Chinese the only bidders for Barrick’s troubled Porgera mine

Chinese State owned mining company Zijin is the only company bidding to buy Barrick Gold’s Porgera mine according to reports from Bloomberg [see below].

porgera_burns-266x300If the sale goes through Porgera would be the third mine in PNG in Chinese hands. The Chinese already operate the Ramu nickel mine and have recently purchased the rights to build the Frieda river mine

Zijin Mining is based out of Fujian Province. It is the largest gold producer in China and second largest copper producer. It also produces zinc, tungsten and iron ore.

Barrick is looking to off load its troubled Porgera mine but most potential bidders will be wary of the mines troubled environmental and human rights record.

Final bidders emerge for Barrick’s Australian gold mine
David Stringer and Brett Foley | Bloomberg
Gold Fields Ltd. is among final bidders competing to acquire a $400 million US Australian mine from Barrick Gold Corp., people with knowledge of the matter said.
The Johannesburg-based producer and China’s Zijin Mining Group Co. submitted final offers for the Cowal gold mine in New South Wales state, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the details are private. They are competing with local suitors Evolution Mining Ltd. and Independence Group NL, which also submitted binding bids, they said.
Barrick, the world’s biggest gold miner, said last month it has fielded interest for mines it’s seeking to divest in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Chile. The Toronto-based company plans to reduce net debt by at least $3 billion US this year, partly by selling the assets and cutting staff at its head office.
Zijin Mining has also expressed interest in Barrick’s Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea, the people said. Representatives for Gold Fields, Independence Group and Evolution declined to comment, while spokesmen for Barrick and Zijin didn’t immediately respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment.
Cheaper Production
The Cowal mine, which produced 268,000 ounces of gold last year, may be worth at least $400 million, Morgans Ltd. wrote in an April 22 note to clients. Barrick, which is working with Credit Suisse Group AG on the potential sales, could raise as much as $1.1 billion from divesting Cowal and Porgera, TD Securities Inc. said in February.
Gold Fields, which purchased three Australian mines from Barrick in 2013, is hunting for mines with production costs equal to or lower than its existing assets, Chief Executive Officer Nick Holland said in a Feb. 12 interview. Its production at all major operating regions including Peru, Australia and South Africa fell in the three months to March 31, the company said May 7.
The South African producer had all-in sustaining costs of about $1,143 an ounce in the three months to March. That compares to equivalent costs of $740 to $775 an ounce at Cowal, according to Barrick.

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Another mining mess in Solomon Islands

APID offers way out

Bradford Theonomi | Solomon Star

Asia Pacific Investment Development (APID) has willingly offered a way out of the mess on Rennell mining, suggesting taking the place of exporting stockpiles because they are a legal mining company.The call came after decision taken by Cabinet to approve PT Bintang Borneo limited shipment of stockpiled bauxite from the Rennell mine creating much criticism with the decision taken as a joke.

A Company spokesman said APID stands ready to clean the mess willingly if necessary and requested to do so by the government.

“APID offers better benefit on royalties to the landowners and the government for this one shipment if guaranteed.”

Bintang Borneo, Managing Director was contacted for comments last night but he did not answer his phone.

However an inside source at the Mines office claimed that the Cabinet decision is being politicized.

“Issuing the permit basing it on common sense is a total negligence of the country’s Mining Act.

“What common sense are we talking about here, when already the laws that governs the mining industry spells out clearly,” an inside source revealed.

The statement made by Prime Minister’s Office as lame and acting outside common sense and that the landowners including the country will actually be on the losing end in terms of royalty benefits, added the source.

But the statement issued on approval by the Cabinet said it has considered the pros and cons surrounding the consignment. Concluding that exporting the bauxite was in the best interest of the stakeholders including the landowners and the nation as each would derive benefits from the exports.

According to a letter this paper obtained dated 25th November 2014, the Ministry of Mines explains how Bintang Borneo supposed to pay royalties.

