AusAID adviser to ABG has financial links to Rio Tinto

PNG Exposed

Ex-combatants on Bougainville have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Autonomous Bougainville Government, its leaders and advisors over the public consultation process on new Mining laws and re-opening the Panguna mine. Particular criticism has been made of Professor Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh, who ex-combatants perceive as acting in the interests of Rio Tinto.

The ex-combatants may have a point!

Professor Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh takes “substantial” amounts of money from Rio Tinto to conduct research – while at the same time advising landowners and the ABG on mine negotiations with Rio Tinto.

Is this a conflict of interest?

This was revealed on New Matilda earlier this year:

“O’Faircheallaigh’s appointment [as an ABG adviser] was trumpeted in an upbeat announcement on Griffith University’s website in September 2011:

“The last time the Bougainville Copper Mine was open, a civil war broke out in Papua New Guinea. This time help is at hand to re-open one of the world’s largest open-pit mines with the assistance of Griffith’s Department of Politics and Public Policy Professor Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh. Professor O’Faircheallaigh has twice been contracted through Coffey International [AusAID service provider] to examine mineral policy options and start preparations for negotiations.”

“Absent from this media release – pithily titled “Griffith academic negotiates a mine field” – is mention of O’Faircheallaigh’s close association with the research project at the epicentre of a recent controversy involving Marcia Langton and her Boyer Lectures… Along with Langton, O’Faircheallaigh is a chief investigator on the $480,000 study, which is part bankrolled by Santos ($45,000), Woodside ($30,000), and perhaps most controversially, given O’Faircheallaigh’s role on Bougainville, Rio Tinto (Rio’s support is for an undisclosed amount, but on the project’s website it is described as “substantial financial assistance”)”.

We don’t know how much AusAID is paying O’Faircheallaigh for assisting the ABG and landowners – he is contracted via Coffey International and they do not disclose the particulars of their AusAID deals – nevertheless, public disclosure information from Griffin University, suggests it must involve serious sums of money.

Project Date Amount (AUD) Source
Bougainville, Provision of Advice to the Autonomous Bougainville Government on the reopening of the Panguna mine. 2011-2013 ??????
Provision of Advice to the Kimberley Land Council on LNG 

Development in the Kimberley

2010 $226,976
Liquefied Natural Gas precinct 

– provision for advice-fee cap


2009 $ 147,500
Regional LNF consultation – 

responsible development

2008 $183,096
Inpex (gas and oil company) Negotiations – Provision of Advice 2007 $154,750 




Filed under Papua New Guinea

3 responses to “AusAID adviser to ABG has financial links to Rio Tinto

  1. John Barre

    Why are landowners wasting time talking about this USAID advisor. Get rid of him and pass a vote of no confidence in john momis. Simple. John barre. Madang.

  2. lungun m

    Has John Momis got anything to offer to the people of Bougainville? Sorry to say to you Bougainvilians, but couldn’t it be better for new blood. He is from the old generation of half educated, yes sir type who has nothing to offer and consequently the people have suffered much. I cannot understand how the Bougainvilleans could still hold onto such recycled characters to lead. Unfortunately it’s the same old story for rest of PNG.

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