Bougainville voice of Simon Pentanu”let not outsiders pit us against ourselves”

A Bougainville voice:

Simon Pentanu

AUSTRALIAN NGO Jubilee Australia published a report in September on views held by villagers near the mine on the re-opening of the Panguna mine in Bougainville.

SEE OUR REPORT and reports in Bougainville24

Jubilee, which claims to be a “scientific research body”, prepared the report jointly with two highly partisan organisations, the International State Crime Initiative and the Bismarck Ramu Group.

Kristian Lasslett, an Ulster-based Australian academic who is a constant purveyor of attacks on the Bougainville leadership, generally with little or no evidence, was heavily involved in the preparation and writing of the report.

In response to criticism of the report in the social media, Lasslett has defended himself and Jubilee notably in posts on the PNG Mine Watch blog (run by the Bismarck Ramu Group) and on Facebook’s Bougainville Forum.

Australians, Vicki Johns and Dantares Midway Jones (aka Andrew Jones) and Australian-based Bougainvillean, Clive Porabou, have all joined Lasslett in defending the report on the Bougainville Forum.

Jubilee and these others domiciled abroad will have us believe that they know more about Bougainville than anyone living on Bougainville and that they are privy to the personal views of the majority of Bougainvilleans today, including mine site landowners.

The spread of these dubious “research findings” in Australia can be likened to a new malady that is about to hit Canberra, the cure for which only the bearers of the ill tidings possess and can administer.

Jubilee is at the forefront and is in this for exposure and publicity, not for the benefit of Bougainville.

Every time these desktop researchers return to their own countries after a very brief foray into their own mystical Bougainville, they carry a hastily packaged fantasy that reveals the ‘undeniable truth’ about what the majority of Bougainvilleans think about Panguna.

Jubilee is in Australia. They believe that a brief visit by anti-mining Bougainville researchers to Panguna, armed with questions to which they already ‘know’ the answers, provides better credentials than they had as remote-controlled observers of Bougainville from afar.

After ticking off their questionnaires, the organisation can make a jubilant exit, highly satisfied that their “research” confirms what they always believed.

With a prejudice and orientation against anything and everybody engaged in, or supportive of, what they see as the sordid business of mining, organisations like this will always be predisposed to searching and commenting to satisfy and confirm their very own views, which they can then confidently sell to Canberra.

Kristian Lasslett works and schemes from Ulster in Northern Ireland (UK). On matters concerning Bougainville he is the self-made expert – chopping, pasting and moulding Bougainville like plasticine to be forced into his desired shape and form.

Like the operatives at Jubilee, he drives a metal car, flies in metal planes and eats, I assume, mainly with metal cutlery. He and the Jubilee operatives do not suffer from metal fatigue, despite their disdain for industries that extract useful minerals.

Kristian will swear by his comments and views, defend them and feed them to anyone who likes to lap up tales of deceit and conspiracy against Bougainville by mining giants and governments.

At best he is a socialist, born to save the world’s downtrodden. At worst he is a Trotskyite, peddling and romanticising his thoughts around Melanesia.

He is a smooth operator, armed with mind-boggling academic qualifications, but why should PNG and Bougainville take notice of him?

He does not add value to our attempts to resolve our issues on Bougainville island, or in PNG for that matter. His activities simply feed his own ambitions.

He tells us that he knows Bougainville from the 1960s, though his appearance indicates he was barely an adolescent at the time of the Bougainville crisis.

He arrived after the crisis, well after the peace process took hold, only to collect the crumbs when the smorgasbord was over. This is obvious in his comments about wanting to return to Bougainville’s past. Bougainvilleans be warned: this fellow cannot be trusted.

There’s little I can say about Vikki John. I believe she’s relatively harmless because I understand she rarely expresses her own views, assuming she has some. Apparently, her function is to cut, paste and disseminate any anti-mining material she comes across, in order to alert poor, ignorant Bougainvilleans to the dangers of doing further business with notoriously nasty mining companies.