“…this is to confirm that Bintang Borneo Limited is paying to the Solomon Islands Government royalty equal to three percent of the gross value of all raw bauxites ores mined from the Mining Area under the Mining lease or Gross Value based on the Dry Metric Ton (DMT).

…of royalties payable to Solomon Islands Government using the above prescribed rate, fifty percent shall be included in the Consolidated Revenue of the Government of Solomon Islands, forty percent shall be paid into the West Rennell Landowners Special Trust Account for and on behalf of the Central and East Rennell Landowners, and ten percent shall be paid into the Renbel Provincial Special Trust Account for and on behalf of the Renbel Provincial Government.”

But the source reveals comparing royalties of PT Bintang Borneo and Asia Pacific Investment Development Limited (APID) to be a big difference.

“Bintang Borneo is paying royalties at 3 percent compared to APID it pays royalty at 6.5 almost doubled.

“Thus claim of exporting the bauxite was in the best interest of the stakeholders including the landowners and the nation is a total joke and not close to common sense logically,” said the source.

APID Spokesman person said they have nothing to hide but willingly available to clean up the mess knowing very well PT Bintang Borneo is already out of the context from their understanding according to laws of Solomon Islands.

“We do not understand reversing of the cancellation of PT Bintang Borneo’s Mining lease license and gave them a special permit.

“But we want to help clear the mess,” said the spokesman.


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Attempts to reopen Panguna mine will reignite ‘bloody conflict’, warns Australian public servant

In a paper for the Australian Defence College, seasoned Australian civil servant Jo Woodbury has issued a stark warning – current attempts to reopen the Panguna mine represent the greatest threat to peace on Bougainville.

Woodbury coverThis embarrassing critique comes as a fleet of advisers bankrolled by the Australian government continue to push for the reopening, working closely with Bougainville’s President, John Momis, and executives at Bougainville Copper Limited.

Download the full paper1.2MB

Woodbury writes, ‘the mine is seen by some as a shortcut to prosperity … [it] would help provide income, taxes, employment and social services, as well as revive infrastructure redevelopment’. Nonetheless, based off political and economic realities both on Bougainville and internationally, Woodbury concludes, ‘this would seem to be overly optimistic, particularly in the short term’.

Woodbury raises particular concerns about the security risks associated with current attempts to reopen the mine, in the face of popular opposition on the ground. She explains, ‘the problem, of course, is that rushed negotiations on such a contentious and emotive issue, which was at the core of the crisis and still attracts deeply-held and divided opinions across Bougainville, could spark a renewed armed conflict in itself even before the referendum begins. The US Agency for International Development identifies the mine as “high risk” and probably “the most conflict-prone problem in Bougainville today”’.

To lower tensions, Woodbury recommends that ‘resumption of mining needs to be de-linked from the referendum to minimise risk’. She also suggests, ‘there needs to be a greater focus on developing capacity in less contentious industries in Bougainville. Agriculture, fishing, and tourism are potential options’.

Woodbury accepts this will require investment in infrastructure and savvy economic alternatives: ‘There are, of course, challenges in boosting the Bougainville economy without a reliance on mining investment. These include the workforce required, law and order, transport and infrastructure. Major trunk roads, airports and jetties need to be upgraded to transport goods and services, and the power supply network needs to expand. But, most importantly, the political will must be there’.

However, she concludes ‘at this stage, the ABG seems focused on mining’. A position that is also being strongly pushed by Australian government advisors.

The singular focus on this powder keg issue, Woodbury believes, is the most significant threat to the Bougainville Peace Agreement. She explains, ‘the risk involved in pushing Panguna to reopen quickly is high. As some Bougainvilleans have recognised themselves, Panguna should never be used as a condition for Bougainville’s political future’.

She concludes, ‘it would seem preferable—arguably for both foreign donors and the Bougainvillean people—to slowly improve the economic status quo than to have Bougainville descend into bloody conflict again as a result of hurried agreements and aggravation’.

