Source: Radio New Zealand International
PNG’s Kauona criticised by Europe-based BCL shareholders
A group of shareholders in Bougainville Copper Ltd has issued a scathing critique of a former militant leader in the Papua New Guinea province, who this week described the autonomous government’s new mining policy as one that could sparked a constitutional crisis.
He was reacting to news of Australian involvement in drawing up the document during a forum canvassing views on a possible re-opening of the moth-balled BCL-owned mine at Panguna.
Don Wiseman has more:
“Mr Kauona, who led the Bougainville Revolutionary Army during the civil war, warned Australia not to meddle in Bougainville affairs. The National newspaper reported him saying Canberra’s involvement in helping draft the policy, could lead to a constitutional crisis in the province. But the European Shareholders of BCL call Mr Kauona a terrorist and claim he is spearheading a foreign criminal group that is trying to undermine the peace process for its own business interests. However Mr Kauona’s deputy with the Bougainville Resource Owners Representative Council, Chris Damana, says what they want is to ensure that the people of Panguna have a say in the final policy on the resumption of mining at Panguna and have been assured that will happen.”
Source: Radio New Zealand International
Resource owners adamant to have input in PNG’s Panguna plans
A representative of resource owners in the Panguna region of Papua New Guinea’s Bougainville says they want to ensure they have control of the province’s new mining policy.
The deputy head of the Bougainville Resource Owners Representative Council, Chris Damana, says this week’s forum in Buka is invaluable for airing concerns about a possible re-opening of the huge moth-balled mine.
He says they have been critical of Canberra’s apparent involvement in drawing up the province’s new mining policy which he says brings back memories of what happened more than 40 years ago when the controversial mine was started.
But Mr Damana says the resource owners have been assured it is only a draft and they will have input.
“We, the resource’s owners are trying to take some control on this. I mean we want to make this mining policy as ours, because it will bless us or it will affect us in the future.”
Chris Damana of the Bougainville Resource Owners Representative Council
Source: The Northern Miner
A giant stirs in Bougainville
By: Ian Bickis, special to The Northern Miner
PANGUNA, BOUGAINVILLE — After more than 20 years in limbo, the small Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville is closer than ever to reopening the infamous Panguna mine.
It was once the world’s largest open-pit copper-gold mine before locals forced it shut in 1989. But the mine was far from depleted at the time, and legal owner Bougainville Copper (BOC-A) — itself 53.83%-owned by Rio Tinto (RIO-N, RIO-L, RIO-A) — recently reminded the world just how much wealth remains.
Bougainville released an order of magnitude study in early February that shows an indicated resource of 1.5 billion tonnes grading 0.3% copper and 0.33 gram gold per tonne for 10.1 billion lb. copper and 16.1 million oz. gold, plus 300 million inferred tonnes at 0.3% copper and 0.4 gram gold gold for a further 1.5 billion lb. copper and 3.2 million oz. gold.
That’s on top of the 9.3 million oz. gold and 6.6 billion lb. copper that Bougainville had pulled out by 1989, when locals, frustrated at a lack of benefits from the mine, began sabotaging the operation.
The situation escalated into an all-out civil war, with the islanders fighting for independence from Papua New Guinea.
By the time a cease-fire was reached in 1997, upwards of 20,000 had died on the island of about 200,000 people, and mining has been off limits ever since.
As part of the peace deal that ended the civil war, Bougainville was promised a referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea, to be held between 2015 and 2020. But before becoming independent the island must show that it’s economically independent, which it isn’t. And so, more people in Bougainville are hoping that mining will bring the rapid economic development required for the island to become the world’s next country.
But it is a long road before Bougainville can access the resource, if ever. There are many factions on the ground with differing opinions on how the island should move forward, and whether or not to welcome Bougainville — or any other mining company — to the island. The Autonomous Bougainville Government estimates that it would take two to three years to get through the consultations and reconciliations needed before any final decision is made.
But momentum is gathering, with politicians and other leaders talking about reopening the mine. On the ground, locals say they are dreaming about how a rich mine could transform the struggling island, if a mining deal is made on their terms.
Mining forum updates leader
By WINTERFORD TOREAS
THE 2nd regional forum concerning the possible reopening of the Panguna Mine in Central Bougainville is currently underway at the Hutjena Secondary School Hall in Buka.
The forum, which was officially opened by the ABG President Chief Dr John Momis was attended by participants from the four districts of Selau/Suir, Tinputz, Kunua and Torokina Districts in Bougainville.
ABG Ministers for Mining Michael Oni (pictured), Rev. Joseph Nopei (LLG and Media Communications) and constituency members from the above four districts were also present during the forum.
The forum started on Monday and ended yesterday, and is aimed at engaging and updating various stakeholders and the wider community in the above districts on the progress of preparing the ABG and the landowners to participate in negotiations.
This forum will also be used to gauge the views of people in these four districts regarding the possible reopening of the Panguna Mine.
Before officially opening the forum, Mr Momis said many people always get worried about the outcomes, without thinking about the process to achieve these outcomes.