I don’t know who DAntares Midway Jones (aka Andrew Jones) is, but I gather he has been searching for his ancestry/roots, as his interchanging name suggests.

He has suddenly splashed himself onto the Bougainville scene with grandiose ideas for the salvation of the island and its population. He believes he has a profound proposal to rid Bougainville of its muddled past.

He proposes a Peoples Tribunal with draft terms of reference comprising Bougainvilleans who will preside as judge, jury, prosecutor and terminator. He even has a Tribunal Facebook page.

He claims he has aboriginal ancestry. He dons a Fidel Castro type cap, is clad in khaki clothes with an Australian Aboriginal flag badge sewn on the breast and he sports a Fidel Castro beard. He is calm, cool and does not flinch at his critics.

I don’t know where he popped up from. He says he made a single visit to Bougainville, a lone trip that has convinced him that he knows Bougainville well enough to insert a Tribunal there to disable the culprits responsible for the island’s demise.

He has some strange ideas about what might be best for Bougainville. He impresses me as someone who has probably been wandering around admiring rock drawings in arid caves and sacred aboriginal sites and suddenly thinks he is sufficiently indigenous to transplant himself into another traditional society like Bougainville.

Clive Porabou is the next best thing to cheese, biscuits and shiraz. Just as these tasty and intoxicating items make party conversation flow freely, Clive’s presence and discussion with the likes of the people I have mentioned above make their adrenalin flow from both excitement and anger.

Clive lives abroad and, for those who have no personal experience on Bougainville, he is the Bougainville expatriate expert who satisfies the appetite of a certain mould of Australian academic, environmentalist, social psycho and welfare benefactor.

Always with an acoustic guitar in hand, he longs for the day when Bougainville might be governed by Me’ekamui, financed by Noah Musingku’s new Bougainville currency.

Hearing from Clive is enough to convince most non-Bougainvilleans that they have a duty to rescue Bougainville from bondage, and the government outfit to accomplish this is the version of Me’ekamui that Clive peddles abroad.

In truth, the Me’ekamui in central Bougainville have been consulting and beginning to work and cooperate with the Autonomous Bougainville Gobvernment (ABG), which was always bound to happen.

I can’t be too critical of Clive, because in his heart of hearts he will always remain a true Bougainvillean, but suspicious of his expat friends. It suits him fine if they are gullible enough to believe him, because as long as this unfortunate business lasts, he can continue to enjoy peace and a relatively convivial lifestyle offshore.

Take heart, the reason why most Bougainvilleans won’t whinge about, or flinch at, research that is carried out overnight from abroad is because it’s not worth the paper it’s written on.

If you were to enter the same Bougainville communities in the same locations and conduct your own research to extract a ‘yes to mining’ response, you would get it. It really depends on how the comments and questions are framed. The Jubilee research is simply a means to an end.

Jubilee, Kristian, Andrew Jones and all of these parties will always support such research and support each other. They are birds of a feather, flocking, scheming and screeching together. As some Bougainvilleans have commented in the Bougainville Facebook forum, this is all “bullshit”.

The ABG must make the Australian government aware that Jubilee is going to the Australian Parliament entirely of its own accord, without the knowledge, authority or respect of the ABG and most Bougainvilleans.

If we are not careful and if the ABG turns a blind eye, the confusion, disunity and anger these people can generate could pit Bougainvillean against Bougainvillean, community against community, clans and families against each other, and even the people against their leaders and government.

These are people coming into a society they really don’t know much about or understand. They are attempting to ride roughshod over the programs and projects the ABG and landowners have been involved in towards resolving every issue in Panguna.

There has been steady progress towards addressing many outstanding Panguna grievances that affect everyone, not just the sampling of villages Jubilee has selectively interviewed.

There are senior ministers in the Abbott government, like foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop, who always have an ear and heart for Bougainville. There is no reason why the president and senior bureaucrats who have the carriage of different aspects and areas of discussion over Panguna, e.g. Steve Burain, Raymond Masono and advisers like Dr Naihuwo Ahai, cannot approach Canberra and confront the Jubilee research.

