Bougainville weekly news summary: Mining,Mona ,Palm Oil, Sir Peter Barter and referendums

Mona

 

Picture above Mona Festival which starts today in Buka

LONG TERM BOUGAINVILLE MINING LAW PROGRESSES

BY JENNIFER NKUI

A workshop was conducted in Buka last Friday to brief the ABG Cabinet and senior Bougainville public services officers on the draft Act of the Long Term Bougainville Mining Law.
The workshop was conducted by experts and the Bougainville team to seek the views of the ministers on the draft Act.
In a joint statement, deputy president Patrick Nsiria and minister for natural resources Michael Oni said the mining department has worked for seven years to develop a policy framework for a long term mining law which will meet Bougainville’s special needs.
They said the ABG’s aim was for a new law that truly meets our special needs and follows the world’s best practice or is even better than that.
They added that the cabinet members were satisfied that the long and detailed draft Act and regulations give effect to the ABG’s previous decisions on policy and give us a best practice law.
The deputy and his minister explained that the draft ‘Long Term’ Act builds on the foundation of the Bougainville Transitional mining Act.
They said it provides a framework making small scale mining by Bougainvillians legal and maintains the abolition of the Bougainville Copper Agreement, the SML created by it and all exploration licenses held by BCL since the 1960’s.
They added that the ‘Long Term’ also deals with many things that are not covered by the Transitional Act explaining that these new things were not covered in the Transitional Act because it was a temporary act.
The two pointed out that the ABG moved quickly to develop an interim mining law because it was worried about back door deals being made by unscrupulous outsiders and it also faced possible action of the National Government taking majority ownership of BCL.
They stated that the ABG is now satisfied that we have achieved what we wanted with the transitional Act and they are now very pleased to be able to move on to work hard to have a much more detailed, comprehensive and best practice law that meets Bougainville’s needs.
The ABG aims to finalize and pass the new mining Act late this year or early next year after public awareness and consultations have been made about the draft ‘Long Term’ Act which the ABG is committed to doing.

Sir Peter Barter joins Panguna planning process

sir-peter-barter-buka

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The Joint Panguna Negotiation Committee (JPNCC) has been boosted by the support of eminent businessman and former senior political figure Sir Peter Barter.

Sir Peter has been appointed as the Independent Chair of the Multi Party Trust Fund that administers the funding for JPNCC projects which include social, economic and environmental studies relating to the possible re-opening of the Panguna mine.

After an eight-year absence, Sir Peter was warmly welcomed back to Bougainville by a greeting party including a traditional dance troupe from Takuu Atoll.

“One of the reasons I have chosen to be here today is to see whether or not we can move forward and create an economy, which is needed to make this province truly autonomous,” Sir Peter Barter told the audience at Buka Airport.

“We have no autonomy without an economy.”

In his 15 years as a Member of Parliament, Sir Peter served as Minister for Bougainville Affairs and Minister for Inter-Government Relations.

He was integral in brokering the peace agreement, in 2007 relinquishing his seat in parliament to take on the role of Paramount Chief Masalahana (Peacemaker) in Bougainville.

Like the composition of the JPNCC, the board of the Multi Party Trust is drawn from the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the National Government of PNG, landowner representatives from the Panguna area and Bougainville Copper Limited.

The Multi Party Trust board meetings are held the day before the JPNCC convenes. The next meeting will be held on Thursday 2 October in Port Moresby

palm

Oil Palm Project

Picture :The Autonomous Bougainville Government President, Chief Dr John Momis had the chance to visit the Aberdi Oil Palm project on the Philippine Island of Mindanao and located on the outskirts of Cagayan de Oro City last Saturday Anthony Kaybing
As the time for Bougainville’s Referendum period forecloses Bougainville now has to seek ways to strengthen its capacity to meet the requirements of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
With the slow negotiations on the correct calculation of the Restoration and Development Grant and the outstanding amount owed to the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the government has decided to look into possible foreign inward investment.
The Autonomous Bougainville Government President, Chief Dr John Momis had the chance to visit the Aberdi Oil Palm project on the Philippine Island of Mindanao and located on the outskirts of Cagayan de Oro City last Saturday.
The President was wholly impressed by the oil palm project which has built its own refinery to refine the palm’s crude oil and start producing products from food to cosmetics.
President Momis also had the chance to see firsthand how the processing of the palm oil takes place and refined with a visit to the projects laboratory was also included.
The President said with the palm oil industry offering a lucrative market he believes Bougainvilleans should look into this industry as an alternate cash crop.
“Bougainville can have a set up like the one at ABERDIN, while cutting off all middlemen and ensuring that we maximize the benefits for all Bougainvilleans,” the President said.
“We have a lot of arable land that we can use for extensive agricultural development, that can provide employment and revenue for the government and people alike,” he added.
With Bougainville’s own Inward Investment Act already in place, this will guarantee the ABG and the people of Bougainville are not marginalized in any awry business deals with possible foreign investors.
Bougainville’s own oil palm project at Torokina has gone into an indefinite hiatus and its future remains uncertain but the Government is still adamant it will get the project moving only and after it resolves all issues pertaining to its suspension.
The President’s visit to Aberdin was facilitated by A Brown Energy and Resources Development, Inc. (ABERDI), which is a subsidiary of A Brown Company, Inc. which is engaged in the real estate development business primarily in the Philippines.
The company operates through the Real Estate, Manufacturing/Trading, Hotel, Agriculture, Resource Development and Power segments.

BOUGAINVILLEANS ARE READY FOR REFERENDUM
BY JENNIFER NKUI

Despite the government’s attention being turned to mining, the people of Bougainville are ready for referendum.
This statement was made by Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) general Ishmael Toroama last week.
He told New Dawn Fm in an interview that despite senior leaders coming out and saying that Bougainville is not ready for referendum, the people of Bougainville are ready for referendum.
He said what the government must do now is to push the people one step ahead to make their preparations for referendum.
He added that in preparations for referendum, we cannot be ready now but we need to be prepared and the people of Bougainville need to be prepared.
Mr. Ishmael challenged the members saying the people voted for you and you should not be sleeping.
He pointed out that collective effort is needed from all Bougainvilleans if we are to achieve referendum because the agreement binds us together.
He urged the government to not divert their attention to mining but must come together and work together in order for us to achieve referendum.

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