The principal asset of Bougainville is a wholly owned subsidiary, Tall J(PNG) Ltd. of Papua, New Guinea, that has the contractual rights with the Papua Government to harvest the timber and to explore and develop the underlying minerals on 255,000 acres in Section 1645. Bougainville has a current investment in excess of $ 4,000,000 USD in this project.
Mr. Stephen Strauss, BD Director, estimates that production should commence within 12-15 months for delivery of finished materials to Asian markets. Surveys from ITTO estimate that this tract contains approximately 2.5 million cubic meters of timber valued at $ 1.3 Billion at current prices, generating estimated revenues of $ 37 Million annually over a 35 year production and reforestation cycle.
The Papua Government has endorsed the economic growth and development of their natural resources. Exxon Mobil has recently invested $ 19 Billion in Papua, NG, building one of the largest Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) projects in the world which began shipments in May with anticipated annual revenues of $ 7.2 billion.
Nevis Capital expects the operational profits from this investment, the previously announced US producing oil and gas investment and expansions thereof, the Macau Live Online Gaming investment, and initiatives to acquire interests in profitable Medical Marijuana ancillary product producers to rapidly increase shareholder value for this development stage holding company.
President of Bougainville, Chief John L. Momis, today challenged “Me’ekamui Government’s” Philip Miriori to be honest about Bougainville mining issues. He was responding to a statement saying discussions about mining can happen only after the referendum on independence, and calling for Australian advisers to “go home”.
“It’s amusing to see Mr. Miriori say mining can happen only after the referendum. For it’s widely known in Bougainville just how deeply involved Miriori is already involved in mining. It was he who worked closely with the Americans involved in Tall J Foundation Ltd. That company tried to do industrial mining of gold on the tailings on the Jaba River. But the people chased them away. Then a Chinese investor in Tall J. Tried to get his lost money back by bringing in Chinese to gather and sell scrap metal from Panguna. Then there is the Australian, Ian Renzie Duncan, at different times involved with Australian mining companies Zeus Resources and Trnaspacific Ventures. It was he who wrote Mr. Miriori’s speech delivered when Prime Minister O’Neill visited Panguna. It’s widely talked about in central Bougainville that Miriori is investing with Mr. Duncan, and that Duncan is taking alluvial gold supplied by Miriori.
“These are just a few of the mining interests that Mr. Miriori is involved in. It’s these and other mining interests that have take him off so regularly to meetings in Cairns, Brisbane, Perth, Singapore, and other business tourist destinations. Everyone around Panguna knows one thing for sure: no other Me’ekamui President has done more foreign travel than Miriori!
“But with all his deep involvement in mining already, how can he talk about decisions on mining waiting until after the referendum? I challenge him to be honest about his long history of mining interests.
“I also challenge him to be equally honest about foreign advisers. He says Australian funded advisers are not welcome. But these advisers have all been requested by the ABG to help us fill in gaps and weaknesses in the Administration. Although Australian funded, many are not Australian. They include Bougainvilleans. Until recently our legislative drafting adviser was from Vanuatu. Our Policy Adviser was from Bermuda – all paid for By Australia.
“For the ABG, the two most important things about our advisers are these. First, we only have them when we have a gap we cannot fill with a Bougainvillean. Second, they must follow the directions of the Bougainville Government. I am absolutely confident that they do that. They do not control the ABG. They are not here to make money for foreign companies.
“I challenge Mr. Miriori to tell us about his foreign advisers, and what they are doing to make money for foreign interests. They included two Americans with the Tall J Foundation, Stewart Sytner and Thomas Megas. There are documents freely available on the Internet that show they claim that Mr. Miriori sold them mining rights in areas to the north of the Panguna Special Mining Lease. I challenge him to tell us is what Sytner and Megas claim is true.
What about the other investors in Tall J? What advice did they give to Miriori? What about the Tall J investor who brought in the Chinese scrap metal dealers? What advice did he give? What about the advice that Mr. Ian Renzie Duncan gives?
“Mr. Miriori is not being honest about the future of mining. His hands are not clean in relation to mining.
“Mr. Miriori is not being honest about foreign advisers. Again his hands are not clean.
“I challenge him to be honest on these matters. I challenge him to enter these debates only when he has clean hands.
Leonard Fong Roka Feb 2013
As way back as 2008, an Edwin Moses from Sireronsi village and an Amos Ove from Kongara were in an underground contact with Americans, Steve Strauss and Mike Holbrooke. Their dialogue was an interest to tap into the lucrative alluvial gold panning in Central Bougainville.
Jaba Industries company logo
Then they connected the Americans and their company Tall J whom were said to be specialized in small scale mining to the so called Meekamui Government of Panguna led by Philip Miriori (president) and Philip Takaung (vice president) a pair that, when talking about BCL to the media had being so anti-mining.
In early 2009, Edwin Moses, Amos Ove and Philip Takaung formed their own company under the blessing of the Meekamui Government which they named O’orang with all executives from their respective villages and Amos Ove as the manager and Edwin Moses as director to start formal negotiations with the Americans.
Tumpusiong Valley sedimentattion that hosts the gold
After O’orang was established, Tall J money began entering Bougainville. O’orang was assigned to lay out the ground work for possible mining operations in Panguna, especially the Tumpusiong Valley where Amos Ove was married. The valley had tones of gold washed from the Panguna mine’s long operations and today it is one of the main alluvial gold attractions in Kieta. The company’s attempts to lure the targeted people were often met with opposition but the report that went to America was of positive progress.
So back in America, there was excitement to have established a link on one of Pacific’s richest islands and their landowners, from debriefs O’orang passed on from Bougainville. Thus money flowed in and O’orang members earned American money and drove around in new vehicles.
