22 Feb 2021
The PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum would like to congratulate St Barbara Limited on its announcement of the appointment of Papua New Guinean Iso Ealedona as General Manager of its Simberi Operation, a gold mine located on Simberi Island, New Ireland Province.
50-year-old Ealedona is the first ethnic Papua New Guinean to head an operation owned by a resource company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange company.
Ealedona was previously the Head of Operations; a role he held for the past seven months, and this fulfils St Barbara’s long-standing commitment to succession planning.
From Misima Island in Milne Bay province, Ealedona is a mining engineer and pioneer of the Papua New Guinea University of Technology (UNITECH) mining degree program.
He has over 26 years of experience in the industry working in Australia for Rio Tinto Iron Ore and in PNG at Misima, Ok Tedi, Hidden Valley, Lihir and now St Barbara’s Simberi Operations.
His rich industry experience includes operational leadership, technical services, maintenance, safety management and business transformation.
“As a recognised employer of choice, we are proud to be the first public company (ASX listed) operating in Papua New Guinea to entrust this important role to a capable indigenous Papua New Guinean with the right skills and experience to lead our 1200 strong workforce at Simberi. We are at an important stage of operations at Simberi, as we continue to productively mine the oxide deposit and plan for a bright future via the Simberi sulphide project. Iso will capably lead us through this transition as we support our Simberi community, contribute to New Ireland Province and deliver on our commitments to PNG and its people,” said Craig Jetson, St Barbara’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.
“St Barbara is committed to creating a workplace where our talented people can reach their full potential in their chosen field and expertise. This key appointment is a milestone in our path towards nationalisation. It reflects St Barbara’s succession management and is aligned with our commitment to develop and promote great PNG professionals,” said Mr Jetson.
Mr Ealedona was humbled by the appointment.
“It’s an honour to lead, on behalf of St Barbara, a mining operation in my home country. With the St Barbara executive, Simberi leadership team and the workforce behind me, I am determined to lead Simberi safely and successfully through this transition period of oxide to sulphide mining for the benefit of all stakeholders,” said Mr Ealedona, who commutes between his home village of Siagara on Misima, and Simberi.
Of the 750 employees at St Barbara’s Simberi Operations, 96% are Papua New Guinean nationals.
The company says it is committed to empowering its people and creating diverse teams where, in a safe and healthy work environment, talented Papua New Guineans are inspired and supported to reach their full potential.
Since 2009, Simberi mine has delivered K84.3 million in royalties, paid an annual 0.5% production levy and contributed over K97.4 million in contracts to landowner businesses. In 2020, the company paid over K28 million in income tax.
Other community benefits delivered since 2012, when St Barbara acquired the mine, amount to over K119 million. They include health and education infrastructure development, roads and bridges maintenance, cocoa farming, mariculture projects, education scholarships and employment and training of Simberians and the rest of Tabar islanders.