In financial year 2019 (FY19) Lihir produced 933,000 ounces of gold, and continued to improve safety performance. Lihir's operating costs in FY19 contributed K810 million to PNG suppliers for equipment, labour, maintenance, consumables, food, and fuel.
Newcrest paid K228 million in salaries and wages in FY19 to over 3,000 PNG people and is one of the largest employers in the resource sector.
The PNG Government was paid K143 million in combined salary and wages tax and corporate tax. In addition, Newcrest contributed USD361 million to the national account through the acquisition of K1.2billion in foreign exchange, making the company one of the largest contributors of foreign currency in PNG. Land-owners and New Ireland Provincial Government were paid K82 million in FY19.
Continuing to work closely and in partnership with their PNG community partners in FY19, Newcrest provided employment and training opportunities, and delivered a range of environmental, family, health, education and sporting programs. This included financial and inkind support to operate the Lihir Medical Centre, which currently delivers over 50,000 patient consultations each year, and the continued development of the successful Trupla Man Trupla Meri initiative.
Trupla Man Trupla Meri initiative
The Trupla Man Trupla Meri initiative was developed after Newcrest recognised a number of years ago that there was a contrast between the lives their PNG workers had on site and when they were at home. The contrast in these two environments was the catalyst for the introduction of the Trupla Man Trupla Meri initiative at Newcrest Lihir.
Trupla Man Trupla Meri empowers employees to recognise the challenges that exist as they move from the home culture to the work environment, initiating conversations that promote respect, safety, openness, honesty and trust. Trupla Man Trupla Meri focuses on preventing violence and anti-social behaviour, helping our employees and their families to build stronger communities.
Looking to the future
Newcrest recognises the value of supporting the younger generation in the areas of education and health in line with the PNG Government's national development objectives. Since 2017 Newcrest Mining has partnered with Australia Awards contributing towards improving maternal and neonatal health in PNG through the provision of midwifery and nursing scholarships for students from Morobe, New Britain and New Ireland.
On Lihir and surrounding New Ireland communities Newcrest is creating opportunities for local businesses that will extend beyond the life of the mine. In July 2019 the company launched the Apeketon Business Centre to support Small to Medium Enterprises (SME) by providing Business Development Services.
These services are designed to build the capacity of emerging Lihirian businesses through on the job training and ongoing mentoring support.
Another successful initiative, which was developed in partnership with local MP Walter Schnaubelt, supports approximately 2000 local women farmers at Namatanai by purchasing locally grown fresh vegetables used in the 7000 meals prepared daily for the mine site. Previously the fruit and vegetables were not sourced locally and are now delivered to a central market where they are sorted, weighed and sold.
This initiative assists local farmers to scale up production to commercial amounts which in time will be an opportunity for PNG to diversify its economy.
Newcrest also recognises the importance of supporting their communities during times of need. Recently, the eruption of Mt Ulawun in Bialla, West New Britain displaced more than 12,000 people and forced them into temporary care centres. Newcrest donated K100,000 for urgent water and food supplies and for the replacement of water tanks at local schools, so the children could have safe drinking water when they returned to school.
Wafi Golpu project
Newcrest continues to work with the government and local stakeholders to progress permitting of the Wafi-Golpu project with discussions recommencing with the PNG government on a Special Mining Lease.
Wafi-Golpu is an advanced exploration project located in the Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea (PNG), approximately 65 kilometres south-west of the port city of Lae, PNG's industrial hub and second largest city.
The project is owned by the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture (WGJV), an unincorporated joint venture between subsidiaries of Newcrest (50%) and Harmony Gold (50%), formed in 2008 The project is located in the Morobe Province, approximately 65 kilometres south-west of the port city of Lae, PNG's industrial hub and second largest city.
The WGJV considers people having access to sustainable income derived from direct or indirect participation in agribusiness to be fundamental to them achieving improvement in their livelihood and in community social upliftment, and for this improvement to extend for generations to come.
As a result, in 2010 the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture initiated a cocoa program called ‘Mining Chocolate'. This program was initiated in partnership with local NGO Bris Kanda, Huon Gulf District Development Authority, and later the Morobe Provincial Government, Business 4 Development, and most recently the PNG Cocoa Board.
WGJV under the ‘Mining Chocolate' program has invested more than K1.3 million supporting two Morobe farmer cooperatives, the Lower Watut and Babuaf Cooperative Societies, with these representing approximately 1200 cocoa farmers in the Wafi-Golpu Project area.
The ‘Mining Chocolate' program has enabled local farmers and communities to develop grassroots agribusiness initiatives, building sustainability into existing agri-businesses initiatives, and the ability to progress select partnerships with other cocoa entities.
Lower Watut cocoa beans placed in the top 5 of Paris Cocoa Show in 2015. Beans from the area placed 3rd in the 2017 PNG Cocoa Show of Excellence, and in the 2019 Cocoa Show of Excellence a cocoa sample from the Lower Watut took first prize.
It is estimated that more than 50,000 ha of agricultural land will be accessible through the Wafi-Golpu Project's supporting infrastructure and as such other agricultural opportunities such as coffee, rice, fruit, oil palm, and livestock are being explored with agribusiness development.
Newcrest owns and operates a portfolio of predominantly low cost, long life mines and a strong pipeline of brownfields and greenfields exploration projects. The reserve and resource base is strong, with current gold reserves representing more than 25 years of production at current rates.
Newcrest uses a variety of efficient mining methods for large ore bodies, together with selective underground mining methods to optimise high-grade epithermal deposits and porphyry deposits.
Operating mines are located in Australia, Canada, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.