This is how absurd it is: Jubilee operatives come to Bougainville, do their fact finding visit up the road, fold up all the work and turn up in Canberra unbeknownst to ABG and most of Bougainville.

They do not even have the courtesy to call on the authorities on Bougainville to explain or share what they have done. If this is not conspiracy against ABG, for reasons only known to themselves, then I don’t know what it is.

There is a real risk that foreign elements that have no responsibility or obligations on Bougainville and that are not accountable to anyone can derail fifteen years of peace process and reconciliation achieved without meddling from uninvited offbeat academics, latter day NGOs, busybodies and socialites that have nothing better to do in their own countries.

If they have nothing to contribute to their own governments and people, it is hard to accept the claim that their reconnaissance on Bougainville will enhance our future.

Bookgainville  Project on Bougainville PNG

 

Bougainville News : Major survey report finds re-opening of the mine should not be linked to independence of Bougainville

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Jubilee Australia has released its report ‘Voices of Bougainville: Nikana Kangsi, Nikana Dong Damana (Our Land, Our Future)’ at a series gathering of academics, representatives of non-government organisations and community members throughout Australia including Canberra which Bougainville News attended

The report reflects the voices of people living in the vicinity of the Panguna Mine, regarding the proposed re-opening of the mine by Rio Tinto subsidiary Bougainville Copper Ltd. Closed in 1989 by local communities devastated by the damage it had caused their environment and social structures, the mine’s closure was followed by a brutal ten-year civil war during which more than 10,000 people were estimated to have died.

For a copy of the report, see:   http://www.jubileeaustralia.org/page/resources

‘The people from the villages in the Panguna Region are those who have been most affected by the mine, and who will be most affected in the future should it reopen. It is vital that their insights be more deeply understood and considered by all of the parties involved,’ commented Brynnie Goodwill, CEO of Jubilee Australia.

Sixty-five people individually and one group of seventeen people, from villages in the vicinity of the mine, were interviewed regarding their feelings about the mine, the war that followed its closure, its potential re-opening and issues that still need addressing.

‘Huge number of abuses are still buried inside people’s hearts,’ said one villager from the Panguna region. (Report, p39).

People interviewed were also asked about how they saw development of their communities for the future. Concerns were raised that pressure to re-open the mine from the Australian and Papua New Guinea Governments, with the Autonomous Bougainville Government, have been linked to the long-sought after independence of Bougainville.

An almost unanimous view from those interviewed was that they did not want the re-opening of the mine to be linked to independence of Bougainville, but rather independence to occur first, and for Bougainvilleans to then determine their options for going forward. The report documents significant concerns about land being held for future generations, and an interest in exploring alternatives to large-scale mining to support an independent Bougainville.

‘While the report focuses on perspectives held by villagers in Panguna and the surrounding communities, these same views are shared by many Bougainvilleans across the island,’ said a member from the north of Bougainville attending the event.

For more information contact Brynnie Goodwill 0404 896 396 International +61404896396 brynnie@jubileeaustralia.org

And from the Guardian

A survey of Bougainville villagers has revealed strong opposition to the proposed reopening of the mine which was at the centre of the island’s decade-long civil war.

Media reports had suggested there was support for the Panguna copper and gold mine as a source of national revenue, with a referendum looming on the island’s independence from Papua New Guinea. The mine has been closed since 1989.

The Jubilee Australia research foundation conducted the survey in 10 villages or hamlets around the Panguna mine at the end of 2013, and found “near universal” opposition to the reopening, as well as unhappiness and mistrust of the consultation process.

The mine – majority owned by Rio Tinto’s Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) – has been central to Bougainville’s economy since the 1970s, but dissatisfaction with the way it was run and its environmental and social effects escalated into a civil war between 1988 and 1998.

It’s estimated as many as 15,000 people died by the time of the 2001 peace agreement, which included a deferred referendum for full independence, scheduled to occur between 2015 and 2020.

