Monthly Archives: December 2013

Porgera future under threat as artisan miners flood site

Illegal miners enter site

Philip Kepson | The National aka The Loggers Times

MORE than 1,000 illegal miners have reportedly entered the Porgera gold mine site over the past couple of weeks, causing serious concern for Barrick and government authorities on the future of the multi-million kina gold project.

Barrick management executives and Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) said after a joint visit to the SML (special mining lease) area last Friday, the problem with the illegal miners had reached a catastrophic level and parties involved in the project needed to address the issue urgently.

MRA coordinator of PJV (Porgera Joint Venture) and Mt Kare exploration project Joe Kak Ryangao said after seeing hundreds of people (illegal miners) flooding into the SML area, including the open pit, stock pile sites and other sensitive company facilities, that he would put together a report for the parties to meet soon to come up with ways to address the problem.

Ryangao said the only area the illegal miners had not gone into yet was the underground tunnel which had an electronic entry system.

“I could not believe that hundreds of people were everywhere in the SML area, mainly in the open pit and stock piling sites. These areas are dangerous and restricted to specialist workers only,” he said.

Ryangao said the presence of unauthorised people (illegal miners) in the operation areas became a serious concern as it disturbed the mining operation in a big way and  posed high risks.

He said one of the recommendations he would make for the parties, including Barrick, the landowners and national and Enga provincial governments to discuss, was the relocation of people living within the SML area.

“The illegal miners are from different parts of the Highlands region. They live within the SML area and cause these problems,” he said.

“They need to be relocated to cut down on the number of people causing problem to the mine operation.”

Barrick acting general manager Kevin Fish and open pit manager Craig Rintaul said more than 800 illegal miners entered the mine site daily in the last two weeks.

They said special police personnel and security officers were outnumbered as they (the illegal miners) moved in big numbers, armed with any form of objects including bush knives, stones, iron bars and logs to attack anyone who tried to stop them.

Company executives said they would not authorise security personnel to use excessive force to stop the people as they feared serious human rights implication.

Three illegal miners died three weeks ago after they were reportedly chased into the cliffs by company security people while they were carrying out illegal mining inside the open pit area.

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Fiji Times happy to broadcast mining company spin

Mining company employs eighty

Luke Rawalai | The Fiji Times

THE XINFA Bauxite Mining Company has employed about 80 people within the province of Bua since it began operations two years ago.

Company executive director Sang Lei said many of workers were involved in driving, carpentry works, security and management.

Mr Lei said majority of their workers were from villages in the Bua province and areas around Vanua Levu.

“Since we began operations we had promised to provide employment to the people and we are employing as much workers we can take in,” he said.

“Work rates for our labourers are higher than other labour intensive employments.

“Labourers who hail from outside the province are given a free stay within the company’s facilities and are given free meals every day.”

Mr Lei said they paid out about $1.2million in labour costs to their workers last year.

“We believe that we are playing our part in contributing effectively to the growth of the economy in Nawailevu and the development of its people.”

Company assistant executive director Dereck Qiu said the company was involved in community projects in the Nawailevu area.

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Bullshit Mountain Collapses on Bougainville – President Injured, but No Fatalities

In his Christmas day address, Bougainville’s President began his long awaited U-Turn. “The Autonomous Bougainville Government will slow its push for Mining in the Autonomous region as from the new year”, the President claimed. ‘Never’ one to blame the people for his own mistakes, the President immediately blamed the people for his own mistakes.

New Dawn FM report: ‘He told New Dawn FM that the government was [only] listening to the landowners who wanted BCL to return as investor of the Giant Copper and Gold project but the landowners keep changing sides resulting in the Government losing a lot of money, time and effort in the process that has taken us nowhere’.

But of course this is a lie, and anyone in the mine area knows the people have never changed sides, their side has always been land, environment, custom and community, while Momis and his cronies stand for money, greed, foreign predation and environmental destruction (Francis Ona nailed him on this front in 1989).

