New Ireland communities reject Elders endorsement of Nautilus

ESM beach potest

Communities across New Ireland have responded with shock and anger to the announcement a group of elders from the island have endorsed the experimental seabed mining plans of Nautilus Minerals.

The communities say the so called ‘Council of Elders’ is a political group formed by the Governor, Julius Chan, some years ago for political gain and to keep himself in power as he does not have the respect if the communities.

Although the group uses the name ‘council’ it has no representative or democratic foundation and has no connection to New Ireland culture or customs. As such the group does not represent the views of the people of New Ireland.

The existence of the council has been causing tensions among the villages of New Ireland ever since its inception.

Local communities say the council does not represent the people and nor do they have any real idea of the proposed experimental seabad mining.

“The reality is the group only do what governor tells them and are simply a group of puppets”.

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Reconciliation from the heart on Bougainville


Former combatants involved in the death of a civilian in Bana District of South Bougainville have come forward to reconcile with the victim’s family. It was reconciliation between the Orami people of Panguna (a BRA stronghold) and Panam people in Bana. The deceased; Tony Taruningka was executed by the Bougainville Revolution Army soldiers after he was condemned of treason, which according to the BRA standing orders during the ten year crisis; punishable by death. However, circumstances relating to the deceased offense still remain as circumstantial, for he was never actually proven of committing the offense.  Mr. Taruningka’s body was disposed in a pit toilet near a local primary school in the area. His body had remained there for the last 20 years.

The site where the deceased remains were exhumed (inside toora basket with Bougainville flag). A BRA representative (numbered sleeveless shirt) making a speech on behalf of the BRA.

The site where the deceased remains were exhumed (inside toora basket with Bougainville flag). A BRA representative (numbered sleeveless shirt) making a speech on behalf of the BRA.

In what was a surreal but very moving event, the deceased’s family was present to witness and accept apology and a small compensation from the BRA representatives, and others who partook in the killing. The deceased remains were recovered from the pit and placed in a Toora (traditional basket for the Nasioi speaking people), while those men who were involved came forward to say sorry and ask for forgiveness from his family.

The deceased own brother Charles Timone represented the family in giving their response. He said that the family humbly accepted the apologies from those involved. And he further went on to say that forgiveness was the way to bring true healing. He stated that there were thousands of similar deaths that occurred during the crisis, and that people who have been affected by such tragedies must have the heart to forgive. Though he admitted that it will be difficult to do so, he pointed out that people of Bougainville have to reconcile with each other first, and that it is the first step to building a better Bougainville. He also declared that the thousands of deaths throughout Bougainville justify a definite referendum for independence, and that independence should be granted without any conditions.

Charles standing before his brother's remains

Charles standing before his brother’s remains

After the speeches and presentation, all those who took part in the killing of John Taruningka came together around his remains and held hands with his brother. This was to signify the act of reconciliation between the victim and his executers. That moment, there was a profound feeling of serenity all around and people began to let their emotions show.

Victim's brother with the men involved in the execution, plus other eye witnesses symbolizing the act of reconciliation through the holding of hands around Mr. Tarinungka's remains.

Victim’s brother with the men involved in the execution, plus other eye witnesses symbolizing the act of reconciliation through the holding of hands around Mr. Tarinungka’s remains.

The deceased remains were taken to his family home for the ‘hauskrai’ before he was given a proper burial the following day. Those present to witness the event were the Orami and Panam people, the Panguna Peace Building Strategy officials and the Catholic Charismatic group from the area.

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Elders want Nautilus seabed mining

The simple question has to be why would these elders want seabed mining? The financial returns are going to be minimal, there will be no new roads, schools or hospitals and the environmental risks are unknown. So what has induced them to declare their support… 

Lawrencia Pirpir | PNG Loop


The New Ireland Council of Elders unanimously agreed to allow large scale extractive industry seabed mining over their three-day meet.

A spirited discussion was held on the proposed Nautilus Seabed mining project and this showed their unity to allow such development.

The council reiterated their call to remain united in calling for large infrastructure investment and firm environmental and other guarantees before any such project begins.