The Jubilee report, Voices of Bougainville, found continued resentment and mistrust of the PNG defence forces, Australia and BCL because of their roles in the conflict, and that this has led to mistrust of discussions around reopening the mine.

The report found a “sizable majority” of respondents felt that lasting peace had not been restored, despite an end to the violence. Smaller groups felt the peace process was an initiative to serve the needs of Australia or Papua New Guinea.

Respondents were also “deeply critical” of recent consultations about the mine, which they said had not fully included affected communities and certain demographics such as young people, women and elders.

“Others felt that there had been misleading statements in the media about the enthusiasm of Panguna residents for the mine reopening, and about what the reopening would mean,” the report said.

“We’ve been getting such a strong message from the media, but hearing things on the ground was quite different,” Jubilee’s chairman, Luke Fletcher, told Guardian Australia.

Fletcher conceded there was always the chance of self-censorship among respondents, and that the surveyed villages still had some connection to the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, but said the research was strong.

“I think we felt that the results are so clear that even if there has been a bit of self-censorship the picture we’ve got is certainly enough to question the main narrative.”

Fletcher suggested particular groups were pushing for an early referendum and this was likely to be linked to discussions around reopening the mine.

“Our feeling is that this urgency is one of the reasons why there is some pressure being placed on landowners to make a decision quickly,” Fletcher said. “Once Bougainville gets its independence, Bougainvillians might have more of a say in their future,” he said.

“It seems plausible to see the push to get an agreement in before the referendum as a push for certainty, both for people in Bougainville as well as outside interest groups, for example BCL.”

The Greens leader, Christine Milne, Labor MP Melissa Parke and independent MP Cathy McGowan will launch the Voices of Bougainville report in parliament next month.

Milne said it was “increasingly apparent” that Australian mining companies were not consulting local communities, that they were “making deals” with governments and that as a result local people had suffered.

“The civil war in Bougainville should really remain very front and centre in people’s minds, because there is no doubt that the mine was front and centre to that whole war erupting,” she told Guardian Australia.

“It’s pretty apparent the local community don’t want it, they see the environmental impacts and the social impacts, they don’t trust that they would ever see any benefit from the mine, because they haven’t in the past.”

In August, Rio Tinto announced it would be reviewing its options in BCL after the Bougainville parliament passed a bill stripping the company of seven exploration licenses and its special mining lease for Panguna.

BCL chairman Peter Taylor told the ABC the legislation was confusing and described it as a setback.

“It may be that Rio Tinto decides to pursue its investment, it may not, but I can’t speculate.”

Bougainville president John Momis said the legislation gave BCL the first right of refusal on the mining licence, but no more.

“If we didn’t [cancel the licences], the landowners and the ex-combatants wouldn’t have allowed BCL to come back,” Momis told ABC.

 

Bougainville Investment News: Update Nevis Announces Investment in Bougainville Development, LLC

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PRESS RELEASE : Nevis Announces Investment in Bougainville Development, LLC
Jul 21, 2014
OTC Disclosure & News Service Lake Kiowa, TX –

Nevis Capital Corporation (OTC: OCEE), is pleased to announce that they have signed a final agreement with Bougainville Development, LLC, a Mississippi Limited Liability Company, to acquire a 50% ownership of Bougainville Development in an all-stock transaction consisting of Nevis common stock.

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.

New Dawn report June 2014

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”.

President Momis said:

“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.

Tall J, O’orang & MTRL alluvial mining in the Tumpusiong Valley

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.

Tumpusiong Valley

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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Bougainville News : Information will be vital in Bougainville mine negotiations

Pan

An increased flow of information will be provided to Panguna landowners and other Bougainvilleans as they give consideration to a re-opening of the former copper mine, says the co-chair of the joint Panguna Negotiations Coordination Committee, Raymond Masono.

He said this is part of a strategy to ensure that Bougainvilleans are at the centre of decisions about the mine’s future.

