Bougainville News: President Momis slams Jubilee Panguna report as ‘Irresponsible’

 

President Momis

Jubilee Australia Report ‘Irresponsible’: Bougainville President

The President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ABG), the Honourable Chief John Momis, has attacked a recent Jubilee Australia report on Bougainville’s Panguna mine, describing it as misleading and irresponsible.

The mine, operated by Bougainville Copper Ltd (53 per cent owned by Rio Tino) at Panguna, in Bougainville, from 1972 to 1989, when it was closed by violent conflict. It has not reopened since.

The Report has been released by Jubilee ( www.jubileeaustralia.org/page/resources) and was  launched at public functions in Sydney and in Parliament House in Canberra by Christine Milne, Leader of the Greens.

The President said: ‘The Report is factually inaccurate, biased, methodologically unsound, and dishonest in claiming that interviews with 65 individuals selected by its authors from the 10,000 or so people in the affected areas allows it to represent the voices of them and the 300,000 people of Bougainville.’

The Jubilee Report claims that the voices of mine-affected communities ‘have been distant from recent public discussion’ about the possible reopening of the Panguna, closed since 1989 as a result of the Bougainville conflict. The Report is critical of ABG consultation with landowners which Jubilee suggests have largely excluded communities around the mine.

‘Far from being excluded, affected landowners have been at the centre of all discussions regarding Panguna since they commenced in 2009’, said President Momis.

‘There may indeed be individuals who have not been able to, or have chosen not to, participate in consultations. In part this reflects the ABG’s extremely limited resources, and the real barriers of geography and politics that we face, including an armed dissident road block which has restricted access to the Panguna area for 17 years.

‘But the ABG and representative landowner associations have gone to great lengths to overcome these barriers, undertaking numerous consultations at village and regional levels and with all major Bougainvillean stakeholders.

‘The overwhelming response is support for reopening the mine, but only if it can be done in a way that avoids the extremely negative effects of earlier mining and ensures that Bougainvilleans receive a fair share of mining’s benefits’, said President Momis.

‘But’, he said, ‘all the 65 individuals selected by Jubilee for interview are reported to be against reopening the mine. Such an outcome does not seem credible unless the researchers interviewed only people that they knew opposed mining.’

Jubilee statements to the press go further, claiming ‘near unanimity among the Pangunans that they do not want mining’. President Momis said: ‘This being an area where mining caused great harm, there are individuals and some communities who oppose mining. But nothing in Jubilee’s Report substantiates this gross overgeneralization and misrepresentation’.

President Momis refuted Jubilee’s allegations that the ABG has ‘initiated a campaign to reopen the Panguna mine’. He said: ‘If the strict conditions sought by the landowners and the ABG cannot be satisfied, the ABG will not allow the mine to be reopened’.

The President has today written to the Board of Jubilee Australia saying: ‘The Jubilee Report is deeply flawed. Jubilee Australia’s Board bears responsibility for allowing such a misleading and irresponsible document to be released, and for limiting and redressing the damage it can cause.’

 

 

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 Political News: Many questions on Bougainville’s unity -Momis

President Momis welcomed by Bougainvillean students

“The only intelligent and legitimate way of bringing about unity is to create a structure that empowers people and recognizes the important principal of subsidiarity and only then will we work together in solidarity,”

President Momis pictured above being greeted by Bougainville students

There are currently many questions on Bougainville’s unity but this unity cannot happen with the imposition of uniformity amongst the people.

Autonomous Bougainville Government President Chief Dr John Momis expressed this sentiment during a Seminar hosted by the University of Papua New Guinea Bougainville Students Association themed Gathering Intellectual Capacity toward our Journey to Referendum.

“The only intelligent and legitimate way of bringing about unity is to create a structure that empowers people and recognizes the important principal of subsidiarity and only then will we work together in solidarity,” President Momis said.

“Human solidarity will only come about when we recognize the differences between us and the importance of working together,” he added.

The President said the people of Bougainville have a vision and that is to reject corruption, they are rejecting manipulation, they are rejecting the syndrome of dependency and they are rejecting disempowerment and injustice.

“People are demanding the right to forge a new society based on natural justice and perennial principals that outlast any political or economic system,” he said.

President Momis also warned that people who are not imbued with such a vision are very dangerous, they maybe skilled but their skills will be abused and misused against the very society which they are called upon to build.

President Momis told the students that it is very important that education institutions must put a lot of emphasis on human formation.

“People must be formed on perennial values that outlast any of the pragmatic things that people are pushing in the world today,” he said.

“Bougainville as we discern the signs of the times, it is quite clear what the people want; they want to be intelligent active agents of change and mere passive reciepients of benefits,” the President said.