Reports on the mining and resource sector were presented to them and there was considerable discussion of the need to improve the returns to the people from mining carried out on their land, including amending the Mining Act 1992 to return ownership to the people for greater benefits.

Most council members agreed with the landowners and their local level governments.

The 5th Council of Elders meeting was held last week from Tuesday through Friday at Pinikidu Primary School in Central New Ireland.

The council meeting was a major undertaking, the largest in the history of the meetings, bringing together elders and traditional leaders from all 10 LLGs of New Ireland.

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Highlands Pacific recycling old news to try and boost its share price?

Why is Australian mini mining company Highlands Pacific putting out statements about events that occurred over 6 months ago and were reported on at the time?

Not the first time we have seen HP engage in some dodgy practices…

PanAust to get 80% interest in Frieda River Copper Gold project


Ian Hetri | PNG Loop

It was revealed today in a statement released by Highlands Pacific that on 1 November 2013, PanAust Limited (PanAust) had announced that it had entered into a share sale and purchase agreement with a subsidiary of Glencore.

The intention was for PanAust to acquire an 80% interest in the Frieda River Copper Gold project in Papua New Guinea.

It was noted in the statement that the PanAust-Glencore agreement is subject to a condition relating to all applicable regulatory approvals.

“These approvals include Glencore’s satisfaction of the conditional approval given by the Ministry of Commerce, People’s Republic of China to the merger between Glencore International and Xstrata and the approval of the Investment Promotion Authority of Papua New Guinea,” the statement says.

It is also reported that on 1 November 2013 PanAust and Highlands Pacific announced that they had entered into an agreement, subject to the completion of the PanAust-Glencore agreement, providing the framework for the future relationship between the parties in relation to further equity support and the Frieda River Joint Venture.

Highlands Pacific says that on completion of the PanAust-Glencore agreement, for a period of 90 days PanAust will have the right to subscribe to a placement of AU$5 million at the issue price of AU7.76 cents a share.

Highlands will also have the option of requiring PanAust to subscribe to this placement for the same 90 day period.

“PanAust and Highlands have agreed that the two parties will hold interests of 80% and 20% respectively in the Frieda River Joint Venture on completion of the PanAust Glencore agreement.

“The terms of the agreement between PanAust and Highlands provide that should the Government of PNG elect to take up its right under PNG Law to 30% of the project, PanAust will sell down the first 20% of its joint venture interest and thereafter the parties will sell down in equal amounts. Under a scenario where the Government of PNG elects to take up its maximum 30% of the project, the respective joint venture interests would be PanAust 55%, the Government of PNG 30% and Highlands 15%

“PanAust is responsible for 100% of the costs incurred by the Frieda River Joint Venture to finalise the definitive feasibility study for PanAust’s development concept and will appoint and fund the cost of an independent expert to provide a peer review,” the statement reveals.

It is also reported that PanAust will be responsible for 100% of the costs to maintain the Frieda River project site, assets and community relations programs up to the point in time of lodgement of the Mining Lease or Special Mining Lease application.

Frieda River boasts largest copper-gold deposit in PNG


Ian Hetri | PNG Loop

The Frieda River district endowment totals some 2.8 billion tonnes of resource containing 12.9 metric tonnes of copper and 20.4 million ounces of gold according to a statement released by Highlands Pacific today.

The large amount of copper and gold deposits found in Frieda River makes the Frieda River Project PNG’s largest and most important copper-gold project.

According to the statement released today, most studies to date have focused only on the three deposits Horse, Ivaal and Trukai; estimated to contain 2,090 million tonnes at a grade of 0.45% copper, 0.22g/t gold and 0.70g/t silver.

As part of PanAust’s due diligence work, it completed a scoping study based on a smaller circa 24 million tonne per year conventional open pit and flotation operation producing a copper-gold concentrate for export to custom smelters.

“The scale of development is significantly more manageable in the current market environment than the previous design given PanAust’s estimate of development capital in the range of US$1.5 billion to US$1.8 billion (100% basis, 2013 dollars).

“This would equate to a capital intensity of less than US$13,000/t of annual copper equivalent production,” the statement highlights.


