Bougainville Mining Breaking News : Momis anger at ongoing Rio Tinto injustice

JM $

 “Rio Tinto has made a unilateral decision. It failed to consult the Bougainville Government about distributing its shares.

At meetings with senior Rio officials, in July 2015 and February 2016, I warned strongly against transfer of Rio’s shares to PNG. It Bougainvilleans cannot accept National Government control over the future of Panguna through either majority or equal shareholding in BCL.

In past meetings, I insisted that Rio accept responsibility for mining legacy issues.

“When I met their officials last night in Port Moresby, they flatly rejected any responsibility for their contribution to the damage done by the Panguna Mine.

“Rio’s officials gave me two reasons for not accepting responsibility for mine impacts.

First, Rio operated under the PNG law of the day. Second, they were forced out of Panguna by the conflict.

It’s now clear the BCA was deeply unjust. It ignored environmental damage and social impacts”

Bougainville President, John Momis, today expressed anger at Rio Tinto’s decision to transfer its 53.8 per cent share in Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL).

International mining giant, Rio earlier announced transfer if its BCL shares to an independent trustee, for distribution to the ABG (36.4 per cent), and the PNG Government (17.4 per cent). PNG is already 2nd largest BCL shareholder. So the share distribution would see the governments equal BCL shareholders – 36.4 per cent each.

The remaining 27 per cent of shares are held by small shareholders.

Rio Tinto has been reviewing its BCL shareholding for almost two years. The review resulted in Rio deciding to end its investment in BCL, which ran the giant copper and gold mine at Panguna from 1972 to 1989, under the 1967 Bougainville Copper Agreement (BCA).

“We are open to PNG remaining a BCL shareholder. That may assist us find responsible partners and financiers for possible future operations at Panguna. But we cannot accept Rio Tinto’s interference in seeking to give PNG equal control over Panguna. There is no possibility of progress on resolving the future of Panguna on that basis.

“Rio Tinto has shown arrogance and ignorance in ignoring my warning. Sitting in their comfortable London offices, they have interfered in Bougainville’s affairs by deciding PNG should have equal control of BCL.

“Bougainvilleans are united in rejecting what Rio Tinto seeks to thrust upon us.”

The President also expressed deep anger at Rio Tinto’s refusal to accept responsibility for the environmental and other damage done by the Panguna mine. He said ”In past meetings, I insisted that Rio accept responsibility for mining legacy issues.

“When I met their officials last night in Port Moresby, they flatly rejected any responsibility for their contribution to the damage done by the Panguna Mine.

“Rio’s officials gave me two reasons for not accepting responsibility for mine impacts.

First, Rio operated under the PNG law of the day. Second, they were forced out of Panguna by the conflict.

But the truth is Rio Tinto generated huge revenues from what we all now know was the terrible injustice of its Bougainville mining operations.

The mine shut down in 1989 only because anger over that injustice generated demands for a renegotiated agreement.

“It’s now clear the BCA was deeply unjust. It ignored environmental damage and social impacts. Only a tiny share of mine revenue was distributed to landowners and to the North Solomons Provincial Government.

“The gross injustice of the BCA has since been recognised by Rio. As a result it made major changes to its own policies, especially in relation to landowners. It accepted new standards of sustainable development as a founder of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM).

“Rio is now deeply hypocritical in its blatant disregard of the higher corporate responsibility standards it says it has adopted.

“It now seems Rio has no commitment to social responsibility or sustainable development principles. It talks those principles only when that helps its profits. But it throws them out when costs to its bottom line could be involved.

“Now Rio Tinto proposes to walk away from responsibility for the effects of the injustice of its highly profitable operations.

“Rio cannot rely on grossly unjust past laws to escape its contemporary responsibilities for what we now know was wrong. Corporate social responsibility means responsible companies accept that their responsibilities go beyond the legal requirements of the day.

“I am writing to the Managing Director of Rio Tinto asking him to reconsider not only the Rio decision about its shares, but also its refusal to deal with its Panguna legacy responsibilities.

“I am also writing to the International Council of Metals and Mining asking them to end Rio Tinto’s membership because of its failure to honour the ICMM’s 10 Principles for Sustainable Development Performance.

“Finally, I am seeking the earliest possible meeting with Prime Minister O’Neill to discuss how best to defuse the dangerous situation created by Rio’s decision on its shares in BCL.”