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Kainantu landowners hoping for a better future

Mine locals pledge to cooperate with firm

Eric Balaria | The National aka The Loggers Times

IMPACTED communities of the Kainantu gold mine in Eastern Highlands are keen to work with the new developer of the mine through their new association.
Bilimoia Landowners Association Incorporation chairman Neneti Ekara said the five clans from the mining lease on which the mine sits on, were ready to work with Canadian company, Otterburn Resources and its subsidiary K92 PNG Holdings Ltd to ensure the progress of the project mine.
“We do apologise to the developer for the delay we may have caused through internal related issues that we had that have hindered the operation of the mine on their schedule, in this case, the time taken to identify legitimate landowners,” he said.
“Despite these issues however we do look forward to working with them (Otterburn) and other stakeholders of the Kainantu Mine project soon through our newly developed landowner association.”
Ekara said the reformed association was made up of the five declared legitimate landowners of the Kainantu gold mine which includes Ananvatu, Araraantu, Punano, Koyafute and Anon-Araantu.
He added that he was grateful of the Kainantu district lands officers for their efforts into making sure that proper reports and facts were put in place to identify the legitimate landowners.
“We would like to thank the then special land titles commissioner Peter Toliken and other government officials in assisting these clans from the mining area, which has seen them come under an IPA registered landowner umbrella company.”

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Australia’s interest in Bougainville’s independence is far from locals’ wishes

no go zone

The Abbott government’s controversial decision to upgrade its Bougainville office is perhaps the strongest signal to date of the potential turbulence ahead.’ Photograph: AAP

Australia’s diplomatic push into Bougainville coincides with a referendum on independence and calls to reopen the mine that was closed by bloodshed

Kristian Lasslett | The Guardian

Amid elections on Bougainville, news broke that the Abbott government will establish a new diplomatic mission in this autonomous region of Papua New Guinea (PNG). Australians were subsequently banned by the PNG government from travelling there.

The announcement has surprised many, including PNG’s prime minister, who faces an impending referendum over Bougainville’s independence.

It shouldn’t have. The Australian government has been embedding itself on the island and inside the autonomous Bougainville government, through an expansive diplomatic presence and advisory program.

Australia’s movement has its origins in a 1994 decision by the Keating government to downgrade covert military support for the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF), who were brutally suppressing Bougainville’s independence struggle.

Since then, successive Australian governments have accepted that the independence question must be decided politically.

Whatever the result of the independence referendum, the Abbott government wants to see independence or autonomy arrangements on Bougainville pursued in a way that is congruent with its vision for a stable South Pacific.

This vision is a far cry from the principles that initially inspired landowners to take up arms on Bougainville, which centred on defending indigenous ways of life, cultural systems and ecological values.

A jungle village on Bougainville, 2005. Photograph: Lloyd Jones/AAP

A jungle village on Bougainville, 2005. Photograph: Lloyd Jones/AAP

The blueprint outlining the Abbott government’s position is the 2014 report, Australian aid: promoting prosperity, reducing poverty, enhancing stability. It argues for an aid and diplomacy program centred on “greater trade liberalisation in our region” and making “economies more attractive to investment and other sources of private development finance”.

These aims are underpinned by a strategic belief that security in the Asia-Pacific will be assured when business prospers.

Accordingly, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has proposed withdrawing aid from frontline services in PNG – including the provision of “basic medical supplies”. The savings made will be invested in initiatives designed to “reduce the constraints to business”.

In a part of the world where corporate actors have been free to engage in large scale land grabs, illegal logging, and gross human rights abuses, enhancing the “enabling environment for business” will worry many communities at the coalface of resource extraction and agribusiness.

On Bougainville, the Australian government’s faith in business as a primary driver for security and development has seen a considerable investment in the political infrastructure needed to revive a range of industries. Mining has been at the centre of these efforts.

