Press Review 2006
20.05.2006 The National (Port Moresby / PNG)
Tips on Bougainville
OVER the past few years, my friends and I have become very interested in the future of Bougainville and would like to share our opinions with the people of PNG.
We hope our ideas will help find a way for a better future for Bougainville.
In the 19th century, Bougainville was a German colony. That is why, even today, some Germans still show an interest in this beautiful tropical island and invested a lot of money in the Bougainville copper project.
For the last 17 years, this investment had been more than insecure. Bougainville’s struggle for independence, which was related to the Panguna mine, cost a lot of human lives and brought poverty and sorrow to the people.
Today, the time for change may be very near. But, there will only be a change to a healthy and prosperous future if there is a strong will.
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare generously pledged to hand over the PNG-held shares in the mine to the people of Bougainville.
And Peter Taylor, the chairman of Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL), recently made clear that the mine could be reopened if there was a common will between all relevant parties concerned. They comprised the government, the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), landowners, chiefs, BCL, Rio Tinto and all other shareholders. It is only the opening of the Panguna mine and other similar projects that can assure enough public revenue to build a wealthy country with work and nice homes for everybody, a vastly-improved infrastructure, an efficient healthcare system and an excellent, high-quality educational system.
The money needed lies in the Bougainvillean soil and should be used for building a future modern state of Bougainville, respecting the local history and all ethnic interests. If that treasure that is hidden in the ground of Bougainville could be exploited rapidly, the new country of Bougainville might very soon become one of the most fascinating places in the Pacific region.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE), for example, had become one of the wealthiest and most advanced countries in the world, thanks to the discovery of petrol on its territory.
The oil revenue also gave the Arabs the opportunity to revive and cultivate their ancient traditions.
Furthermore, Bougainville could use the revenue from mining to reduce environmental damage to a minimum and to build up a tourist infrastructure that could bring new jobs to thousands of Bougainvilleans.
We strongly believe that the people, who are desperately longing for an affluent life, deserve this better future. In the far future, Bougainville might become a fiscal paradise like the Cayman Islands, Bahamas or others – situated next door to the emerging markets of Asia. Imagine what this would mean, not only to Bougainville but the whole region.
But for such developments, there are two important imperatives – security for people and reliability for investments from abroad.
If only one of the two is not given, there will be no bright future for Bougainville.
The worst scenario for Bougainville would be that it had the reputation to be a place without law and order, a place where, for example, conmen like Noah Musingku can do what they want without being brought to justice.
All people related to Bougainville should now fight for the island’s prosperous future – European investors are with them.
Sure, we want to earn money by our investment, but we also want all Bougainvilleans to benefit from the country’s economic success and become rich in welfare and peace.
Good luck to Bougainville, to president Joseph Kabui, to the ABG and to the people of Bougainville.
Axel G. Sturm,
Principality of Andorra
19.05.2006 ABC Radio Australia
BOUGAINVILLE : European shareholders call for copper mine re-opening
The European-based shareholders of the company which owns Bougainville 's copper mine have called for the re-opening of the operation. The Panguna mine was shut down in 1998 when a civil war erupted over grievances by landowners, which included concerns over environmental degradation. The Papua New Guinea government, which still has authority over the mine, has been unwilling to agree to its re-opening, amid fears it could lead to more tension on the island. But the European investors say that with mineral prices skyrocketing on world markets, the Panguna mine could offer the island's people new levels of prosperity.
Presenter/Interviewer: Caroline Tiriman
Speakers: Joseph Watavi, Bougainville Vice President; Axel Sturm, Spokesman, Bougainville Copper's European investors
TIRIMAN: The shareholders' call for the mine's re-opening was included in a recent statement picked up by a number of media outlets in PNG.
The statement is just the most recent call in recent months for PNG to reconsider the policy.
However, both the National and Bougainville governments say the opening of the mine is still a very sensitive issue and all care must be taken to avoid opening up old wounds.
Joseph Watavi is Bougainville 's vice-president.
WATAVI: Because of the sensitivity of the issues surrounding the Bougainville mine, this is why we would like to see that we have some real discussions between all the stakeholders to be able to fully understand and accept whatever is required, in terms of talking about reopening the mine.
Already, at the moment, the autonomous Bougainville government leadership, we have had some preliminary discussions with the national government and the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea indicating certain things that we would like to sort out, prior to coming to the real, critical discussions on how we should go about the future of the Panguna mine, and that's what's happening at the moment.
It's also understood that there are also a lot of discussions taking place amongst the Panguna landowners themselves and I think it should be a matter of time where people will be able to realise the need to consider, perhaps, maybe reopening the mine again some time down the road.
TIRIMAN: But Axel Sturm, a spokesman for the European investors, says that while he understands the reluctance, exploiting the minerals in Bougainville would be financially rewarding for the Island and its people.
STURM: We want the mine to be reopened and that other revenues coming from the mining would be divided and passed so that everybody had profit on the work there. But not only that, we also want that the mining be done in a way that recultivation after mining, that means we here in Europe have a couple of coal mines and these coal mines, when they have been exploited, are recultivated, or by forests or even with some land for cultivating plants like crops and so on. And we think the same could be done in Bougainville or even in other mines also in Papua New Guinea . And they could live in a very comfortable way because revenues, or taxes or even royalties could help that island to really to rise up and to develop a modern country.