 

 

 

 

 

Chief John L. Momis

President, ARoB

8 comments on “Bougainville Mining Breaking News : Momis anger at ongoing Rio Tinto injustice

  1. So the ultimate distribution of Rio’s shares “provides a platform for the ABG and PNG Government to work together on future options for the resource”. It seems more likely that Rio has masterminded another conflict between PNG and Bougainville – a form of punishment unleashed on Bougainville, as if the sacrifice of 20,000 lives and the ruination of countless others is not enough.

    • Warwick, The puppet colonials have not changed their colors for 3,000 Years. Why would you expect anything different. Their Recent 1,000 year history is slaughter, rape and pillage of every nation they expanded to. It is the real snake its self and all you have to do to end its reign is to cut off its head. Remember everything in geopolitics is strategically planned and carried out with military precision. Nothing-

      In looking deeper into this the colonials want the place to erupt into violent conflict as they engineered in the past conflict so that when full scale civil war is in full swing they will send in their peacekeepers and occupy under the pretext of helping stop the war. Then they will install their purchased Bouganvillean puppets and say for the country to flourish out of their organised ruins id to have Mining as the source of income-Back to what they want- a subservient broken people ruled by the elite and getting back on track with their mining operations for their own greed.

      If you don’t this this is a fact- educate yourselves, look at RIO’s history in every Country that they have been in, are still and you will recognise this truth.

      Bougainvilleans, ABG do not be mislead, you are being hoodwinked again by the snakes, seen and unseen.

      Wake up Bougainvilleans, you as a United Sovereign Nation own your own land, you own the land that was once leased to BCL- BCL has not fulfilled their part of the contract, therefor the contract is now voided and BCL and its parent co rio tinto are legally bound to pay for the cleanup and crimes against humanity.

      The international Mining association, The international courts, all other sovereign nations should and will get behind Bougainville to seek the justice it deserves. Rio Tinto & BCL, The Australian and Papua New Guinea Governments cannot and must not be able to negate their responsibilities in this matter and must be held accountable for their past and present actions in the eyes of the world. Anything Less is Criminal

      Bougainvilleans, you are not alone in this. Many people, companies and major corporations and Countries with balls are standing united with you to help you prosper in the face of this tiny wee snake. RioTinto & BCL and your puppet masters will from this day forward destroy yourselves until you wither and die the death you all deserve. so be it.

  2. Pingback: Together, civil society and the ABG must confront mining injustice | Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

  3. Pingback: Bougainville Mining Breaking News : Momis anger at ongoing Rio Tinto injustice | pngflavor

  4. RIO TINTO owes the people of Bougainville big time.

    “The people of Bougainville have faced exploitation, plunder and the defrocking of their sovereignty.
    Given prospecting rights on Bougainville, Rio Tinto (formerly CRA ) was let loose and plundered the island. This did not only result in monetary exploitation of Bougainvilleans but also in the devastation of their environment, flora and fauna. Their sacred grounds, the land of their ancestors, gone forever in the “jaws” of and in the name of modernisation and development.”
    See http://www.eco-action.org/dt/bvstory.html

    Rio Tinto and BCL have much unfinished business on Bougainville to repair the environmental damage that was wrought by the Panguna mine and to compensate a people for a lost generation of needless war.

    Deep in Bougainville’s heart beats an independence-day reckoning that will come. And only when all shares in Bougainville Copper Limited are in an independent Bougainville’s hands to be dealt with by them as they choose.

  5. RIO TINTO owes the people of Bougainville big time.

    “The people of Bougainville have faced exploitation, plunder and the defrocking of their sovereignty.
    Given prospecting rights on Bougainville, Rio Tinto (formerly CRA ) was let loose and plundered the island. This did not only result in monetary exploitation of Bougainvilleans but also in the devastation of their environment, flora and fauna. Their sacred grounds, the land of their ancestors, gone forever in the “jaws” of and in the name of modernisation and development.”
    See http://www.eco-action.org/dt/bvstory.html

    Rio Tinto and BCL have much unfinished business on Bougainville to repair the environmental damage that was wrought by the Panguna mine and to compensate a people for a lost generation of needless war.

    Deep in Bougainville’s heart beats an independence-day reckoning that will come. And only when all shares in Bougainville Copper Limited are in an independent Bougainville’s hands to be dealt with by them as they choose.

    The Bougainville Freedom Movement for over 23 years has exposed the truth and history of Bougainville’s struggle for freedom.

    See our leaflet from 1996 here. (CRA / RTZ mining companies unified to become Rio Tinto in 1997)

    http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/24/047.html

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