President Momis said this does not mean the people of Bougainville want to do things on their own but it means they want to take an active part in development and to be engaged in an intelligent and collaborative manner.

President Momis with Sam Akoitai

Amongst the key speakers at the seminar were several Bougainvillean leaders such as the Regional Member, Joe Lera and former Minister for Mining, Sam Akoitai as well as UPNG Vice Chancellor, Albert Mellam and several Bougainvillean students.

President Momis with UPNG students

Bougainville News : Testing times for Bougainville’s mining future


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A lone copper dump truck that was completely burned out during the crisis at Panguna mine. Photo by Ian Booth.

Autonomous government needs to weigh the cost and benefits of extractive industries, writes MATTHEW ALLEN. 

The recent passage of new mining legislation on Bougainville comes at an especially troubling time for large-scale mining operations in the Western Pacific.

One of the first major laws to be enacted since the transfer of a suite of powers to the Autonomous Bougainville Government under the terms of the 2001 political settlement with Papua New Guinea, the transitional mining law is a significant step towards the possible recommencement of large-scale mining on the island.

However, an assessment of how some of the region’s largest mines have been travelling in recent times makes for sobering reading and points to the need for deep and careful reflection as Bougainville contemplates a mining future. The report card reads like this.

In April of this year the PNG government declared a state of emergency at the Porgera gold mine in the highlands province of Enga – operated by the Canadian miner Barrick Gold – and launched a three-month operation to stamp out what it describes as “illegal” mining. Over a hundred police and military personnel were deployed to the region and hundreds of houses allegedly belonging to illegal miners were razed by security forces.

Two weeks ago the Chinese-owned Ramu nickel mine, also in PNG, was reportedly attacked by “armed villagers” resulting in injuries to five Chinese workers, damage to equipment and a three-day halt to mine production.

Late last year the PNG government effectively expropriated the lucrative yet environmentally and socially problematic Ok Tedi mine in Western Province, a move that remains the subject of a court challenge in Singapore.

In neighbouring Solomon Islands, the country’s only mine, Gold Ridge on north Guadalcanal, has been closed since the site was flooded during heavy rains in April. The Australian operator returned staff to the site in June but has recently pulled out again citing a serious escalation in security incidents and the presence of large numbers of “illegal miners” in the mine lease area.

Further south in New Caledonia, the Vale nickel mine in the Southern Province was closed for several weeks earlier this year following a chemical spill that triggered a series of fatal clashes between riot police and Kanak youth.

And so the list goes on.

Unfortunately there is nothing particularly new about this association between large-scale mining and violence in Melanesia (and nor is it peculiar to the region – a 2009 United Nations study found that at least 40 per cent of intrastate conflicts globally are related to natural resources). Gold Ridge mine was a flash point during the so-called “ethnic tensions” that gripped Solomon Islands in the late 1990s, eventually closing down as a result of the violence.

And of course local grievances associated with Rio Tinto’s giant Panguna copper mine on Bougainville were a major contributor to the 10-year civil war in which thousands died. The mine has remained closed since the conflict, but Rio Tinto’s subsidiary, Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL), had, until the passage of the new legislation this month, retained its mining lease under PNG law.

Bougainville’s political leaders are in the unenviable position of having to weigh the costs and benefits of a mining future. At the forefront of their minds is the prospect of a referendum on full independence from PNG which, according to the autonomy arrangements, must take place between 2015 and 2020. A key question is whether an independent Bougainville can be economically viable without large-scale mining.

The avowed policy of the ABG’s current leadership is to actively explore the possibility of at least one large-scale mine, with the preferred candidate being the mothballed Panguna mine. The need for the ABG to be able to regulate Bougainville’s mining sector has been given added urgency by the increasing activities of foreign investors with questionable credentials and intentions, as well as by the recent boom in small-scale and artisanal mining activities.

There are aspects of the new mining law that are innovative and clearly informed by the problematic history of the Panguna mine and the legacy of the conflict. For example, the legislation vests the ownership of mineral resources in customary landowners, who can veto exploration but not mining once an exploration license has been granted. It also contains provisions for the development of the island’s poorer regions.

That said, the legislation has not been without its detractors – in large part reflecting the highly fragmented character of Bougainville’s politics – with the parliamentary debate and subsequent passage of the bill met with an outpouring of opposition across mainstream and social media.

Opponents claim that the new law gives privileged treatment to BCL, which loses its mining lease but automatically gains an exploration license and therefore the right to negotiate for a new mining lease. Other critics have long maintained that Bougainville should follow a path to development based on smallholder agriculture and artisanal mining rather than large-scale mining.