“When people are worried about the outcome, I say to them ‘do not worry about the outcome, worry about the process.’ Get the process right and the outcome will be delivered,” Mr Momis said.
Mr Momis also pointed out during his speech some of the decisions and processes which had led to the outbreak of the Bougainville crisis, saying that if there were proper consultations with the landowners and the wider communities this crisis would not have happened. He then said that the reopening of the mine would successfully take place following
proper consultations being carried out.
The President also added that the ABG believes in consultative and conceptual approaches to
decision making between the landowners, and stakeholders and the ABG.
The forum is spearheaded by the Office of the Director for Panguna Negotiations and will be facilitated by the ABG Mining Department, Division of Law and Justice and the Office of Panguna Negotiations.
The first regional forum was held in November last year and was attended by various stakeholders from Buka, Nissan and the
Atolls districts in North Bougainville.
Many of those that attended the first forum had expressed that they supported the idea of re-opening the Panguna Mine.
This was because they saw that once the mine is reopened, it will help generate revenue for Bougainville.
Consultations with the mine affected and impacted landowners and other stakeholders like the former combatants have also been completed.
ABG speaker unhappy with by-elections delay
By WINTERFORD TOREAS
SPEAKER of the Bougainville House of Representatives Andrew Miriki (pictured) has expressed his utmost disappointment in the delay in conducting the by-elections of the four vacant constituency seats in the ABG Parliament.
Mr Miriki has expressed his disappointment regarding the manner in which the Bougainville Electoral Commission and Bougainville Administration has handled the issue of staging the by-elections.
Mr Miriki said he had formally notified the Bougainville Electoral Commission regarding the vacancies in August last year, and recommended that a by-election be conducted to fill the vacancies as soon as possible.
“Since then I have not received any official response from the Electoral Commission and the Chief Administrator. Up to now, I have been advised through the media on the proposed schedules for the by-elections.
“I do not believe that this is the right and proper avenue through which my office should be advised over an issue I have a Constitutional role to play.
“I therefore request the my office be furnished forthwith with an official schedule for the by-elections because all citizens in the Rau, Kongara, Lule and Hagogohe constituencies are entitled to have a representative in the House,” Mr Miriki said.
By WINTERFORD TOREAS
ONE of the major causes of the outbreak of the Bougainville Crisis was because the landowners (LOs) of the Panguna mine in Central Bougainville were not properly consulted whether or not they wanted mining to take place on their land.
Therefore, the Autonomous Bougainville Government now wants to properly consult all stakeholders in Bougainville on this Panguna Mine issue before more positive steps towards the mine’s reopening can take place.
Speaking during the first day of the 2nd Regional Forum on Panguna Negotiations held in Buka on Tuesday, Director of the Office of the Panguna Negotiations Mr Raymond Masono (pictured), while giving his opening remark, pointed out that the conflict had started due to lack of proper consultations with the Panguna LOs.
Mr Masono then said the ABG now wants to properly consult not only the Panguna LOs but the entire Bougainville population regarding any issues that concerns the reopening of the mine.
“The ABG wants to ensure that the consultative process is as inclusive as possible and so we welcome the views expressed by the different groups,” Mr Masono said.
Mr Masono said another three more forums will be held.
Hundred plus Education Powers transferred to ABG
by Ruth Rungula, National EMTV News
The process of transferring powers and functions from the National Education Department to the Autonomous Bougainville Government is progressing well.
More than one hundred powers have already been transferred. Amongst the powers transferred recently is for ABG to conduct the appointment of teachers on its own.
Education has taken the lead here – other departments have yet to do the same.
The education department together with the Teaching Service Commission today proudly announced the number of powers it has so far transferred to ABG.
This was announced during the Joint Implementation Group meeting held in Port Moresby.
It’s a quarterly meeting held for the National Education Department to assess the progress by ABG on the transfer process.
There are currently three thousand teachers in Bougainville who are still paid by the national education department, but Mr Taita says these powers will also be transferred to them across.
Acting TSC Chairman Baran Sori says eight more powers will be transferred this week. TSC will hold back certain powers such as the terms and conditions of teachers.
Source: ABC Radio Australia - Pacific Beat
Rugby Union helping to unify Bougainville
The new man at the helm of rugby union in Bougainville believes the sport has a huge potential for growth in the autonomous region, and can also play an important role in the development of young leaders.
Peter Tsiamalilli has just taken over as President of ARBRU, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville Rugby Football Union, and he says plans are already in hand to grow the game and seek out new talent.
Mr Tsiamalilli says his ultimate aim is to see a Rugby Sevens team representing an independent Bougainville at the Olympic Games.
Speaker:Peter Tsiamalilli, President, Autonomous Region of Bougainville Rugby Football Union, ARBRU
Listen here !
Source: Radio New Zealand International
Landowners firm on terms at PNG’s Panguna talks
The landowners from around the huge mothballed Panguna mine in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville say nothing will happen without their approval.
At a forum in Buka looking at the impediments to resuming mining in the province, a former militant leader, and now head of the Bougainville Resource Owners Representative Council, Sam Kauona (pictured), dismissed Australia’s involvement in the province’s draft mining policy.
