six strong tremors have hit near Bougainville in the past week or so, including a magnitude 7.3 on April 11, but there have been no reports of major damage.
“Certainly it has been very active, more active than usual,” said Jonathan Bathgate, a seismologist at Geoscience Australia.
“(The spate of earthquakes) is relieving some pressure on this faultline, but we can’t rule out another large earthquake.”