For its part BCL’s chairman Peter Taylor has described the new legislation as a “set-back” and Rio is to review its majority shareholding in BCL. Whatever the legal status of BCL’s claim, the history of mining on Bougainville and elsewhere in Melanesia shows us that no new mining is likely to take place without the agreement of landowners, and such agreements are open to frequent renegotiation.

One thing we can be certain of is that despite demonstrable economic recovery, Bougainville’s social and economic development indicators remain well below pre-conflict levels. There are pressing human development needs on Bougainville, which only heighten the urgency of the tough choices that must be made about its economic future.

Matthew Allen is a fellow at the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia program, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. He is conducting research on mining and political change in Melanesia funded by the Australia Research Council.

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

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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 Education News :Book-Gain-Ville boosts access to books with e-reader project

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“The kindles has changed the lives of our teachers and students forever “

James Tanis Ex-President of Bougainville and founder of Narinai Elementary School in the Panguna District.

Book-Gain-Ville boosts access to literature with e-reader project

Originally published http://www.bougainville24.com/

Our thanks to Leonard Fong Roka for support and promotion of Bookgainville

An Australian man, so affected by a trip to bring e-readers to students in a remote Panguna village, has launched an initiative to improve literacy throughout Bougainville.

Colin Cowell started the Book-Gain-Ville project in Australia with the support and guidance of the Indigenous Reading Project.

Cowell’s original visit with 20 kindles was to the Narinai Elementary School in the Panguna District, the home of former Bougainville president Mr. James Tanis. Here the Book-Gain-Ville project was launched and welcomed to the community with dancing, singing, speeches and slaughtering of two pigs to mark the importance of the occasion.

“Travelling around I saw broader need across the whole island, so we have added ten more sites for trial of the Book-Gain-Ville initiative,” Mr Cowell said.

“By the end of June 2014 we hope to have over fifty kindles in ten pilot schools and over the next few years I would like to see over one thousand kindles in Bougainville schools with the support of all the local level governments.”

Cowell, who hails from Canberra, Australia, has 24 years of experience working with and training Aboriginal communities across Australia and stated that the key to the Book-Gain-Ville project is sustainability.

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“We now have in place at the Arawa Women’s Training Centre the support technology and trained staff to take this project forward in years to come,” Cowell said.

“Guiding this project on the ground is a leadership group lead by James Tanis and group of teachers and IT volunteers.”

“The Kindles with up to 1400 books inside cost $99.00 and a lot of communities including the pilot sites have already begun fundraising to buy extra kindle on top of our donations.”

Update 11 July 2014

We are packing another 40 Kindles in Canberra to send to Bougainville on Monday 14 July

kindles

Colin Cowell is no stranger to Bougainville having lived there some 40 years ago and return he spent the whole month of May travelling the length and breadth of the island.

He met his old friends like Linus kunokong from Buin and visited cultural shows in Siwai, South Bougainville; visited tourism development sites across the island and even participated in the Bougainville Remembrance Day, May 17, in Arawa.

He will be returning soon to Bougainville with more kindles In September after shipping in July (see above)

More information about the project is available at www.bookgainville.com

 

 

Bookgainville  Project on Bougainville PNG

 

 

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 Tourism News July 2014 : Bougainville developing its tourism sector

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The resource-rich island of Bougainville is preparing to welcome more tourists after its decade-long civil war.

The Autonomous Region of Bougainville is hoping tourism will help it get back on its feet after a decade of civil war.

Tourism authorities on the island are launching an initiative aimed at selling the island to the world.

Bougainville also has a website featuring the many tourist experiences the island has to offer.

Lawrence Belleh is chief executive officer of Bougainville Tourism and organises many Festivals like the MONA  and Siwai Festivals (see image Below)

SEE BOUGAINVILLE TOURISM”s  NEW WEBSITE

He told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat that the country has many attractions that will be a draw for tourists.

“We have the still rawness in the natural environment and everything people would want to see especially with the ecotourism that is around here in Bougainville,” he said.

“The people here are very, very friendly.

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Mr Belleh says the island’s natural environment is still in tact after the 10-year conflict and is suitable for tourist activities.

“So many things like lakes, the mountains, the volcanos… you see crystal clear water everywhere, it’s good for diving, snorkelling, swimming, fishing,” he said.

Example of Ecotourism Manee Via Arawa

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Zhon Bosco : Bougainville Experience Tours

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Rotokas Eco tourism operators Follow on FACEBOOK

Rotokas

 

There remains much wariness among the locals over reopening the copper and gold mine because of what they experienced at the height of the civil war.