Australian officials advising the Autonomous Bougainville Government maintain that mining is the only viable economic route for supporting independence or autonomy. Bougainville’s president agrees, and has committed his government to reopening the Panguna copper mine.

This is a contentious move. In 1988 customary landowners used industrial sabotage to close the mine. They shed considerable volumes of blood to ensure it remained closed, as the PNGDF torched villages and executed civilians.

In the war’s immediate aftermath, landowners’ alleged that the mine’s owner, Rio Tinto, logistically aided the PNGDF through its subsidiary Bougainville Copper Limited. These allegations are supported by senior executive testimony and internal company records.

Nevertheless, Australian scholars and journalists are reporting that Bougainvilleans support a resumption of mining under Rio Tinto management. This counterintuitive claim is often followed by the hackneyed claim that landowners “prefer the devil they know”.

There is no factual basis for these generalisations, which have little currency in mine affected communities. It is hard to imagine that landowners, who sacrificed so much to revive a culture and way of life put under existential threat by the mine, will allow its reopening to occur without mounting formidable resistance.

Tensions have been raised by the recent passing of the Bougainville mining bill. Celebrated in the media as a coup for indigenous rights, the legislation, we are told, places landowners in the box seat when it comes to mining.

That one of the act’s principal architects is Adam Smith International (ASI) – an offshoot of Britain’s Adam Smith Institute, the intellectual hub for Thatcherism during the 1980s – has not prompted commentators to pause for thought.

Under the legislation, landowner consent for mining is given an ominously vague definition. For instance, it is possible for a small number of individuals organised through a government sanctioned landowners association, to consent on behalf of landowner communities.

The legislation also gives Bougainville’s government the power to confiscate customary land, with specific provisions nullifying constitutional and common law protections. Those who resist confiscation, face stiff custodial penalties of up to five years prison.

The Abbott government’s controversial decision to upgrade its Bougainville office is perhaps the strongest signal to date of the potential turbulence ahead if Australia’s vision for a prosperous Bougainville is shared by whoever leads the next autonomous Bougainville government.

With Australia’s presence on Bougainville growing, vigorous diplomacy will no doubt be employed to ensure the two governments’ policies continue to align.

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PNG, 40 years after independence, can be more than a quarry

Bougainville’s much-loathed Panguna mine may reopen. Australia and the US are contesting Pacific energy assets. What future is there for PNG?


Bougainvillians living in the remains of the once massive mining venture at the Panguna mine in Bougainville, 2010. Photograph: Ilya Gridneff/AAP

Antony Loewenstein | The Guardian

After years of uncertainty, the once-profitable copper mine on Bougainville, an autonomous province of Papua New Guinea (PNG), could well be reopened.

The chairman of Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL), Peter Taylor, told the Australian recently that “the Bougainville government seems to want the mine reopened, but we have to sit down … and see what’s doable.”

BCL’s Panguna mine opened in 1972, three years before PNG was granted independence from Australia. Bougainvilleans barely benefited from the operation, a deal that smacked of colonial arrogance and resulted in pollution.

In response, locals launched a rebellion in the 1980s against the mine, BCL, and the PNG and Australian governments. The resistance won the ensuing civil war but at a steep human cost: up to 20,000 killed and infrastructure broken.

Today Bougainville is beset by poverty and economic stagnation. I witnessed this myself during two visits in recent years.

The polls opened last week to elect a new government in the lead-up to an independence referendum scheduled before 2020. The local government, along with BCL and Canberra, is pushing for the mine to be Bougainville’s financial saviour, first.

But according to a Jubilee Australia report last year, the vast majority on the island oppose BCL’s return. This tallies with what I heard in towns and villages.

The potential reopening of the mine is one piece of an Australian strategy to open up South Pacific nations to foreign interests. As Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop said in 2014: Australia should “stimulate the [PNG] private sector through growth”.

The situation in Bougainville perfectly encapsulates the parlous state of affairs in PNG as it approaches the 40-year anniversary of its break with Australia.

