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.
|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
|Liquefied Natural Gas precinct
– provision for advice-fee cap
|Regional LNF consultation –
|Inpex (gas and oil company) Negotiations – Provision of Advice||2007||$154,750||http://www.griffith.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/124107/24042-gbc-research-report-v8-for-print.pdf