In mid-2009, the Americans and O’orang met in Honiara to finalize a go-ahead for a joint venture on establishing an alluvial gold mining operation in Panguna. A week later, a team of nine Americans arrived in Panguna with a Komatsu front-hand loader and three other equipment for sampling and other preparations under the leadership of Steve Strauss to learn that nothing had being done out of their money.
Jaba Industries operations site in the Tumpusiong Valley
Spending months in Panguna, with Philip Takaung also renting rooms to them, they tried to sort things out themselves. Half of the Americans returned seeing that their money was wasted on liars that the people hardly respected. Even Amos Ove was making his own money by having the mechanical loader on hire after they were chased out of the Tumpusiong Valley in their first attempt. But the other half stayed on under the leadership of Steve Strauss and Mike Holbrooke.
With the Americans around them and Amos Ove gone due to illness, Philip Takaung and Edwin Moses began to fast track negotiations with various people around Kieta. They visited the Eivo area; went into certain parts of Kokoda; frisked the whole Panguna valley for partners, especially the Tumpusiong Valley. They entered Kupe, where an Australian company once had a gold mining operation in the 1930s, three times and on the fourth visit, angry Kupe people chased them.
By Christmas 2009, all Americans left accept Strauss who was so concerned in finding ways to recover the money they had spent. By early 2010, the Americans had spent some K1.7 million through O’orang in order to secure alluvial gold mining operations with the people.
Mr. Michael Tona, MTRL deputy chairman
As the year was fast winding down Strauss saw no hope and was packing to leave Bougainville when a Michael Dendai and Michael Tona who were not involve in Tall J first attempts in the Tumpusiong Valley walked into him in Panguna with a claim that they and their families owned much of the west Tumpusiong Valley tailings area.
Strauss was relieved and forged an agreement with the pair and also donated an open bag land cruiser to serve the Tumpusiong communities that was controlled by Michael Dendai since.
In a series of meetings held at Panguna within a period of two months, a new company, Middle Tailings Resources Limited (MTRL) led by Michael Dendai and Michael Tona was born. O’orang also fought hard not to be left out in this new relationship and was accepted and Strauss again fought to secure more off shore funding for this new operation.
Closer look at the camp in the middle of the BCL created barren land
This time funding was secured from a Chinese partner and more Americans began to arrive to pave the way forward for the Tumpusiong project. And seeing the Chinese money on their hands Dendai and Tona carelessly fast tracked the go-ahead of the project without engaging the majority of the west Tumpusiong community members in decision making. But still the project was steaming on with the happy MTRL gang.
So the joint venture named as the Jaba Industries was consisting of O’orang owning 33.33% shares; MTRL owning another 33.33% and Tall J holding the last 33.33% of shares. In all three joint venture partners, the unidentified Chinese financier was catered for; that is, the Chinese were shareholders in all three companies. At the same time, Tall J had certain percentage of shares in the 33.33% shares owned by O’orang in Jaba Industries concerning the K1.7 million Tall J money O’orang corrupted.
All things sorted, equipment and plants, funded by the Chinese, began arriving one at a time for the whole of 2011 and half of 2012; plants were kept at Birempa on the Morgan-Panguna mine access road near Edwin Moses’ home. Plants include dump trucks, an excavator, a front-hand loader, a number of open bag land cruisers and gold processing equipment. And during the Christmas break of 2012, establishment began at Toku village in the western section of the Tumpusiong Valley.
With heavy sedimentation intact, the project could last
Alongside the development conflict also surfaced. The locals were brawling with the MTRL executives over decision making processes as landowners witnessing the fact that Michael Dendai was running the MTRL as his private business because on paper, collective decision making was the way and that majority beneficiaries should have being the community.
Also despite the fact that the men involved with the creation of MTRL were the close relatives of current ABG mining mister, Michael Oni, the parliamentarian have being said to knew nothing of this development. So people also public condemned MTRL and Jaba Industries as illegal businesses.
The main village of Toku further boiled with strikes. In a launching and dedication ceremony held in December 2012 just before Christmas at the mining site, the other half of the Toku villagers did not attend nor did they ate the food that was brought to them.
Furthermore, the locals were angered by the project when, all executive positions in the joint venture was held by the O’orang who were not even landowners in the Panguna mine site or the Tumpusiong Valley but were from the inaccessible by car hinterland villages of Pangka and Mosinau to the south-east of the Panguna mine who now squat in the remains of the Panguna township causing a lot of disharmony with the people owning the Panguna mine and town areas like the Moroni people and even the Panguna District administration.
Most of the Tumpusiong men were employed as security guards earning a K75 per fortnight. Plant operators and so on were the O’orang employees. And point of argument was, to the former BRA fighters, Mr. Dendai was not at home during the conflict and now was walking over them thus he was not accepted to be a sole decision maker in this project.
Somewhere in late 2012, the Chinese partner under the cover of Jaba Industries announced that it shall be releasing a K300 000 community development packet and two vehicles for the Tumpusiong Valley around the 2012 Christmas period. The people waited as they watched the test-run of the operations that produced a positive result in a week’s operation in January 2013 that was shipped overseas as a sample.
But to their dissatisfaction in the mid-January of 2013, a new accusation surfaced that the awaited K300 000 development packet was already deposited into Michael Dendai’s bank account in 2012. Without any hesitation, the villagers torched the gold processing equipment in broad day light.
After this, all Tumpusiong men working as security guards at the mining site walked off, with a demand to Jaba Industries to solve the issue or pack up and leave.
Posted by Leonard Fong Roka at 18:10
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