Does the President forget about that infamous meeting in November 2011, where Michael Oni, the Mining Minister told landowner leaders “that there was no two ways about [it, the] Panguna mine [is] being opened in the not too distant future”. Doe he forget his own words at this meeting, “[the mine] must be opened and there is an important need for a Unified Stand by ABG and Panguna Landowners”. That sounds very much like a direction from the ABG to the landowner community, not vice versa.

Lets see how long it takes for the ABC to report on the President’s backflip (or BCL’s ‘world class’ blog Bougainville 24), if they do you can bet they wont acknowledge their own role in building this unstable mountain of bullshit that is falling on top of the ABG. For the last two years ABC journalists – the master chefs of corporate excrement – have waged a largely unprompted crusade for their corporate friends and benefactors in Canberra. When SBS dared to speak the unspeakable and expose BCL’s role in war crimes (i.e. real journalism), where did the company’s chairman go to have his empty denials published? Why the ABC, of course.

When President Momis and his friends from AusAID attempted to legalise a resource swindle by sneaking legislation into parliament, who misinformed the public on their behalf? Why ABC, naturally! “New Bougainville Legislation a World First for Landowners Rights to Minerals”, was the headline.

Indeed, for the past year we have been told that President Momis and Rio Tinto are good guys, just trying to develop Bougainville so the people can enjoy independence. Outspoken critics like Sam Kaouna on the other hand, so the corporate line goes, is a greedy self-seeking war-lord in bed with criminal Canadian investors. And with uncanny timing AusAID have funded a research project designed to find out about these alleged Canadian criminals – research run by the same AusAid advisor who oversaw the drafting of the ‘World First’ legislation –  then mysteriously several months later Canadian police arrive on Bougainville, though the ABG assure us that they had nothing to do with the Canadian investigation (Australia though was never asked of its role, curiously enough). Whats that smell?

The people of Bougainville know what it is. They have not forgotten, and will never forget, that President Momis from the comfort of Port Moresby sat in a war Cabinet that ordered a brutal military campaign that involved every crime in the book, execution of civilians, the burning of homes, the forced internment of villagers, and the denial of humanitarian  aid. And who was the Commander in Chief at the time, Rabbie Namaliu. And where is Sir Rabbie today? Why on BCL’s Board of Directors, the company that aided and abetted the military force he sent to the island. People don’t forget the BS, even if the media fails to draw attention to it.

And what of the alleged criminal Sam Kaouna? He risked everything for his people, by going AWOL from the PNGDF in 1989, where he had served, and joining the rebels – not for personal gain – but because he had seen painfully the war crimes being inflicted on fellow Bougainvilleans. The people don’t forget.

President Momis in his Christmas address tells us, “the ABG is now turning its focus on Agriculture [oil palm], Fishing and Forestry for much needed revenue”. To translate, he is selling Bougainville’s other resources to Asian ‘developers’, who he has been busy courting from 5-star hotels in the Philippines and China.

Its almost pathological, the President seems incapable of trusting his own people, yet they survived and innovated under the most brutal conditions imaginable, conditions inflicted on them by a Cabinet in which Momis sat. The people don’t need foreign investors, they need their own government’s faith in them and their abilities to develop an independent economy – what a novel idea.

Momis concluded his address stating “that they will still continue talks on the Panguna mine but on a much slower pace”.

In other words this is a tactical retreat. The cheque book is out at the moment, and in time the ABG hopes to buy and conquer Panguna landowners. They may win over one or two weak individuals, but the people who fought, struggled and died over the course of a decade, their land and dignity is not for sale.

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Some typically on sided reporting from the ABC…

PNG mining i bringim gutpla moni igo long kantri

Caroline Tiriman | ABC Radio

Ol wok mining iwok long bringim planti moni igo long Papua New Guinea na i luk olsem despla kaen wok bisnis bai go hed iet long planti yia ikam.

