Monthly Archives: June 2011

Lack of govt consultation on Ok Tedi irks Danaya

Post Courier

Papua New Guinea’s Western Province Governor, Dr Bob Danaya, is furious and has expressed concern that there was no consultation by the National Government with his government for the troubled Ok Tedi mine to resume operations.

Dr Danaya said this following the visit by the Minister for Mining, John Pundari, and Minister of Environment and Conservation, Benny Allen, to Tabubil to see firsthand the pyrite spillage site along the pipeline to Bige dredge site.

He asked why Western Province leaders were not included as part of the delegation to accompany the two ministers. He claimed that North Fly MP Boka Kondra was only allowed to join the ministers after he argued at the airport and eventually got on the charter.

Dr Danaya expressed disgust at the National Government for allowing mine operations to resume without any consultation with the Fly River Provincial Government. 
“Is it all about money making at the expense of environmental damage? Where is justice and when will justice be done to the people of Western Province? The Government continues to use a flawed piece of legislation using the indemnity clause in the Restated Ninth Supplemental Agreement to continue to operate the mine,” Dr Danaya said.

He said the indemnity clause states clearly that no legal action must be against OK Tedi mine for any environmental damage caused by the mine operations is inhuman and suppresses the rights of the people affected by the mine. 
He demanded to know whether the leaking pipes have been replaced to improve what he claimed a “bad piece of engineering” in pipeline structure because there is no guarantee that the existing and new pipes would leak or not.

“No amount of compensation will rectify the current environmental catastrophe. 
“Ok Tedi with the Mining Department have always used divide and rule tactics to cause conflict among the people,” the governor said.
The Governor demanded an explanation from the two ministers when he returns from the province next week.

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Marengo’s plan for marine dumping in PNG rejected

By Little Green Palai

LANDOWNERS in the Astrolabe Bay in Madang, Papua New Guinea are rejecting Marengo’s plan to dump mine wastes in their sea.

They made this stand known last week during a meeting with Marengo officials in Ileg, a village on the Astrolabe Bay. The Marengo official were in the communities of Ileg and Bongu to gauge their views  of the company dumping mine wastes in their sea. The people told them, “we are not stupid. We can see what is happening with the Ramu Nickel Project.”

The company officials also told the local people that they plan to build their processing site in the area.

The people said they have been lied to so many times in the Ramu Nickel project they do not want this repeated with the Marengo Mine.

Marengo officials will be back at Ileg for further meetings with the local people next week.

The Astrolabe is in the Raicoast district of Madang and is adjacent to the Basamuk where Ramu Nickel mine’s processing site is.

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PNG govt should stand up to mining bosses

By Reginald Renagi

Many mining companies have failed to exercise great corporate responsibility towards what they are doing in PNG.
The big bosses in this industry have for years not really cared at all about the harm done to our people and damage done by to our natural environment.

It is time the government “grow some spine” and ban BHP Billiton from conducting mining-related activities in PNG.

The government must seriously review its monitoring mechanism now to ensure PNG’s natural environment is not permanently destroyed as a direct result of the extractive industry.
All Papuan MPs must support the call by Western governor and his administration to end all mining activities in the province while the national government and OTML clean up the toxic river.

If need be, shut everything down, dredge the river bed and clean it out before the whole river­ eco-system is destroyed forever.
Papua MPs cannot continue to remain quiet and be manipulated by others.
They must support Governor Bob Danaya, Boka Kondra and mining minister John Pundari now.

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Kondra wants spillage checked

By Junior Ukaha*

NORTH Fly MP Boka Kondra has called on the National Government to send an independent investigation team into his electorate to investigate the pyrite spillage caused by Ok Tedi Mining early this month.

Kondra said although the mine had done its own investigation into the spillage, the report it had produced may have “elements of bias” since the mine and its agents were directly responsible for the spillage.

Kondra said the Wai Tope and Wai Smare River, where the pyrite allegedly spilled, “is the lifeline of more than 50 villages living along the river banks”.
“Given the importance of the rivers to these villagers I want an independent body to investigate the matter,” he said.
“I am not satisfied with the report by the mine as they may cover up some wrongs.”

He said villagers affected by the situation had to venture elsewhere to get fresh water for cooking, drinking and washing.
Kondra said the villagers were scared to go out fishing because the fish could have been poisoned by the spillage.
He said under the MoA signed with Ok Tedi in the 1980s, tailings and other waste from the mine were supposed to be dumped in the Alice River and not the Wai Tope and Smare River.

Kondra said the mine was scheduled to wind-down operations by 2013, but he had heard talks that operations would be extended for a few more years.
He said if that was the case, a “new agreement” must be signed with the landowners addressing issues like proper contingency plans for environmental damage and greater local participation.
Kondra, who is a landowner himself, said without these considerations there would be no mining after 2013.

*The National

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Bougainville Copper shareholders suffer losses and bite back

To all stakeholders in Bougainville Copper Limited

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is quite impressionning that a single TV report like the one of Mr. Thomson [SBS Sunday 26 June] is able to make the share price in Sydney drop significantly.

BCL shares lost almost 18 percent today! You can easily imagine that all investors in BCL are not amused to see this. The worst is that the confidence in Bougainville Copper which is equal with the confidence in Bougainville and its people has been severely damaged. Months of re-polishing Bougainville’s image in the world has been spoilt within a few hours only.