“The exclusion of Bougainvilleans from decisions about development of the Panguna copper mine was a key cause of the Bougainville conflict.

“This is why customary landowners, the Autonomous Bougainville Government,  the National Government and Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL) are adopting a very different approach in considering whether the mine should be reopened,” said  Mr Masono.

“At the heart of this approach is a commitment by all parties that decisions on the future of the mine will rest with Bougainville.”

Prime Minister O’Neill and the Chairman of BCL, Peter Taylor, agreed with Bougainville President John Momis that strong support from the ABG and affected landowners is essential if the mine is to reopen.

“This is very different to what happened in 1969, when the key decisions were made by the Australian Colonial Administration and the mining company, which was then CRA Ltd,” Mr Masono said.

The transfer of mining powers from the National Government to the ABG and the development of Bougainville’s own mining legislation, are critical in ensuring that Bougainville is in control.

The other big change is that all of the major stakeholders will be closely involved in negotiations about the future of the mine, and will have access to the information they need to deal with the legacies of earlier mining and plan for the future.

“The JPNCC has been created to make sure that this happens,” Mr Masono said.

The JPNCC is a partnership between Panguna-affected landowners, the ABG, the National Government and BCL.

A key role of the JPNCC is to undertake baseline studies designed to establish the state of the environment, and existing social conditions, in areas surrounding the Panguna mine.

These studies, which will be conducted over the next 12 to 18 months, are essential to deal with the impacts of earlier mining and to inform decisions about whether the mine should be reopened.

“If people are to have trust in the findings of baseline studies they must be conducted independently, transparently, and to the highest technical standards.

“The JPNCC will ensure that this happens,” he said.

He said much remains to be done to improve communication of information about the baseline studies and other preparations to Bougainvilleans.

“An ABG survey of communication channels, both formal media and informal transfer of information, confirmed that people outside Buka have very limited access to mainstream media, including radio, television and newspapers,” he said.

“In response to these findings the JPNCC is developing a communication strategy focusing on face-to-face communication and delivery of print materials that are designed specifically to suit Bougainville conditions”.

New Bougainville Party launches Tonsu branch

THE people of Tonsu constituency in the west coast area of Buka Island recently witnessed the launching of the New Bougainville Party’s Tonsu branch.

The ceremony which was held at Petats Island last Wednesday was attended by party leader and President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, John Momis and his cabinet ministers, party president Linus Sahoto and other senior members of the party.

The event marks Tonsu as the first constituency in Bougainville to have set up its branch, thus showing that many people there greatly admire and support the current leadership of President Momis.

On top of that, Tonsu will shortly be having permanent executives that will be manning the party’s interest. During the 2010 ABG Elections, NBP was only operating on an adhoc basis in the Tonsu area.

Mr Momis and his delegation included ministers Joel Banam (Public Administration and member for Tonsu), Luke Karaston (Works), Wilfred Komba (Commerce), Rose Pihei (Culture and Tourism), Newton Kauva and others.

Bougainville News : President Momis to PNG Government “show me our money”

 

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The Panguna Mine funded PNG’s development from 1972 to 1989. Now, at the Peace talks, the PNG Government agreed to fund Bougainville’s restoration through a guaranteed share of PNG’s development budget,” President Momis said

Financing the Autonomous Bougainville Government according to the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the PNG constitutional laws is not a new program or an option for the National Government.

ABG President Chief Dr John Momis made this bold statement during the Joint Supervisory Board Meeting in Kokopo last Friday as he pointed out the National Government’s lax attitude in funding the ABG’s Restoration Development Grant.

“My Cabinet and I are getting more and more annoyed when we hear National Government officers and sometimes minister speaking of Bougainville’s requests for funding of the RDG as though these are new claims,” the President said.

“Our government’s entitlements are written into the Constitution of Papua New Guinea. Each government may share some blame for not getting this right from 2005, but that does make the provisions any less relevant,” he added.

