Speech by President of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum - Gerea Aopi at the PNG Security Conference 2020
10 Mar 2020
Prime Minister, Honourable James Marape, Police Minister, Hon. Bryan Kramer, Members of Parliament, Police Commissioner Mr David Manning, distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
It gives me great pleasure to be here this morning to speak at this auspicious event. I thank the organisers of this conference for inviting me as President of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum to share with you, what we as an industry are doing in the technology and security space in this country.
This is the first time the Chamber has been asked to speak at this conference and to bring to the fore what we are doing to improve efficiency and productivity in our mining, and oil and gas projects using latest technologies and inovations.
I must state from the outset that what I am about to present are examples of systems and innovations some of our projects are using, but that is not to say that this is all we are doing. In fact our projects, as many of you would appreciate are complex in terms of the systems of technologies we are required to adopt, and or implement in some of the most remote and complex operating environments anywhere in the world.
I would like to thank Ok Tedi, Kainantu Mine, Wafi Golpu Joint Venture, ExxonMobil PNG, and Oil Search Ltd for contributing to this presentation.
There are other speakers at this conference from our industry that will be speaking on cyber security and cyber crime. The impact of successful cyberattack on businesses as we know can include financial loss, theft of intellectual property and loss of customer confidence. For individuals this can lead to loss of money and cause emotional harm.
Ladies and gentlemen, firstly for the benefit of those who do not know the Chamber. We are a non-profit, peak industry association that advocates for the mining and petroleum industry in PNG. We have been operating for the last 30-plus years with memberships spanning across the different sectors of our economy, including mining and petroleum.
Apart from hosting international and in-country conferences, workshops and seminars, and producing industry relevant publications, the Chamber provides the interface between Government and the industry on key policies and legislations that impact the industry and the country.
PNG is host to some of the world’s biggest mines such as the Ok Tedi, Porgera and Lihir, as well as oil and gas projects - PNG LNG project, operated by ExxonMobil and the oil fields by Oil Search.
The country has a well-established mining and petroleum tradition, sound resource and environmental legislation, geologically highly prospective and relatively unexplored, and has had a track record of successful developments in the past.
The two maps on your right shows the different projects in mining, and in petroleum. From this, you can see how isolated and remote most of these projects are, and why some of the technologies we are using are essential to maintain safety, and efficiency of our projects.
Mining and Petroleum projects in PNG are embracing the changes and the availability of innovative and technological advancements to improve production efficiency, and capability, and ensure safe and secure operating environments for our workforce.
The use of remote controlled dozers that are being used for last 15 or 20 years in several mines of the country, including the use of autonomous mining equipment in underground mines have had significant positive impact on operations, in particular, removing humans from hazardous environment.
Resource projects have also began to partner with leading developers of technologies globally to research, develop, and sometimes customise different technologies that suit the tough operating environment of our projects.
There is a perfect example of how we are collaborating with software companies outside of the country to improve project performance at one of our mines which I will talk about later.
The use of CCTVs for security purposes has become ever more important, partly due to the law and order challenges many of our projects are faced with. Cyber security is another important area our projects are ramping up on because of the immense and mostly sensitive data which projects produce. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m sure some of our projects who are presenting at this event will discuss these challenges and the signifant impact it can have on their business.
Over the years, we have seen many of our projects using unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. Whilst this technology has been around for some time now, PNG like most other developing countries, are just starting to appreciate the importance of drones in relation to mining, and petroleum.
Resource projects are using drones for surveying and mapping such as in Porgera where drones are being used to conduct open-pit surveys for stockpile management, mine monitoring and operation planning, hazard identification and mitigation, assessments and inspections before-and-after blasts or mining, infrastructure updating, and security.
The project has also seen improved efficiencies in safety as a result of using drones. It removes mine workers from areas not accessible by foot, and limit interactions with working machineries.
Production has also improved because of this simple technology. There are now minimal production delays in areas such as daily and weekly mine planning and stockpile management.
We are also seeing upcoming resource projects such as the Wafi Golpu project, which will be PNG’s first block-cave mine, using drones to do surveying and mapping.
The mine continues to spend significant resources and money on drones and related software/apps, as well as on training of local people.
Drone surveying has significantly assisted the project’s resettlement team collect important data on things like how many gardens and households are in targeted villages, and track any changes to land use over time. It has essentially given the project a bird’s eye view of the communities in relation to compensation, and land use.
Other companies like Ok Tedi, and the Oil Search are also using drones for surveying, engineering, roads and civil works, and security purposes.
The use of CCTV systems is not a new phenomena, nor is it a new technology in PNG.
As operations increasingly become complicated and complex, the need for CCTVs and how this technology is used is increasingly becoming important.
Ok Tedi uses cameras within its Tabubil township as well as at the Mine. This year the mine is rolling out CCTV cameras in its mill and its dredging site in Bige.
The mine’s security have a dedicated monitoring room showing screens with the various cameras. This technology is reliant on the mine’s backbone communications in fibre and wireless connectivity.
CyberSecurity is another important area our projects are treating significantly as this world continues to grow towards a digitial future.
Oil Search also uses CCTV extensively through its operational sites. This has extremely helped the company monitor and cover remote locations.
The two images on the screen on your left are examples of what the company’s CCTV cameras capture. At first glance you might think these were gabbage bags, but a closer inspection reveals that these are actually humans hiding inside those bags. Company security personnel come across such bizarre situations often. However, there is always this challenge of how do you effectively use CCTVs to curb potential security issues.
In 2018, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck PNG’s Hela Province, causing widespread devastation and deaths. Its devastating force affected parts of Southern Highlands and Western Provinces as well.
Oil Search which is established in the heart of this region as operator of PNG’s producing oil fields and condensate handling facilities at the Central Processing Facility (CPF) in Southern Highlands was impacted.
Companies like ExxonMobil who have operations globally, bring onshore technologies and systems they have used in their others projects. However, because of the uniqueness of PNG LNG project, the implementations of such technologies are the first for the country as is the case with their work with Acoustic Resenenance Technology or ART.
In 2019, ExxonMobil PNG was the first in the world amongst its other operations to use the ART with its Pigging device during one of its major scheduled maintenance work to the gas pipelines. As the pigging device moves through the pipeline, the ART measures the wall thickness and geometry. The tool has a specified velocity that it needs to travel at for it to obtain sufficient quality data
The Ok Tedi mine has commenced rolling out its Operator Performance Analytics to improve safety and productivity. The objective of this innovation is to make operators more accountable towards equipment health and fully utilizing mining equipment.
Kainantu Mine is currently operating a jumbo drill that is semi-autonomous and can drill during shift changes with no operator. The same mine is also about to implement its tele-remoting so that it can operate loaders from the surface or anywhere during shift change and blasting times.
Ladies and gentlemen, there are many other systems and technologies our resource industry are using. And the exciting thing about all these is that Papua New Guineans are at the forefront of operating, managing, and implementing these technologies.
Resource companies invest significant time and resources into training. With the change of technology, it is paramount that we ensure our people are fully trained on such changes.
Last year, Newcrest Lihir’s Louis Wanpis was the first Papua New Guinean to become a certified Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or drone pilot.
The survey technician and five other employees conducted an Australian and PNG CASA-certified course to fly drones.
The images Wanpis takes with his drone are used to make aerial maps.
The Kainantu Mine has also commenced its drone training program to start recording, tracking and measuring stockpiles and survey mine infrastructures.
As the resource industry continues to grow, I am certain many of our local employees working in resource projects will be exposed to these new technologies but also be innovative.