On 16 September 1975 a ceremony was held in the PNG capital Port Moresby, at which Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam, Prince Charles and PNG’s first prime minister, Michael Somare, declared PNG a constitutional monarchy with membership of the Commonwealth.

The country was was granted independence but its path has been torturous ever since. Canberra never allowed its northern neighbour to fully leave a relationship of dependency, and today provides $577m annually in aid that primarily benefits Australian companies making money there.

The PNG exposed blog – an independent and reliable news and analysis website – has criticised Australia’s attempts to teach PNG leaders how to avoid corruption.

According to the blog, Canberra turns a blind eye to billions of dollars of “PNG taxpayers money [siphoned] through Australian banks and into real estate schemes in Brisbane and Cairns, posh Australian public schools, its glitzy casinos and expensive private hospitals”.

Forty years after breaking free from Australia, PNG suffers shockingly high levels of HIV infection, maternal health issues, domestic violence, aggression against women and illiteracy. Even the PNG government itself admits that “PNG’s adult literacy situation is in dire straits”.

This isn’t solely Australia’s fault; endemic corruption has blighted PNG for decades (US State Department cables released by Wikileaks confirm this). Yet Western donors and resource companies are principally to blame for engaging in neo-colonialism, treating the country as nothing more than a source of wealth for outsiders.

Some of the mining projects currently in operation may be familiar: Ok Tedi, Porgera, Lihir, Ramu. They’re all environmentally destructive and offer little benefit to local communities. At the Porgera gold mine, cases of “extreme sexual violence” by security guards against tribal women and girls resulted in offers of compensation.

It’s unsurprising that most Papua New Guineans I met were sceptical about foreign investment in their country, knowing they would never feel or see any benefit from it.

Others are more hopeful, like US Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. During her time as US Secretary of State, she was open in admitting that the huge energy resources in PNG, especially the Exxon-Mobil LNG gas pipeline that opened in 2014 and is already struggling due to collapsing global commodity prices, was part of a regional contest with China. She chastised China for “wining and dining” Asia-Pacific politicians.

“If anybody thinks that our retreating on these issues is somehow going to be irrelevant to the maintenance of our leadership in a world where we are competing with China, that is a mistaken notion,” she said.

The people of PNG have only been impoverished by so-called leadership from Washington and Canberra. Meanwhile, corruption is rife; PNG’s anti-corruption agency, Taskforce Sweep, was starved of funds earlier this year following allegations they made against prime minister Peter O’Neill.

Perhaps the clearest indication of how Australia views PNG is the Manus Island asylum seeker deal. Slammed by a leading PNG provincial governor as “neo-colonialist”, locals receive little benefit and are really helping the Australian Liberal and Labor parties solve a domestic political problem.

Journalist Jo Chandler, writing recently in the Monthly, shows in great detail the way “Australia is primarily concerned with building the infrastructure to service their interests and comforts.” This is also an accurate summary of the dynamic between Port Moresby and Canberra since 1975.

There’s huge potential in PNG to be a nation that isn’t known internationally for mining and witch burning. Grassroots groups, such as the Madang-based Bismarck Ramu Group, aim to protect local communities and inform them of viable alternatives to resource extraction – such as agriculture.

Yet this year’s 40th anniversary of independence should be a sombre occasion to reflect on four decades of failed Australian interference in PNG. Canberra views Port Moresby as overseeing a massive quarry Australian firms have the right to plunder. We dump asylum seekers on PNG territory while still claiming to be a victim of unscrupulous people smugglers. And our aid money? It’s is an insurance policy against a failed state on Australia’s northern border.