Mr Kauona warned Australia not to meddle in Bougainville affairs.
The newspaper, The National, reports Mr Kauona as claiming the first policy draft on mining in Bougainville was no different from the colonial policy that had caused the civil war.
He says the proposed policy, sponsored by AusAID and drafted by Australian academic, Tony Regan, risked to cause Bougainville’s first constitutional crisis.
Mr Kauona says since the provincial constitution vests ownership of resources in the people of Bougainville, any attempt to impose a separate resource ownership system would be invalid and ineffective, and could spark a constitutional crisis.
ESBC: Once again notorious felon Sam Kauona spreads uncertainty!
Source: Radio New Dawn on Bougainville
LERA WANTS PEOPLE’S PARTICIPATION
By Aloysius Laukai
The Regional Member for Bougainville, JOE LERA (pictured) wants Bougainvilleans to unite and discuss the economic recovery of Bougainville.
He made these remarks at the second forum that is discussion the future of the Panguna mine in Buka today.
MR. LERA also praised the ABG for initiating the forum which has gathered all factions of the Bougainville conflict to come and discuss important issues that continues to affect the development of the region.
The Regional member said that it was healthy for the people to debate issues that continues to disturb the peace process.
MR. LERA also announced that he has already established education institutions on Bougainville starting this year to train Bougainvilleans to work if the mine or any other big business activities resume on Bougainville.
The Regional member said that the PRIME MINISTER of PNG, PETER O’NEILL was very supportive of the rebuilding process on Bougainville.
He also announced other projects that could be developed to help support the economy of Bougainville, with projects like Tourism, Education programs, Fisheries and other activities.
Source: Radio New Dawn on Bougainville
By Aloysius Laukai
There are interesting debates coming out from the second mining forum on the future of the Panguna mine, one of which included the President of the Mekamui Government of Unity, PHILIP MIRIORI who has commented that at present he opposes the reopening of the Panguna mine until and after all outstanding issues amongst the Panguna landowners and the people of Bougainville are sorted out.
(pictured) said that there are alot of issues that needs to be addressed before the Panguna mine can be re-opened.
His presentation was supported by his deputy PHILIP TAKAUN, LYNED ONA and Lord Blaise Iruinu.
All the ABG members who did their presentations all called on the people of Bougainville to complete all outstanding issues and look at the economy that was not able to sustain the Autonomous arrangement which Bougainville is entangled in.
The members that talked this morning were the Member for Torokina, STEVEN SUAKO, the member for SUIR, LUKE KARASTON and the member for Taunita Teop MICHA MOSE.
MR. MOSE said that if Panguna is difficult to address then the ABG must fast tract its policy on mining so that other areas can open one mine to support the economic recovery efforts of the ABG.
Networks - key to progress
By WINTERFORD TOREAS
BOUGAINVILLE Regional MP Joe Lera believes that many developments will come about through partnership and networking with other people and organisations.
And this first time parliamentarian has wasted no time in embarking on this aim by fostering relationships with different organisations both within the country and abroad.
One of the overseas-based organisations that Mr Lera has already signed agreements with is the USA-based LENAPE Development Group. The
Agreement commits the LENAPE Development Group, which is based in Hawaii, and the Autonomous Bougainville Government to initiate a co-operative arrangement to provide humanitarian and sustainable development on Bougainville.
He has also fostered relations with certain diplomatic Heads of Missions based in Port Moresby.
His association with these Heads of Missions will no doubt bring more developments to Bougainville.
Last week also saw the Indian High Commissioner to PNG, His Excellency A. M. Gondane accompanying Mr Lera to Bougainville.
Mr Gondane was on a fact-finding mission to assess whatever assistances India can provide to Bougainville.
Upon their arrival at the Buka Airport, Mr Lera said “networking, partnership and connectivity with other countries of the world is the recipe for modern day progress.”
He said Bougainvilleans may want a lot of things to be done, but may not have the expertise to achieve their aims.
“We can call on nations to come and help us with expertise that they have developed
over the years because we ourselves cannot do it. With the help of expertise from countries like India, we can move Bougainville,” Mr Lera said.
Mr Lera added that it was through countries like India, who can help Bougainville achieve a brighter future and destiny.
Apart from this visitation, Mr Lera also has plans to establish more relationships with other organisations and countries in the world to assist in developing Bougainville.
AROB youths to stage mock sitting
By WINTERFORD TOREAS
SPEAKER of the Bougainville House of Representatives, Andrew Miriki has already set the date for the next sitting of the Autonomous Bougainville Government Parliament for this year.
According to a press release from Mr Miriki, the ABG Parliament will convene at 10am on the 12 of March 2013.
Bougainville MPs in the National Parliament should have already been notified on the date for the sitting, and are also expected to attend.
Mr Miriki has also announced that the ABG will be commemorating the Commonwealth Day by staging a Youth Parliament session in Buka on the 11 of March 2013.
Mr Miriki is calling on the ABG members and the public to attend and observe how the youths in North Bougainville will run their own mock parliament.