When the Bougainville Peace Agreement was being negotiated the National Government’s finances were in a poor state and the National Government argued it could not afford to provide the massive sums needed to fund recurrent costs adequately and to restore infrastructure and service in Bougainville in what is now known as the Restoration and Development Grant.

The National Government team offered the Bougainville parties the rolling five-year average formula based upon the 2001 National Public Investment Program.

Their argument was that as Papua New Guinea’s economy improved Bougainville would benefit in the same proportion as the rest of the country, in other words the proportion of the National Development Budget would remain roughly the same as it was in 2001 and the rationale was primarily based around a concept of fairness.

“The Panguna Mine funded PNG’s development from 1972 to 1989. Now, at the Peace talks, the PNG Government agreed to fund Bougainville’s restoration through a guaranteed share of PNG’s development budget,” President Momis said

Under the RDG;s formulae proposed by the ABG’s share of the domestically financed Public Investment Programme will be around two percent but the formulae proposed by the National Government Bougainville’s share of the Development Budget will reduce dramatically to one third of the share it was in 2001.

Since the creation of Bougainville’s autonomous arrangement the RDG has remain stagnant at K15 m per year.
The President asked that the JSB seek to agree the RDG formulae and that the ABG want the 2015 paid at the correct rate to maintain services in Bougainville.

He also recommended that the respective Chief Secretaries of both governments sit down and agree on the appointment of a suitable mediator and arbitrator

Bougainville News: President Momis proposes new arrangement for engagement with PNG Government

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Reported by Anthony Kaybing : New Dawn FM Bougainville News :Picture above PNG Prime Minister on recent visit to Bougainville

The Autonomous Bougainville Government has called for the abolishment of the National Coordination Office of Bougainville Affairs (NCOBA).

The ABG made a proposal last year that NCOBA and its roles and functions should be reviewed and a joint review on Bougainville’s Autonomy Arrangements, now endorsed by both the ABG and National Government also recommended this.

The ABG is of the view that NCOBA should be replaced with a different entity that can better coordinate the efforts of the Bougainville’s state of affairs while also acting as a go-between the ABG and the National Government.

A proposed idea is that a Bougainville Government representative office be based in Waigani and to be managed by a Director and staffed by Bougainville public servants to undertake coordination and advocacy with the National Government its departments and agencies.

Another option that was raised was the creation of A Bougainville Affairs Ministry, unlike the present ministry that is aligned to NCOBA or there could be a small Bougainville Affairs office within the Department of the Prime Minister and National Executive Council (Policy Division).

ABG President Chief Dr John Momis believes that the proposed arrangements can manage its engagement with all National Government departments and agencies and work effectively and efficiently.

The current state in which NCOBA operates has come into question due to the fact that it has not been as effective and efficient as the ABG and bureaucracy along with the people can see fit.

During the JSB Meeting of this year in Kokopo, the ABG has asked the National Government that the entity be disbanded and allow for the creation of a new entity that will have both influence of governments and allow for clear liaisons between the two governments.

New Dawn FM understands that the best time NCOBA was seen as working was under the former Director, BILL DIM who is now in New Zealand.

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Bougainville News Alert : Push for late 2020 Bougainville PNG referendum ?

Radio New Zealand  and RADIO Australia are reporting  that an advisor to the autonomous Bougainville government says Papua New Guinea’s national leaders will likely set the date for the Bougainville referendum on independence.

LISTEN RADIO Australia Interview

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Anthony Regan  (pictured above) says there’s been relatively little focus among PNG’s national politicians on the approaching window for the referendum, which is to be held between 2015 and 2020.

“And as that date has to be agreed between the two sides, Papua New Guinea can effectively set the date as late as it likes up until 2020 so I think there’s a sense in Port Moresby that that’s probably what will happen. Although Bougainville can of course request an earlier date, it’s most likely that it’s going to be late.”

Anthony Regan was in New Zealand last week to give a lecture on Bougainville at Victoria University.

He says as Bougainville moves into this critical phase, there will be a need for considerable help from the international community over the range of complex issues that need to be negotiated with PNG in this phase

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