The Ok Tedi Mine in Papua New GuineaOk Tedi Mine long Papua New Guinea (Credit: ABC licensed)

Planti bisnis laen oa kampani em oli stap insaet long ol wok mining long PNG isave kam long Australia, na sampla tu ikam long Asia na Canada.

Gavman blong PNG isave wok hard tru long pulim planti mining kampani blong ol narapla kantri long go insaet long ol despla mining bisnis.

Wanpla man husat ibin mekim planti wok long despla sekta em Paul Nerau husat ibin wok bifo olsem Consul General blong PNG long Brisbane.

Tasol nau Mr Nerau iwok wantem wanpla bisnis kampani blong Australia na traem pulim planti moa bisnis igo long PNG.

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MRDC: Fiji outlay big

The National aka The Loggers Times

The Mineral Resources Development Company (MRDC) has invested a huge sum in a property development project in Fiji in anticipation of a big return, chief executive and managing director Augustine Mano said. He said the recent investment was big and would increase returns.

Mano said MRDC and two of its subsidiaries were joint investors in the property in Fiji with them having a third of the joint venture.

“MRDC is one third, and then you have MROK (Mineral Resources Ok Tedi) and PRK (Petroleum Resources Kutubu).

“These three partners made the decision after looking at the investment proposal and thought it is a very good investment.

“We were convinced that it will increase the returns,” Mano said.

Fiji Sun recently reported that the big boost to Pacific Harbour as a tourism hub was continuing through major investment by PNG’s MRDC early last month.

It came with the opening of the Pacific Bar and Grill at the clubhouse as part of the The Pearl Championship Golf Course’s upgrade.

As new owners of The Pearl South Pacific Resort, Spa and Championship Golf Course, MRDC was investing US$99 million (K240 million) in the property.

Come 2015, the investment would complete three phases of construction-building for the property.

These are the marina, which is expected to open next month and the building of the new wing and renovation of the old wing of the resort.

Mano said: “We did it because of our diversification.

“It’s like you have the Lamana group and Nasfund, who are doing their own investment in Fiji … ours is similar.

“For us it’s part of diversification and also in terms of our influence in the Pacific.

“The returns at the end of the day is the economic decision,” Mano said.

Mano said: “In Fiji it has to do with tourism. Tourism is like their heart … just like PNG’s mining and petroleum”.

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Fiji: Bauxite mine rakes in about $40M

Watisoni Butabua | Fiji Village

The bauxite mine in Nawailevu, Bua has raked in about $40million from the export of bauxite so far this year.

Mine Manger Basilio Vanuaca said the company has sent nine shipments to China from January to last month.

He said the mining is progressing well and families around the area have benefitted from assistance provided by the company.

He said through this assistance the company was able to provide electricity and water to the community.

The bauxite mine which opened last year has employed 200 people who are skilled and unskilled workers.

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Momis dumps plans for early Rio Tinto return as landowners force u-turn

ABG President John Momis has been forced into an undignified u-turn over plans to allow Rio Tinto back into Bougianville to re-open the Panguna Mine. Key to Momis’s plan was a new Mining Law drafted by Australian academics for hire and financed by the Australian government and backed by the mining industry. But Bougianville people have repeatedly rejected various draft versions of the new law, a position which has now forced Momis to concede defeat. 

ABG TO SLOW MINING PUSH

Aloysius Laukai | New Dawn

The Autonomous Bougainville Government will slow its push for Mining in the Autonomous region as from the new year.

ABG President, John Momis made this known in his Christmas and New Year message to the people of Bougainville on New Dawn FM today….

He told New Dawn FM that the government was listening to the landowners who wanted BCL to return as investor of the Giant Copper and Gold project but the landowners keep changing sides resulting in the Government losing a lot of money, time and effort in the process that has taken us nowhere.

President Momis said that the ABG wants to enact the Mining Law that will protect both the mining company and the resource owners but this has dragged on and on and on with no end in sight.

He said that the ABG is now turning its focus on Agriculture, Fishing and Forestry for much needed revenue.
President Momis said that they will still continue talks on the Panguna mine but on a much slower pace.

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