The mock parliament session will be held at the Bel Isi park in the heart of Buka town.
Youths from around Buka and Selau constituency in the northern tip of Bougainville have been selected to participate in this event.
According to the ABG Members Update for January, the primary purpose of the event is for the youths to familiarise themselves with the parliamentary chamber sittings.
They will also be participating in mock parliamentary procedures like the appointment of the clerk and his deputy, the election
of the president and the vice president and the allocation of ministerial portfolios.
The participating youths will be briefed on the roles and responsibilities they will be playing when the youth parliament convenes.
They will also be involved in the debating of make-up parliamentary bills.
This will be the third time for Bougainville to observe this Commonwealth Day by involving youths in this mock parliamentary session.
Five more mines to open in next five years
by Bernadette Efi, National EMTV News
Milne Bay and East Sepik provinces are among a number of provinces to have new mines.
Acting Managing Director of Mineral Resources Authority Philip Samar says these will be realized in the next few years.
Since 1970 mineral extraction has dominated the national economy. It has contributed more than six million kina every year.
With the exception of the Ok Tedi copper gold Mine, almost all of the mining in PNG has been gold mines.
The two largest gold mines are the Pogera in the Enga Province and Lihir in the New Ireland Province. The Hidden Valley gold and silver mine in the Morobe Province and the Ramu Nickel cobalt mine commenced production in 2010.
Government’s Mineral Resources Authority is now looking ahead for five more mines. They will be producing gold and copper.
Acting Managing Director Philip Samar said Milne Bay and East Sepik Provinces are among them.
Mr. Samar said the mines are currently undergoing feasibility studies. They should be declared mines in the next 5 years.
Meantime, the authority is also reviewing closed mines.
ESBC say: These are shining examples for all Bougainvilleans !
Source: The National
Babato: Bougainville schools rely on subsidies
UNLESS the Autonomous Bougainville Government pays its share of boarding subsidies to schools in Bougainville, they will be forced to close before the end of this year, the chief executive of Bougainville education Bruno Babato says.
He highlighted the situation yesterday when focusing on how much money was needed for schools to operate effectively.
“The question that we have been asking in Bougainville is how much money is enough money to run the schools effectively because the national government has issued directives to the provincial education boards not to impose additional fees on students,” Babato said.
“Our view is that education is a shared responsibility by the national government, provincial governments, churches and the parents.
“It is based on this understanding that the Bougainville Education Board (BEB) has approved additional fees and most critically the ABG does not pay its share of the boarding subsidies to the boarding schools in the region.”
Babato said the BEB, by virtue of its decision to charge additional fees, was effectively passing down to the parents what the ABG was failing to do.
“Failure to make such decisions would force the boarding schools to close before the end of the 2013 school year.”
Source: The National
Aust warned to stay out of Bougainville affairs
FORMER Bougainville Revolutionary Army commander Sam Kauona has warned Australia not to meddle in Bougainville affairs.
He said the first policy draft on mining in Bougainville was no different from the colonial policy that caused the crisis.
“The Australians have taken control of mining policy in Buka and the first policy draft by ABG legal unit headed by Tony Regan is no different from the previous policy,” Kauona, who is chairman of the recently formed Bougainville Resources Owners Representative Council, said.
He added that the proposed policy, sponsored by AusAID and drafted by Regan, risked Bougainville’s first constitutional crisis.
“Since the constitution is the supreme law of Bougainville, section 23 of the Bougainville constitution, which restores ownership of resources on Bougainville to the customary landowners, is the only option that is constitutionally legal.
“So any attempt to impose any other resource ownership system would be invalid and ineffective – they are risking a constitutional crisis.”
Resources rights activist Simon Ekanda shared similar sentiments.
“Bougainville mining policy does not belong to Regan, BCL (Bougainville Copper Ltd) or the Australians, it belongs to the resource owners and the people of Bougainville.
“This is to be a Bougainville mining policy written by Bougainvilleans in Bougainville for the Bougainville resource owners and people.
“Section 23 of the Bougainville constitution returning the resource ownership to the customary landowners is to be the foundation of that policy.
“Let me be absolutely clear – there will be no compromise on this.
“The Panguna landowners must determine that their interests will be best served by securing a special mining lease over their resource and then to entertain qualified mining companies with the view to putting Panguna back into production.
He also cautioned ABG President John Momis to be careful with the new mining policy.
“Both PNG and Bougainvilleans have died and it is unwise if Momis allows colonial administrators to rewrite Bougainville mining laws.”
ESBC comment: Sam Kauona is one of the alleged murderers of the so called Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) ! He is on the pay-roll of foreign notorious backdoor players! Most of his life he spent as a hardened criminal terrorist by intimidating, robbing and also presumably killing innocent Bougainvillean citizens. Semple and other conmen try to undermine the ongoing peace process by trying to keep Bougainville Copper out of the island and to install their own criminal business . In all other civilised countries he would face life imprisonment or death penalty.
Source: PNG Attitude
Rough bisnis (business): How the Americans came seeking gold
by LEONARD FONG ROKA
IT WAS IN 2008 that Edwin Moses from Sireronsi village on Bougainville and Amos Ove from Kongara got in contact with Americans Steve Strauss and Mike Holbrooke.