TIRIMAN: But despite those assurances, Bougainville Vice President Joseph Watavi remains cautious.
WATAVI: We are very much mindful of the concerns that are being echoed by those investors and this is why we would like to ensure that certain discussions must take place between the government of Bougainville, the landowners here and of course the Papua New Guinea national government and the company itself, so that we all can agree to certain things that need to be done.
And I guess I can say it requires time, patience to be able to get things done rightly from the word go.
18.05.2006 Post Courier (Port Moresby / Papua New Guinea)
Support for BCL review
European shareholders of the Bougainville Copper Mine Limited have backed Mining Minister Sam Akoitai’s call to review the mine agreement to include the autonomous government and Panguna land owners. Spokesman Axel G. Sturm last week congratulated ABG President Joseph Kabui on his decision to re-install law and order in South Bougainville . “The ‘no-go-zone’ must become a ‘welcome-zone’ and we are very glad and very proud of all the brave Bougainvilleans who are fighting for the right way and for a better future in prosperity for all,” Mr Sturm said.
17.05.2006 Post Courier (Port Moresby/ PNG)
Bougainville to set new policies
Concerned Bougainvilleans and the Autonomous Bougainville Government have openly discussed the need for the region to adopt mining polices suited to the special circumstance of Bougainville . The urgency for the adoption of a mining policy had been highlighted by the current interest from prospective investors in the mining industry and the need for Bougainville to develop its own policies. Former Bougainville Revolutionary (BRA) adviser Mike Forster said these policies needed to get the perspective of certain principles essential to the maintenance of long-term peace and stability within the region. Mr Forster says the policies should also take in development within the parametres set by the government for the welfare of Bougainvilleans. He said the recent invitation by Minister for Mining Sam Akoitai to the ABG and the landowners to participate in a review of the Bougainville Copper Agreement had also brought pressure on the ABG to ascertain a position. From the outset, Mr Foster noted, PNG required extensive mining and petroleum legislations because of the size of the land area and the fact that PNG is operating many resource projects in both the mineral and petroleum sectors. “ Bougainville is a small island compared with these vast areas of PNG and we operate in a fragile environment. Our population is small, our needs are small but our environment is highly sensitive,” said Mr Forster. He pointed out that Bougainville was surrounded by an eco-sensitive environments with tropical waters, reefs and a vast marine biology.
15.05.2006 Hawaii Public Radio – Pacific News
ARAWA, Bougainville , Papua New Guinea : The vice president of Papua New Guinea 's autonomous Bougainville province, Joseph Watavi, is calling for all stakeholders in the giant Panguna copper mine to discuss the possibility of it reopening in the near future. The mine was closed in 1998, when a civil war erupted over grievances by landowners, which included concerns over environmental degradation. The European-based shareholders of the company, which owns the Panguna mine now say they want it to go back into operation. The Papua New Guinea government, which still has authority over the Bougainville mine, has thus far been unwilling to consider it’s reopening, fearing that it could lead to more tension on the island.
Call for Bougainville mine to reopen
The vice president of Papua New Guinea 's autonomous Bougainville province, Joseph Watavi, is calling for all stakeholders in the Panguna copper mine to discuss the possibility of it reopening in the near future.
The mine was closed in 1998 when a civil war erupted over grievances by landowners, which included concerns over environmental degradation.
The European-based shareholders of a company which owns the Panguna mine now say they want it to go back into operation.
The Papua New Guinea government, which still has authority over the mine, has been unwilling to consider its reopening, fearing that it could lead to more tension on the island.
05.05.2006 Post Courier (Port Moresby/Papuasie Nueva Guinea)
Bougainville future on land
BOUGAINVILLE should be utilising its resources to boost its economy and mining should not be ruled out altogether. Investors in the now defunct Bougainville Copper Limited believe that re-opening the Panguna mine and other smaller mining projects could assure enough revenues to build up a “prosperous region” with employment opportunities for everybody. These investors from different locations such as Germany, Spain and Luxembourg said every Bougainvillean should now start their fight for the island’s prosperous future and the investors would support the island’s efforts towards it. “Sure, we want to earn money by our investments but we also want that all Bougainvilleans will participate in the region’s economic success and become rich in welfare and peace,” said private investor in BCL Axel Sturm. “The money needed lies in the Bougainvillean soil and should be used for building up a modern state of Bougainville respecting the local history and all ethnic interests.” He also said that if the treasure in Bougainville was exploited, Bougainville would become one of the “most fascinating places in the Pacific region”. Mr Sturm said Bougainville could be compared to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where it was just an ordinary country before oil was found but today was the most prosperous nation in the world. He said if Bougainville considered venturing into mining activities, revenue earned from this industry would be used to fund other sectors such as tourism which would also benefit the whole region. Mr Sturm said the UAE was the wealthiest region and the money gave the Arabs the liberty to cultivate their ancient traditions. “Also, in far future Bougainville might become a fiscal paradise like Cayman Islands, Bahamas or other situated next door to the emerging markets of Asia,” he said. “Mind you for such development there are two important imperatives — that is security for people and security for investment. If only one of the two is not accomplished there will be no future for Bougainville. Please always bear this in mind. We strongly believe that the people of Bougainville deserve a a better future.” He said the worst case for Bougainville would be for the region to be regarded as the lawless place with no order and where people can do silly things without being caught such as the failed money scheme operating in Siwai.