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Moses Havini: leader of struggle for Bougainville’s autonomy

Jim Beatson | Sydney Morning Herald

MOSES HAVINI 1947-2015

Moses Havini speaking at the opening of an exhibition of artwork by his wife, Marilyn, in 2004. Behind Moses is a painting of members of the Autonomous Government of Bougainville. Photo: Anna Pha

Moses Havini speaking at the opening of an exhibition of artwork by his wife, Marilyn, in 2004. Behind Moses is a painting of members of the Autonomous Government of Bougainville. Photo: Anna Pha

Moses Havini, like his namesake, was a man who had a date with destiny. They shared the same cry: “Let my people go.” Neither man lived to see the fruits of his labour realised, but Havini’s struggle for Bougainville as an independent country was fundamental to its destiny.

People meeting Havini were instantly engaged by his intelligent, self-effacing honesty, passion for justice with honour, and sense of humour. At his 50th birthday he announced: “I don’t really know if this is my birthday. The local missionary just turned up one day and declared I was born on the 5th of June. But it’s a good excuse for a party.”

Moses Havini, officially born on June 5, 1947, was from the Nakas clan and son of the paramount chief of the Naboin clan on Buka Island, the northern tip of Bougainville. In 1972, he was Bougainville’s third graduate (BA from the University of Papua New Guinea).

Moses Havini was dismayed by the lack of concern Australians displayed for his homeland's plight.

Moses Havini was dismayed by the lack of concern Australians displayed for his homeland’s plight. Photo: Anna Pha

His story is also incomplete without discussion of his wife, Marilyn (nee Miller): a gracious extrovert, passionate Christian, committed woman’s rights advocate, art teacher and artist.

She explains:

“I became aware of Moses at a Christian Conference held at Melbourne’s Monash University in early 1971 when I was 20. He came as the editor of UPNG’s Christian student newspaper.

“We didn’t get a chance to talk but glances were exchanged. Their group then flew to Sydney and visited my place. We spoke, briefly, before they left. Later I went to the airport to see them off and at the last moment Moses ran over, jumped the fence and asked for my address. We became instant pen pals.

“Then I was selected by Australian Girl Guide Association as a Sea Ranger on a service project to Port Moresby where Moses was studying. We met, fell in love quickly, Moses asked both our fathers for permission to marry. Both agreed, while Moses’ father said that he could not speak for his people unless they met me.”

So during Moses’ mid-semester break, they travelled to Buka, where Marilyn was adopted into the clan and married in July 1971.

Not long after the wedding Moses received notice that as his wife was now paid as a lecturer at Port Moresby Teachers College, his university scholarship was cancelled. Simultaneously Marilyn received a dismissal notice saying that because she was married, it was her husband’s job to support her. Both letters were signed by the same Australian colonial head of the Education Department. Moses became a private student and graduated in record time.

Marilyn consulted clan leaders across Bougainville before winning the PNG competition for a Bougainville flag.

Although he was a graduate in law, Havini, knew that Bougainville, 1000 kilometres west of Papua New Guinea, was historically, geographically and culturally the principal island of the Solomon Islands. It had become a province of PNG in the mid-1890s as Britain, Germany and the US exchanged scraps of empires.

It became part of German New Guinea and was taken by Australia at the start of World War I. It was taken by Japanese at the start of World War II, and later by Americans, who handed it back to Australia as a UN Trust Territory.

In 1971 and ’72, Havini made several trips to Port Moresby, returning with strategies and recommendations for a localised transition towards district government. He replaced an Australian as the adult education officer for Bougainville and established many literacy and correspondence courses.

He also famously “captured” the PNG education minister, Sir Ebia Olewale, and took the minister up the Buka road to meet the local Hahalis Welfare Society, which was demanding a local school. Sir Ebia returned to PNG Parliament and carried through on his promise.

Havini’s dedicated and unpaid work for political representation to PNG for Bougainville led to his appointment by the nine local government councils in the province as their executive officer in setting up district government.

Gough Whitlam’s government wanted to grant independence quickly to its PNG Trust Territory, and was committed to preventing it from becoming a “failed state”. Whitlam believed the vast profits of the Panguna mine on Bougainville could prevent that outcome, but only if most of PNG’s slice of the negotiated agreement with the miners went to the Port Moresby government.