The Americans and their company, Tall J, said to be specialists in small scale mining, also had connections to the so-called Meekamui government of Panguna led by Philip Miriori (president) and Philip Takaung (vice president) – two people who, 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 with the blessing of the Meekamui government. They called it O’orang with all the executives from their respective villages and Amos Ove as manager and Edwin Moses as director. Its first job was to start formal negotiations with the Americans.
After O’orang was established, Tall J money began entering Bougainville. O’orang was assigned to do the groundwork for possible mining operations in Panguna, especially in the Tumpusiong Valley where Amos Ove was married.
Back in the US there was excitement to have established a link with one of the Pacific’s richest islands and its landowners. Money flowed in and O’orang members drove around in new vehicles.
In mid-2009, the Americans and O’orang met in Honiara to finalise the go-ahead for a joint venture in alluvial gold mining at Panguna.
A week later, under the leadership of Steve Strauss, a team of nine Americans arrived in Panguna with a Komatsu front-end loader and other equipment for sampling and other preparatory work. They learned that nothing had been done with their money or to earn it.
Spending months in Panguna in rented rooms owned by Philip Takaung, they tried to sort things out. Half of the Americans left, seeing that their money was wasted. But the others stayed on, including 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, and 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, the angry Kupe people chased them away.
By Christmas 2009, all the Americans left except Strauss, who was concerned to find ways to recover the money already spent. By early 2010, the Americans had spent some K1.7 million through O’orang to secure alluvial gold mining operations.
With 2009 winding down, Strauss saw no hope and was packing to leave Bougainville when Michael Dendai and Michael Tona (pictured), who were not involved with Tall J, met him in Panguna with a claim that they and their families owned much of the west Tumpusiong Valley tailings area.
Strauss was relieved and made an agreement with the pair and also donated an open Landcruiser to serve the Tumpusiong communities.
In a series of meetings held at Panguna over a period of two months, a new company, Middle Tailings Resources Limited (MTRL), led by Michael Dendai, who now controlled the Landcruiser, and Michael Tona was born.
O’orang fought hard not to be left out of this new relationship and was accepted. Strauss sought to secure more offshore funding for the new operation.
This time funds were committed by a Chinese partner and once again Americans began to arrive to pave the way for the Tumpusiong project. Having the Chinese money in their hands, Dendai and Tona carelessly fast-tracked the project without engaging the majority of the west Tumpusiong community in decision making. The project went steaming on with a happy MTRL gang.
The joint venture, named as Jaba Industries, consisted of O’orang with 33.33% of the shares, MTRL with 33.33% and Tall J holding the last 33.33%. The unidentified Chinese financier was catered for by being a shareholder in all three companies.
At the same time, Tall J had a percentages of the 33.33% owned by O’orang in Jaba.
With the business arrangements sorted, equipment and plant funded by the Chinese started arriving one piece a time for the whole of 2011 and half of 2012.
The equipment was kept at Birempa on the Morgan-Panguna mine access road near Edwin Moses’ home. It included dump trucks, an excavator, a front-end loader, a number of open Landcruisers and gold processing equipment.
Over Christmas 2012, project development began at Toku village in the western section of Tumpusiong Valley.
Conflict surfaced. The locals brawled with MTRL executives over decision-making processes as landowners witnessing that Michael Dendai was running MTRL as his private business.
Also, despite the fact the men involved with the creation of MTRL were close relatives of current Autonomous Bougainville Government mining mister, Michael Oni, the parliamentarian was said to know nothing of this development.
So people publicly condemned MTRL and Jaba Industries as illegal businesses.
Furthermore, the main village of Toku boiled with strikes. At a launching and dedication ceremony held at the mining site just before Christmas 2012, half the Toku villagers did not attend nor did they eat the food that was brought to them.
The locals were also angered by all executive positions in the joint venture being held by O’orang people who were not even landowners at the Panguna mine site or in the Tumpusiong Valley.
They were from the inaccessible hinterland villages of Pangka and Mosinau to the south-east of the Panguna mine; people who now squat in the remains of Panguna township causing a lot of disharmony with the people who own the mine and town areas, like the Moroni people, and even with the Panguna District administration.
Most of the Tumpusiong men were employed as security guards earning a K75 per fortnight. Plant operators and other better paid workers were O’orang employees.
And the former Bougainville Revolutionary Army fighters disliked that Dendai had not been home during the conflict and was now walking over them as sole decision maker in the project.
In late 2012, the Chinese partner that it would release K300,000 and two vehicles for the Tumpusiong Valley as a community development package.
The people watched a week’s test-run of operations in January 2013 that produced samples that were shipped overseas.
In mid-January, a new accusation surfaced that the K300,000 development money was already deposited into Michael Dendai’s bank account.
Without hesitation, the villagers torched the gold processing equipment in broad daylight.
All the Tumpusiong men working as security guards walked off the mining site with a demand to Jaba Industries to resolve the issue or pack up and leave.