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Local alluvial miner calls on ABG to buy gold from them

Romulus Masiu | Post Courier

alluvial miner

LOCAL alluvial gold miners of Bougainville haved called on the Autonomous Bougainville Government to look for money and buy gold from them, smelt into gold bars and put in reserve.

Thomas Pabakumi made the call on behalf of the many alluvial gold miners in Panguna and all over the island region.

“ABG should look for money, buy gold off alluvial gold miners in Panguna and right across the island, smelt them and make gold bars and put as reserve as wealth for the government and people of Bougainville,” Mr Pabakumi said.

Pabakumi is also an alluvial gold miner himself.

Since the giant BCL Panguna Copper mine ceased operations and after the crisis, locals have taken up alluvial mining in the tailings and surrounding of the mine. The number of alluvial miners have rapidly increased also with Bougainvilleans taking up alluvial mining right across the island – from North, Central and South.

Mr Pabakumi said there is already a gold smelter based in Arawa, Thomas Kenteve, who is an expert in the field but is not being  utilized by the government to make gold bars to put in reserve bank.

“Why don’t we use locals on the ground, we can put gold bars in reserves and hold till after referendum – a wealth for the future of Bougainville and its generation.”

Mr Pabakumi said God has given us gold right on our land – the gold grew as grass – why are we selling out of the region to PNG and to other countries to make other countries rich – this is our wealth and we must protect and keep our God given wealth.

“We are the rightful owners of minerals on our land such as gold and we must benefit out of our God given wealth,” Mr Pabakumi.

He said the Momis-Nisira (ABG) must now look for money to hold back gold in the region.

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Mekamui and ABG Unity

Anthony Kaybing | New Dawn

The Mekamui Faction has pledged its support to the Autonomous Bougainville Government and to work together for Bougainville’s greater good.

Mekamui President Philip Miriori made this pledge during a reconciliation ceremony between Mekamui members of North and Central Bougainville.

“Time is against us so our journey towards referendum and independence is in the hands of the common Bougainvillean to work hard to achieve what we fought and died for,” MrMiriori said.

“The next step of this reconciliation will begin immediately for the Mekamui faction to work with Autonomous Bougainville Government and our President Chief Dr John Momis,” MrMiriori added.

MrMiriori said Mekamui’s stand now is for the leaders to take control of peace and unify all Bougainvilleans.

President Momis expressed his satisfaction and joy at the initiative undertaken by the Mekamui in reconciling in its members.

“I want to congratulate the leaders and all the people responsible for taking the steps to reconcile through our Bougainvillean customs to say sorry,” President Momis said.

“As Christians it is also our duty to reconcile and say sorry to one and other so I am truly happy at your initiative,” President Momis added.

The President said that this is a foretaste of big things to come where Bougainville will finally unite and achieve its goal of self-determination.

The President also said that he is very confident that Bougainville will achieve its goal and reassured the people that Bougainville’s progress in peace and unity will prevail.

“The Mekamui Government is the government of all Bougainvilleans and through unity with the ABG we will prevail,” President Momis said.

“The ABG through the Bougainville Peace Agreement is the vehicle that will bring us toward the next frontier of our journey for self-determination which is independence,” declared President Momis.

“Despite the differences and reservations people may have, which is absolutely normal, the ABG in union with the other factions will be the independent government for Bougainville should the people wish it through our referendum,” the President said.

MrMiriori and the Mekamui hierarchy who were present supported President Momis’ stance and pledged to work toward peace and Bougainville’s unity with the ABG.

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Papua New Guinea should not be the guinea pig for experimental seabed mining

Ismael Isikel | Investing in the future

Opposition to experimental seabed mining should be viewed as investing in our future including our environment.

We must not accept to be the guinea pig , but pass it on to more technologically advanced countries and we learn from them. Why should technologically advanced countries choose a country that is least in technological developments by its own citizens and institutions? It is not morally proper and lacks moral conscience.

China and India are two of the leading countries in knowledge and technology on seabed mining and have been major participants in international conferences. The experiments should be carried out in their waters, not in Papua New Guinea.

cartoon showing PNG Mining Minister, Julius Chan and Prime Minister


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