Workers return to Simberi mine

Business, Normal

The National

WORKERS were flown into the Simberi gold mine in New Ireland province over the weekend after Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) lifted the stop work order last week.
MRA lifted the order after miner Allied Gold Ltd, operating as Simberi Gold Co Ltd, said it had a plan to address issues raised by deputy Mines inspector Lave Michael.
It is understood MRA will be issuing a statement on this.
Mining and exploration work at Simberi should resume in the next few days after the Simberi Mine Area Association (SMAA) signed an agreement with MRA and Simberi Gold Co on certain issues which they wanted the company to observe during the review of the memorandum of agreement (MoA).
Reliable sources said on anonymity the agreement was signed last Friday after the customary gorgor was removed from certain facilities at the mine site.
The agreement covered several claims which included SMAA trust’s claim that Simberi management had not welcomed the review into the MoA.
SMAA community development facilitator Bernard Maris claimed the company had not made clear to MRA its development plans.
“SMAA has clearly conveyed to the company it will not entertain any pre-MoA discussion in areas where the company does not have any plans for commitment,” he said.
“The agreement was to acknowledge the issues that the landowners were raising and for the company to provide its position on the negotiations (MoA) and for the company to be committed,” a source from Simberi source.
MRA’s mine inspection branch had temporarily closed the mine on health, safety, and welfare issues and issued the stop work order last month covering all Simberi Gold’s tenements on Simberi Island.
The order followed an inspection of the mine carried out by Mr Michael on Dec 17 during which serious threats to public safety, health and livelihood were identified. The mine’s management was notified later.
The National previously reported Simberi Gold sought legal opinion on the legality of the closure order
The sources said negotiations between MRA, Simberi Gold management and SMAA during the last two weeks at some stages reached heated arguments due to many issues SMAA alleged were not carried out by the company. 
The mines inspectorate enforces and oversees compliance of health and safety standards in all mining operations in PNG under the Mining (Safety) Act and Regulation 1977.