The valley has tonnes of gold washed down from the Panguna mine’s long operations and today is one of the main alluvial gold attractions in the Kieta District. O’orang’s attempts to lure the targeted people often met with opposition but the reports that went to America were of positive progress.
Source: Radio New Zealand International
Australia asked to provide security on Solomons-PNG border
The Australian government is to be asked to step in and provide security management at the border between Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea’s Bougainville.
The people of the Shortland Islands in Western Province are concerned at what will happen when the intervention force, the Regional Assistance Mission, leaves the area later this year.
An elder, Edward Kingmele, says they want AusAid, to finance weapons, logistics and infrastructure for the border security posts.
He says the security guards should be armed to counter any threats from foreigners who misuse the border.
Mr Kingmele says they want an assurance from the Solomon Islands Government and RAMSI that the departure of Participating Police personnel in July won’t result in a security vacuum at the border.
Source: Radio New Zealand International
Referendum needed to re-open PNG’s Panguna mine, says Bougainville landowner
A landowner from the Panguna region in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville says a referendum would be needed before the green light is given to resume mining at Panguna.
The Bougainville government is holding the second of four planned community meetings to hear the people’s views on whether the huge copper and gold mine can be re-opened.
In 1988, anger over alleged environmental damage and human rights abuses at Panguna sparked a civil war and closed the mine.
A former presidential candidate and a landowner at Panguna, Martin Miriori, says before any re-opening there would need to be compensation, reconcilation and awareness building, followed by a referendum.
“So that people can just vote on whether the mine should be opened or whether it should remain closed. And with that mandate from the people then, we can go ahead and, say, talk about reviewing the Bougainville Copper agreement, or a new agreement that needs to be negotiated.”
Welcome back Lasslett!
After months of keeping "shut up", paranoid Northern Ireland * (UK) based Terrorist supporter Dr. Kristian Lasslett re-appears on scene. Once again he tries to light unrest on the ground by spreading false allegations against Rio Tinto and Bougainville Copper. The ESBC understand that Lasslett must be highly alerted by realising that there is very positive progress on the ground that will finally lead to the re-opening of the Panguna mine. Read here his latest text in support of a self-appointed undemocratic group of Bougainville "Leaders":
* Northern Ireland is the crisis-shaken British backyard still terrorised by a small group of independence fighters without any capacity of decernment.
Find out more about Lasslett's mean game ? - CLICK HERE !
Source: GreenLeft (http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/53429)
Bougainville: Rio Tinto faces war crimes allegations in bid to reopen mine
By Kristian Lasslett
British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto is seriously contemplating reopening its Bougainville copper and gold mine, Reuters reported on February 7.
Situated on Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) eastern border with the Solomon Islands, the company's Bougainville operation was forcefully closed down in November 1988 by traditional landowners who objected to the mine’s environmental and social effects.
A bloody civil war ensued, which took up to 20,000 lives on an island of 175,000 people. The war crimes committed by government security forces in the conflict were horrific.
Bougainvillean nurse, Sister Ruby Mirinka, recalled: “One of the victims was a 24-year-old pregnant woman. Shot dead by the PNG soldiers, her abdomen was then cut open to remove the foetus. The dead foetus was then placed on the chest of the dead mother for all to see — as a warning.”
Rio Tinto stands accused of being complicit in these atrocities. In a US class action launched under the Alien Tort Statute, Bougainvillean landowners maintain that Rio Tinto’s subsidiary, Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL), supplied the military with trucks, fuel, accommodation, storage facilities, mess halls, communications equipment and secretarial services.
These allegations were featured in a hard-hitting Dateline report aired on SBS TV in 2011.
In response, company executives adamantly denied complicity. They claimed Rio Tinto’s equipment was commandeered by the defence force after the mine had been abandoned.
BCL director Sir Rabbie Namaliu told The Australian on July 16, 2011: “To suggest that Rio did it deliberately is factually wrong. When I heard about those claims, I thought the whole thing was rather unfair.”
Namaliu was prime minister of PNG from 1988 to 1992. Amnesty International said PNG forces stationed in Bougainville during this period took part in extra-judicial killings, village burnings and the rape of women.
Namaliu is hardly an uncompromised source.
There are other problems with his account. For example, I interviewed eight senior managers who worked for BCL during 1987-1992. They were confident the company did supply the defence force with the aforementioned equipment.
One manager told me: “We did everything they [PNG security forces] asked of us to make their life more comfortable, and better able to manage through, with transport, communications, provisions, whatever, fuel.
“You know, we gave them everything, because as a far as we saw it we were hoping that they were going to solve the situation, so we could start operating again. So we supported them every way we could.”
Perhaps BCL was unaware of the ends to which this logistic support would be applied? Well, its executives seem fairly cogent on this front too.
One manager recalled: “These guys [PNG security forces] were ignorant thugs with guns. Frightened ignorant thugs with guns. Frightened, ignorant thugs with guns a long way from home.”
Another executive remembered surveying the destruction inflicted upon local villages by government forces during April 1989: “Forty, 50 villages, and the crops [were destroyed]. The villages were varying from five or six houses to 20 or 30 houses.”
