Two parts to Bougainville Copper Agreement review

The Bougainville Copper Agreement (BCA) review process will take on two phases as explained by the legal brains behind the planning.

Autonomous Bougainville Government legal chief executive officer and Tony Reagan, the Australian legal adviser in a recent meeting on the review of the BCA, explained that phase 1 would include preparation now until 2013 and this would involve the following:

  • Incorporation of individual Lease area associations and the umbrella landowner association;
  • Conflict resolution work in central and south Bougainville;
  • Conduct of baseline studies on Environmental, social, health and other baseline studies in the Mine Lease areas;
  • Public Awareness throughout the region and development of appropriate capacity and negotiation position by each party including a joint position by the ABG and Panguna Landowners Association and;
  • * Reaching an agreed process for conduct off negotiations and conclusion of agreement.

Phase two (2) will include Conduct of Review and negotiations which will also include:

  • Each party to be represented by a negotiating team, led by an appropriately authorized lead negotiator;
  • ABG/PLA joint negotiating team;
  • Each team to be supported by appropriate technical advice;
  • Separate negotiation tables to deal with environment, social, and the financial aspects of negotiations.


Filed under Environmental impact, Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

8 responses to “Two parts to Bougainville Copper Agreement review

  1. Steve Zorn

    Sounds awfully technocratic. Too many advisers can spoil the broth, I say as one of the advisers oh so long ago.

    But if John Momis called, I’d be happy to help out.

    Steve Zorn (BCL Agreement renegotiator circa 1974)

  2. Wesely

    I agree.
    My thoughts based on contemporary observations of the situation in PNG and Bougainville are that there should be no negotiations whatsoever until Boagainville, as a society, is re-constructed, schools, roads, hospitals, police, government, other industries, etcetera.
    Aid should come from Australia and other nations and NOT for PNG!
    Forget spurious constitutional objections from Luther Wenge!

  3. Collette Tsiperau

    As a Bougainvillean, I am terribly concerned about this and wonder whether the advisors really know what they’re doing and how they’re doing what they’re doing-no offense just a major concern. The sensitivity of this issue cannot be undermined. The crisis with the mine as a trigger concealing other issues claimed 15 000+ lives and crippled the region for 10 years. ‘How’ this review is undertaken is crucial for the success of future mining and mineral related activities in the region. In my opinion, I think the review should be carried out-what did the BCA fail to implement, what needs to be improved, areas it overlooked and and what it needed to included. Then, there should be a fresh start to the Panguna mining grants.

  4. Wesely

    There is no assurance that whilst people on Bougainville carry firearms that they won’t stop and may start to kill each other again.
    There was a better way to resolve the issue but that time has passed in my view.
    Too much killing has happened.
    I think the place should be made a ‘no go’ zone for mining fro the next 10 years.
    Instead, there should be a focus and community development and capacity building ONLY.

    • Collette Tsiperau

      I understand your sentiments Wesley. However, mineral exploration and mining will not go away. There are other potential areas of mineralisation on Bougainville. At present, there is a growing alluvial mining industry on the island and interested exploration companies trying to negotiate with landowners to conduct exploration in other areas on the island. Thanks to the moratorium on these activities nothing is surfacing in terms of mineral exploration.

      The ABG is in a desperate position to boost and generate the economy of the autonomous region-this is a pre-requisite for independence: self-governance and generation of income revenue for the region. To fund such things as schools and capacity building, ABG needs to generate its economy to provide for this. It cannot depend on aid and allocations by the PNG government forever. Hence, re-opening Panguna seems to be the way to go for the ABG. However, it is a very sensitive issue; one that needs to be addressed with caution and precision.

      The BCA review and its output(s) will definitely influence mineral exploration and mining in other parts of the island, therefore, if they did not get it right the first time (1967) they MUST get it right this time, otherwise all the bloodshed would have been in vain.


  5. Steve Zorn

    Some historical perspective:

    The 1967 agreement, negotiated by the Australian Dep’t of Territories, with virtually no Bougainvillean involvement, was a complete giveaway, both of money and of the living rights of all those communities affected. As for the money, the Aust. technocrats were so inept that they agreed to negotiate on the basis of an economic model presented by Rio Tinto — a model that was actually based on the RTZ Palabora mine in South Africa, a deposit only a quarter as rich as Panguna.

    When we renegotiated the agreement in 1973-74, we fixed the economics, but failed to address the people’s issues at all. And perhaps part of the problem was that we had too many outside advisers. Of the white folks who worked on the deal, only three of us — myself, David Beatty and Ross Garnaut — even were living in PNG. The others, from New York, Cambridge, London, etc., flew in, left their advice, and flew off into the sunset. And, while John Momis was in on the negotiations, there really was no mechanism for involving the community. Mea culpa.

    My suggestion this time around would be to start with the community, and only if and when a consensus emerges, then move on to negotiating the economics of opening the mine. Not re-opening; the old investment represents a sunk cost that no one is entitled to recover. To do otherwise would be to doom the project at the outset. And if a consensus on the ground cannot be found, then there cannot be a negotiation on the economics.

    Just my opinion.

    Steve Zorn

    • Wesely

      My view, expressed once again and having a modestly intimate contemporary view of the matter, is that until there is a broad based local industry, in Bougainville, until there are schools, infrastructure, and everything else, no discussion should be entertained viz a viz re-opening the mine.
      It might take ten or twenty years for the people to recover but the Mine will still be there.
      The Mine’s reopening must not be allowed, or even discussed, if the peoples of Bougainville are compelled to negotiate from a zero point, as in deed, they were in your days.
      Those who don’t learn from their mistakes repeat them.

  6. Collette

    Steve you are right, too many advisers who do not understand the Melanesian context of man-land relationship will spoil the broth.

    As I always say, in Melanesia, man and land come as a package! you can’t have one without the other. Traditional hierarchy and land systems practiced and passed on over generations are in-stilled in almost every Melanesian society in the Pacific. That is the first and foremost ‘governing system’ one knows before they enter formal education. The exception are those born and bred in town centers. This man-land system is not thoroughly recognized in the constitution of PNG but captured in the Bougainville Constitution. Bougainville has a chance now to make things better for itself, learn from past and present experiences and improve on its laws and policies incorporating and recognizing these significant aspects that are the heart of Melanesian life and way.

    There are post-crisis issues that pose a threat to reviving a mineral industry in the region which should be addressed by the ABG in order to progress. Such post crisis issues cannot be ignored and will remain in Bougainville as long as they are not given attention to now and addressed. I cannot disclose of these now as they are part of an on-going research.

    I hope this review and these teams do not try to copy and paste from else where but compare and contrast with other similar regions with similar context and draft an agreement to suit Bougainville’s situation and needs.

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