Havini and much of Bougainville’s population had other ideas. But first, on a Fulbright Scholarship, Havini visited America in January 1975 studying government and administration. He returned to tightening tensions between PNG and Bougainville.

On May 28, 1975, the Interim Provincial Government in Bougainville agreed to secede from PNG. On September 1, 1975, a month before PNG’s planned Independence Day, Havini carried the Bougainville flag to Wakunai (North Bougainville) and a Universal Declaration of Independence (UDI) was proclaimed. Similar ceremonies were conducted around the island.

In January 1976, at Hutjena, the PNG police fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters into the crowd. Havini, a man committed to non-violence, was hit in the back with a canister, causing a wound that took months to heal and left a large scar.

Bougainville was unable to get other countries to recognise its UDI. So a negotiated settlement for “provincial” status led to Havini’s appointment as Clerk of the Assembly, 1977-81, then Speaker of the Provincial Parliament Assembly, 1982-85.

The uneasy rapprochement with PNG ended in 1989 when villagers blew up two power pylons carrying electricity to the Panguna mine. Further conflict followed and within months the mine was closed.

In January 1990, Moses, Marilyn and their four children fled Bougainville and moved to Sydney.

As Havini was married to an Australian citizen, PNG’s request for his deportation as a “terrorist” was unsuccessful. For the next 15 years Havini, living in Sydney, was the representative of the Interim Government of Bougainville for the region and the world.

PNG’s Defence Force received Australian-supplied helicopters and patrol boats to blockade Bougainville, where cerebral malaria was endemic. The struggle to create an independent Bougainville was on, turning quickly into a long, bloody, war, but one with no doctors or medical and food supplies.

Connected to his homeland only by satellite telephone and fax, Havini learned the arts of diplomacy with the UN, media, Australian and regional politicians. He attracted supporters to build an Australian political base, the Bougainville Freedom Movement, when Australian progressives were more motivated by events in East Timor.

A decade later the Bougainvilleans again learned that although they had won the war with PNG and set up the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), the victory had little meaning if no country recognised the winner.

So Havini decided his focus was to encourage a just peace between Bougainville and PNG. He made representations to the United Nations Human Rights Council, supported by Bougainvillean delegations. These efforts were also supported by the many women’s groups on Bougainville that Marilyn had helped to create. They charmed foreign minister Alexander Downer to take seriously the need to support a New Zealand initiative to set up peace talks. These led to the Bougainville Peace Agreement, where Havini was a key member on the ABG’s side. It decreed that all armed personnel should be withdrawn from the island by December 2002.

Havini also became adept at providing the detailed briefings needed by good journalists. The Australian correspondent of London’s The Times, Robert Cockburn, discovered the ADF member who had came up with the concept of the medieval-style blockade of the island and later wrote the related stage play, Hotel Hibiscus. Another journalist started a campaign to collect medical and other supplies in Australia for the beleaguered population – an idea copied across state capitals. Fred Hollows became one of the collectors while the ABC’s Mark Corcoran said his visit put him onto a career path that would drive his life.

By 2005 the Havinis had moved back to Buka, as negotiations between PNG and the ABG had established autonomy on Bougainville. Moses became mentor to the ABG as director of parliamentary committees. Marilyn says Moses’ aim throughout his life was to see “Papua New Guinea as a friendly neighbour, rather than their ruler”.

In August 2013, Havini was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and returned to Sydney for treatment.

The head of New Zealand police’s Bougainville Peace Team, the clerk of the NSW Parliament and PNG’s high commissioner to Australia attended his Sydney funeral and he received a state funeral on Bougainville.

Moses Havini is survived by Marilyn, their children Rikha, Torohin, Solomon and Taloi, four grandchildren and adopted children Patrick, Maria, Sissi, Justin, Judith, Genevieve and Jennitha.

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