Naturally, Rio Tinto wants to take advantage of skyrocketing copper and gold prices by dusting off its old South Pacific jewel. I am sure they are attracting a degree of community support from war-weary Bougainvilleans looking to rebuild their shattered island.
That said, communities on Bougainville have yet to be fully briefed on Rio Tinto’s role in defence force operations during the bloody years of 1988-1990. So it would be difficult to argue that this support is based upon informed consent.
Until Rio Tinto commits to full disclosure, any attempt to reopen the Bougainville mine will be another corporate blight on the deeply scarred people of this Melanesian island.
[Dr Kristian Lasslett is an executive board member of the International State Crime Initiative. The International State Crime Initiative’s multi-media presentation on the Bougainville conflict, which includes BCL memorandums and meeting minutes, can be accessed here.]
Source: Scoop ref.: Press Release: Commonwealth Local Government Forum Pacific
Advancing Gender in Local Level Government in Bougainville
BUKA, The Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) Pacific is currently on a two week scoping mission to Bougainville to implement a component of the Pacific FLOW Program. The team is visiting the region’s main administrative centre of Buka and will also travel to Arawa in the southern part of the country.
Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women or FLOW, is a new fund initiated by the Dutch Foreign Ministry to strengthen the rights and opportunities for women and girls worldwide. The Pacific FLOW Program is a four year (2012-2015) multi-country program managed by the International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA), a not-for-profit civil society organisation based in Australia. The Program works with a wide range of Pacific regional and local partners to increase women’s civil and political leadership in Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Bougainville to drive gender equality.
The Program focuses on four outcomes: increasing women’s civil society engagement and representation, mobilising young women to participate in decision-making, increasing gender equality commitments at the local government level and increasing voter willingness and community support for women in leadership positions.
CLGF Pacific is a lead partner responsible for the implementation of the local government component of the Pacific FLOW program. Since arriving in Buka, the introduction of the FLOW program has been greatly received and supported. The scoping team has met with the Division of Local Level Government for Bougainville, the Minister for Local Government Hon. Rev Joseph Nopei and the Minister for Community Development, Hon. Melchoir Dare. The team has also been working with officers of Buka Urban Council, women representatives from the Councils of Elders as well as the Bougainville Women’s Federation (BWF). CLGF plans to continue meetings with relevant stakeholders when they travel to Arawa next week.
A core aim of the mission is to introduce the idea of using urban councils in Bougainville as Centres of Excellence (COE’s) for Gender in Local Government. This will involve providing sustained support to the Buka and Arawa Urban Councils to mainstream gender into their policies, programs and service delivery through technical support, on-the-job training and council-to-council technical twinning with PNG Urban LLGs and Australian Councils. The concept will build on experience that CLGF Pacific has gained over several years working at the local government level in adapting and implementing gender training across the Pacific region (most recently in PNG) using the UN-Habitat Gender in Local Government Toolkit and the PNG Good Practice Scheme involving council-to-council twinning between Urban LLGs and Australian Councils. It has arisen from the realisation that the only way to make a difference at the local level is to start council by council. The Pacific FLOW Program aims to target eight councils across Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Bougainville for the pilot phases of the COE’s.
The Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) is a not-for-profit, intergovernmental organisation representing the interests of its members who are ministers of local government, local government associations and individual governments together with other organisations with a professional interest in local government across the CommonwealthCLGF Pacific is based in Suva, Fiji and works with nine countries in the Pacific region: the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, PNG, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Its key role is to advocate to and on behalf of the local government sector on key governance and development issues, including gender equity and women’s empowerment. CLGF Pacific also provides program and policy advice, technical assistance and training, and applied research services to its members and the local government sector generally.
Source: Radio New Dawn on Bougainville
SECOND FORUM OPENS
By Aloysius Laukai
The second forum on Panguna negotiations for North Bougainville, that covers Bougainville mainland from Tinputz, Kunua, Kereaka,Selau and Suir officially opened this morning at the Hutjena Secondary School hall on Buka island.
The first forum was held last year at the same location but covered areas in North Bougainville starting from Tasman islands, Nissan district, Atolls and Buka district.
The aim of all these workshops is to gauge the views from all Bougainvilleans on the upcoming Bougainville Copper Agreement negotiations.
Other districts that are yet to stage these forums are Buin and Bana in South Bougainville and Panguna and Kieta district in Central Bougainville which are scheduled for March this year.
In his welcome remarks this morning, the ABG Mining Minister, MICHAEL ONI said that it was an opportunity again for all stake holders to meet and discuss issues affecting the region today in terms of the Panguna negotiations.
The meeting is being attended by leaders from both the Mekamui faction led by its President PHILIP MIRIORI and his deputy PHILIP TAKAUNG and other leaders from Central Bougainville.
ABG President DR JOHN MOMIS is also attending this forum with ABG Ministers and members of ABG.
The two-days forum will end tomorrow afternoon.
UK delegation visits Bougainville
By WINTERFORD TOREAS
A DELEGATION from the United Kingdom’s Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) visited the Autonomous Region of Bougainville last week.