All those who care for Bougainville better future for years must be aware that reports like the one which was broadcasted will throw us back for weeks, months or even years. It is absolutely not acceptable that allegations, lies and suspicion rule Bougainville’s future. One example only:

This SBS gentleman, Mr. Thomson, even did not even mention the massive use of poisoness mercury for alluvial mining. But instead he shows children’s wounds and alleges that they have been caused by Bougainville Copper.

This is outrageous, infamous and ludicrous. Therefore may I invite you to stand together and to do all your very best to build up your landowner bodies and the umbrella body as well as soon as possible.

This will give you a strong voice in the upcoming BCA negotiations and in the future! It is not acceptable that self-appointed spokespersons without any democratic mandate on the ground attract public interest.

The actual image of Bougainville is not encouraging at all, it is even meant to chase away good-willing investors. So, fast-track the ongoing positive development on the ground and restore Bougainville’s image in a sustainable way. I am sure that Peter Taylor, Paul Coleman and our entire crew will give you support to do so.

This address goes to each and every single stakeholder to encourage you to do the best for Bougainville – everyone at his place! Please feel free to forward my email to all good willing friends worldwide.

Warmest regards,

Axel G. Sturm Escaldes-Engordany, 27.06.2011

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MP blames Rio Tinto for Bougainville war

By Jeffrey Elapa

CENTRAL Bougainville MP Jim Miringtoro has blamed Rio Tinto, the former operator of the now-closed Bougainville copper mine, for the losses in the Bougainville war. He said the company and the government of Australia were directly involved in the Bougainville crisis and used the PNG government to start a war against its own people for the benefit of the company.

Miringtoro said the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare had revealed that Rio Tinto was directly involved and responsible for the war on the island as reported on the television network SBS. He said more than 15,000 people including PNG defence force soldiers died during the crisis when it started in 1988 and which lasted 15 years.

“The Australian Government and Rio Tinto used the government to declare war on its citizens as a tool to protect itself, and not the lives of the citizens,’’ he said.

“Somare’s testimony revealed what the people of Bougainville knew of Australia’s and CRA’s (Rio Tinto) involvement in the crisis after destroying the environment and the unfair treatment of landowner,” he said.

Miringtoro said Rio Tinto was not welcome to Bougainville and any intention to reopen the mine by the company with no considerattion for the people would not be allowed. “We do not want the same pig that destroyed our garden to come back. “Those pigs are looters and we do not want them in Paguna or Bougainville,” Miringtoro said.

He said the Bougainville government and the people had their own plans to bring other foreign investors. Miringtoro said the problem in Bougainville was no different from other mining operations in the country. He said the foreign companies had no regard for the welfare and the lifestyle of the landowners as wel. And they did not respect the environment. He said the big companies mistreated and suppressed the people, dictated and controlled  the government to allow them to continue destroying the environment and the people.

Miringtoro said although Peter Taylor continued to deny their involvement in the crisis, the truth remained as revealed by  Somare.

“I thank the Grand Chief Sir Michael for being honest in revealing the truth. He is a true leader and he could have solved the crisis the Melanesian way if he was the prime minister,” he said.

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Is the PNG government also a puppet for the Chinese?

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Michael Somare’s astonishing admission that foreign multinational companies are able to use their powerful positions to dictate the actions of the PNG government raises again concerns about the influence of the Chinese government and its controversial the Ramu nickel mine.

Speaking about the Panguna mine on Bougainville, at a time when he was Foreign Minister, Somare has admitted mining company Rio Tinto “exerted and excised significant control over the government’s actions on Bougainville”; actions that led to the deaths of over 15,000 people

“… the government took direction” from the company says Somare, the company “gave the orders and the government executed them with the company’s assistance and cooperation.”

“Rio Tinto understood that it’s instructions to the PNG government concerning or affecting the mine would be followed, as had always been the case…”

The Prime Minister’s statement, filed in court proceedings in the United States, is especially revealing the light of current allegations that he and his government are now the puppets of the Chinese State owned MCC that is developing the Ramu nickel mine in Madang.

While landowners have secured a temporary court injunction preventing the construction of the mine’s marine waste dumping system, the PNG government has been accused of breaching the country’s Constitution, undermining its democracy and removing indigenous landowners rights in its attempts to serve its Chinese masters.

Such allegations seem to more than mirror the Prime Ministers confessions about Bougainville, where he has admitted has admitted Rio Tinto demanded the PNG governemnt maintain a medical blockade until it had “starved the bastards out” – a reference to the indigenous landowners who had forced the mine to close. Lissa Evans, from Community Aid Abroad’s Disaster Response Desk, suggests this move alone cost the lives of 3,000 Bougainvilleans between 1990 and 1991.

Somare’s statement about Rio Tinto also exposes how during the civil war that erupted on Bougainville over environmental damage from the Panguna mine, Rio Tinto used the same tactics the PNG Chamber of Mine’s is currently employing, threatening theat government that inaction would lead to the loss of all mining investments, thus further forcing them to back the slaughter of innocent civilians.

“In order to prevent Rio from abandioning all of its investments in PNG, the government complied witjh Rio Tinto’s demands”, says Somare

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