The mine, which was one of the world’s largest, was closed in 1989 after it caused the civil war on the island.

“One of the things we are trying to avoid is to reopen the mine and that’s the sentiment that we have here especially the people of Panguna where what they would like to do is to do tourism,” Mr Belleh said.

“Rebuilding their lives, they want to build it through ecotourism, that’s what people have openly said.”

A recently released film Mr Pip – which is set during Bougainville’s civil war period – has also generated global interest in the island.

The movie is based on a novel by New Zealand author Lloyd Jones.

“Some of the actors and scenes you see in the film is actually the experiences people had experienced during the height of the crisis,” Mr Belleh said.

The government is already seeing an increase in tourists and making room for them.

“There are so many things that are happening and because of the film, there are so many people now that are coming to see where the film actually took place,” Mr Belleh said.

“With the people as well, there are facilities that people are now building like guest houses.”

A good example the Arawa Visitors centre

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And the recently upgrade Kuri Village Resort in Buka

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Bougainville News: President questions if Bougainville ready for referendum: Mining law update

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By Anthony Kaybing

A recent statement by the Autonomous Bougainville Government President Chief Dr John Momis on Bougainville’s readiness to hold its referendum to decide its political fate has come into question. President Momis had stated earlier that Bougainville in its current state was not ready to hold its referendum due to insurmountable socio-political factors affecting the region at present.

SEE also below: A DRAFT mining bill transferring powers from the Papua New Guinea Government to the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) could “adversely affect” the mining rights held by Bougainville Copper, the company has warned.

Public outcry over the President’s blunt statement has questioned his intentions on the determination of Bougainville’s future to the extent of also questioning his loyalty to Bougainville.

But he explained the reason for his outburst that Bougainville has to meet a certain criteria to ascertain its future to attain higher autonomy or move toward total secession and gain independence from Papua New Guinea.

“This is a fact and we cannot continue to disregard this, it’s a reality and we must man up and face it and do something about it if we really do care about the future of Bougainville,” he said.

The Bougainville Peace Agreement exudes President Momis’ concern on holding the referendum at a time when Bougainville has not yet quite met the expectations of the BPA on good governance and total weapons disposal.

The President pointed out that Bougainville is yet to achieve fiscal self-reliance, weapons disposal and the lack of unity amongst Bougainvilleans are the prime cause of his concern on holding the referendum too early which may prove detrimental.

“We cannot hold the referendum right now because we have yet not met the criteria of the Bougainville Peace Agreement and might I remind you, the outcome of the referendum depends on the ratification by the National Government so we will definitely fail should we do so right now,” the President said.

“You cannot have a nation when you don’t support your government, you can’t have a nation when there is disunity and law and order problems and you simply cannot have nation with a minimal educated populace,” the President also explained.

“When I say this it does not mean that we will not have the referendum or that I am against it, we will certainly have it but at a time within the ten year Referendum period and at a more suitable time when the government is ready so we should not make haste,” he said.
Having explained this the President also said that the Autonomous Bougainville Government has been working tirelessly to ready Bougainville for the ensuing Referendum period which must and only be held anytime between 2015 and 2020. This has been evident with the ABG legislating laws to strengthen its autonomy institutions to create a more conducive environment that is on par with international best practice on good governance.

 From Alison Middleton PNG Industry report June 27

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A DRAFT mining bill transferring powers from the Papua New Guinea Government to the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) could “adversely affect” the mining rights held by Bougainville Copper, the company has warned.

Bougainville Copper confirmed it had been provided with a Draft Bougainville Mining (Transitional Arrangements) Bill by the ABG.

The company said the bill appeared to be in accordance with the ABG’s stated objective to draw down powers from the PNG national government and obtain the transfer of powers relating to mining.

Bougainville Copper holds a number of resource tenements in Bougainville, including a special mining lease, various leases for mining purposes and several exploration licences.

The Rio Tinto subsidiary has been eyeing a resumption of mining of the giant Panguna copper deposit in the early 2020s, after the mine was closed in 1989 due to civil war.

“The SML entitles the company to explore and mine for copper within the SML area,” Bougainville Copper said in a statement.

“The SML is governed by the Bougainville Copper Agreement (BCA) and the Mining (Bougainville Copper Agreement) Act.

“The draft bill, in its current form, if passed into law, may adversely impact on the mining rights held by Bougainville Copper.

“The draft bill purports to repeal the BCA Act. The company does not concede the draft bill – if passed into law in its current form – does or can have that effect.

“Bougainville Copper is taking appropriate advice regarding the bill as drafted and will seek to liaise and meet with representatives of the ABG to discuss its concerns.”

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