The delegation which arrived in Buka last Friday was led by Baroness Taylor of Bolton and included members of the British House of Commons, the House of Lords and the British High Commissioner to PNG, Jackie Barson.
The delegation’s trip to Bougainville was to get a clearer understanding of the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s Parliament and to gain a greater awareness of the issues and challenges being faced by the ABG.
While speaking during a welcome dinner hosted by the ABG, Bougainville House of Representatives Speaker Andrew Miriki said the ABG’s membership in the CPA was not a coincidence or accident.
Mr Miriki also called on the British branch of the CPA to help Bougainville, especially during this critical period in training the ABG leaders and equipping them to become effective agents of change in the Bougainville Peace Process.
Team leader Baroness Taylor said the delegation was very happy to visit Bougainville.
She said after the completion of their visit, they would be able to know some of the issues, difficulties, challenges and opportunities faced by the ABG.
She added that the delegation was very impressed with how Bougainville was heading towards its political future, especially regarding its Constitution and economic plans.
During the delegation’s short visit to Bougainville, they were able to meet with Mr Miriki, ABG President Chief Dr John Momis and other ABG leaders.
ABG became a CPA member in September 2006, and has so far received a lot of support from the CPA.
One of the supports currently given to the ABG is the twinning arrangement between the Parliament of New South Wales and the ABG.
The delegation left Bougainville on Saturday.
ACTING ABG vice president Carolus Ketsimur presenting a gift to the Rt. Hon. Baroness Taylor during the welcome dinner held on Friday evening.
Aussie club donates to AROB health
By FABIAN GATANA
IMPROVING and providing quality health care services at Monoitu Sub-Health Centre in Siwai, South Bougainville, has been boosted with a donation from the Point Cook Rotary Club of Victoria, Australia.
The donation of medical equipment and medical supplies was received and offloaded at Kieta wharf in Central Bougainville last week and transported to the Sub-Health Centre by the Officer In Charge and health extension officer Launo Molomdatso and members of the Sub-Health Centre board.
Mr Molomdatso said the donation came as a result of a local assessment carried out in the Sub-Health Centre to establish the principle constraints hindering effective and quality health service delivery at Monoitu which was later prioritised and presented as a request to the Rotary Club through a member of the club that visited the Health Centre in mid-February last year.
He said the Rotary Club then categorised the requests into a three-phase project of which phase one had been completed. Phase two and three will be implemented later this year and next year respectively.
In thanking the Club, Mr Molomdatso said the donation was more than what was initially requested for by the Sub-Health Centre, adding that the medical equipment would greatly assist in improving health care services.
Source: Radio New Dawn on Bougainville
SECOND PANGUNA FORUM UNDERWAY
Second Panguna Negotiations forum is underway in Hutjena, Buka island
Women key in AROB peace
IN Bougainville, women are not mandated to cook for men. They are mandated to bring peace.
Bougainville’s Minister for Culture and Tourism, Rose Pihei (pictured), made this clear at a recent security course graduation ceremony which included two women students.
Ms Pihei is the Southern Women’s Representative Member in the Autonomous Bougainville Government.
She said it is the challenge of the people “to find ways to help peace. We Bougainvilleans have work to do for Independence before we can become independent.”
She told the graduands that “this small thing you are doing is a big thing for us. This is one of the best peace initiatives we have seen. Our challenge is to find ways to help peace...We Bougainvillians have work to do before we can become independent.”
The security course is run by the United Bougainville Training Centre in Buka.
Julia, from Saposa Island and Marcella from Kieta, completed the course that taught them skills they will now use to help keep the peace in their home areas.
Students at the Centre are taught the core attributes of discipline and respect. The skills they learn include report writing, mediation for peace, investigative methods and first aid methods.
“This training has been good,” said Julie, “It is good, and challenging training. We can change our future and the future of our island by using discipline and respect.”
Marcella said she had learnt a lot from the course and would take this knowledge back to her home to help educate people there.
The training centre is co-ordinated by ex-combatant Albert Magoi, who was previously a trainer in the PNG Defense Force.
He was pleased that the two women had taken part in his course and graduated successfully.
“I’ll make sure there are ten women in my next course,” he said, adding that women were an extremely important part of the Bougainville peace process. He called upon women in the region to become more active in the lead up towards Bougainville’s Referendum for Independence.
Source: Radio New Zealand International
Compensation key to re-opening Bougainville mine - landowner
People in the north of the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville gather in Buka this week to air their views on a possible re-opening of the huge Panguna copper mine.
Dissatisfaction over the mine was the catalyst for the outbreak of the civil war and it has lain idle for the past 24 years.
The forum in Buka is the second of four planned around the province to gauge feelings about a possible re-opening.
A Panguna landowner and former presidential candidate, Martin Miriori, says compensation is the first and foremost issue.
“Because today people are still talking about loss of life - 20,000 lives lost, properties lost, businesses, and in order for any settlement to be made compensation has to be a matter that has to be addressed.”
Martin Miriori says just how much compensation would be sought has yet to be decided.
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