Monthly Archives: October 2014

Massive Protests in Porgera over violation to MOA agreement with landowners

porgera protest

Porgera Alliance

On October 28, 2014, hundreds of Porgerans marched onto Barrick Gold’s Porgera mine site to demand benefits that rightfully belong to the Porgera Special Mining Lease (SML) Landowners.

porgera protest 2On Oct 17, Barrick Gold was given a 48 hour ultimatum to respond to requests by landowners at their controversial Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea.

The first demand, that Barrick become Party to a revised Porgera Mine Memorandum of Agreement and make a date to commence MOA review, has been the landowners “number one ask from day one”, according to a letter dated October 17, 2014 from the landowners association to Barrick management.

For many years, the Porgera Landowners Association has been urging Barrick Gold for the resettlement of their people away from the Porgera mine site, through MOA reviews, and an international pressure and educational campaign including an OECD complaint and several appeals to the United Nations.

After the protest reached the Barrick mine, the company agreed to give an answer to the landowner’s demands by Nov. 10, 2014.

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Anthropology exposes how miners shape our world and our views of it

the gold mine dumps 58 million tonnes of tailings per year into the ocean. Meanwhile, during an annual company-led beach clean-up, mine workers talk about villagers’ environmentally problematic rubbish disposal and “overfishing” of onshore reefs. In this way, they justify company-led local development projects to lift people from their ecological harm-causing poverty

Mining has become an industrial actor central to many of the most compelling political and social debates of our time. AAP/Dan Peled

Mining has become an industrial actor central to many of the most compelling political and social debates of our time. AAP/Dan Peled

Sally Babidge* | The Conversation

Miners do much more than extract minerals and make profits. All over the world mining corporations are collaborating with governments, local populations and NGOs. Their logos, mottoes and CEOs seem to pervade the news media, including the social sections.

The Australian government recently repealed the mining tax. In September, the Queensland parliament passed the Mineral and Energy Resources Act, which has removed citizens’ rights to object to 90% of new mines. This is part of the mistaken move by late capitalism: allow mining companies to regulate themselves and at the same time play a powerful role at all levels of society.

Mining has become an industrial actor central to many of the most compelling socio-ecological debates of our time. These include the place of corporations in politics, environmental management and climate science, the ethics of resource use, and the global unevenness of development and social change.

A flurry of new books from social anthropologists examines mining corporations, mining impacts and mining conflicts. But what can anthropologists tell us about mining that we didn’t already know?

In part, anthropologists help to reveal how the “corporate effect” is produced: how an entity comes to be singularly powerful despite internal inconsistencies. This fracturing of power through description of its social process is admittedly sometimes slow to appear in print. But perhaps the most useful aspect of anthropological analysis to the broader public in the past 50 years, and particularly in the past ten, is the work examining corporations.

Mining corporations have a vast reach

Recent ethnographies, one by Marina Welker and the other by Stuart Kirsch, are different takes on how we might understand how mining corporations make our world and the problems with leaving them to it.

Social anthropologists are perhaps most known for their work among Indigenous Peoples in relation to mining conflicts. Many also work inside mining companies as staff in corporate social responsibility (CSR) sections, in mining NGOs and as independent academic researchers “studying up”.

Welker spent more than two years of observation inside the mining giant Newmont in its Denver offices and at a mine site in post-authoritarian Indonesia. She then wrote about how the corporation is much more than an entity enacting the desire for profit and driven by CEO psychopaths.

Welker is interested in showing how the corporation makes its boundaries, activates interests and creates its responsibilities. She internally differentiates the apparent Leviathan, showing how “moral self-narratives” help employees make sense of its impact.

For example, the gold mine dumps 58 million tonnes of tailings per year into the ocean. Meanwhile, during an annual company-led beach clean-up, mine workers talk about villagers’ environmentally problematic rubbish disposal and “overfishing” of onshore reefs. In this way, they justify company-led local development projects to lift people from their ecological harm-causing poverty.

This is not a simple smokescreen. Tales told internally about “doing good” allow the company to define itself as responsible through scientific and moral justification.

The Ok Tedi mine has caused significant environmental harm but is also a major source of PNG government revenue. AAP/Lloyd Jones

The Ok Tedi mine has caused significant environmental harm but is also a major source of PNG government revenue. AAP/Lloyd Jones

Kirsch’s long-term field research with peoples affected by mines in Papua New Guinea synonymous with disastrous environmental impact – Ok Tedi and Porgera – is a more traditional-style anthropological study. His ethnography gives credence to his criticism of these reputational campaigns.

The socially and environmentally “sustainable” mining industry is familiar to many of us and is publicly demonstrated through corporate audit. Using the word “sustainable” to describe an industry that is finite by definition is a corporate oxymoron. The effect is to co-opt the language of mining critics and render it meaningless.

An analysis of audit practices shows these to be more about measurement of self-defined performance indicators than effective regulation of an always potentially damaging industry. Audit, Kirsch writes, is a formalised loop “by which the system observes itself”.

The loop is also evident through Welker’s insider access. Her research exposes the regulatory ineffectiveness of having the industry set its own gauges and engage consultants to do the accounting.

Mine managers resignedly submit to or sidestep expert consultant auditors. Their attitude of “utopian modernist” ideals for a “perfectly functioning system” sits uneasily alongside the messy reality of a gold mine.

Miners invest heavily in image-making

Corporate social responsibility programs have improved the behaviour of actors in the mining industry at least partly as a response to criticism from NGOs and citizen groups. A member of Barrick’s CSR advisory board told us that:

… we live in a world where reputation matters and that’s more transparent than ever before.

The Abbott government has even entrusted a review of social welfare policy to mining boss Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

The Abbott government has even entrusted a review of social welfare policy to mining boss Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

The industry is continually evolving its CSR practices in response to criticisms but also in collaboration with environmental, human rights or social justice NGOs. Some of the larger organisations have teamed up. They include Oxfam with BHP Billiton to run a program on participatory development, Rio Tinto with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and collaborations such as the Devonshire Initiative in Canada.

Such social development programs have effectively “turned combatants into collaborators”, to quote Dinah Rajak. Kirsch sees the division among citizen groups as part of a strategy by which mining corporations gain control of local situations to the detriment of environmental and social conditions. Or, as Welker would have it, it is an effect of their moral campaign to move local communities toward a capitalist future.

Ethnographies provide a detailed empirical basis for an argument about mining’s role in the reproduction of social and environmental inequality and about the problems of acting as their own regulators and undertaking community development activities.

Anthropologists ask: how have things come to be like this? These studies take our knowledge beyond the resigned sneer of cynicism that the only thing CSR enacts is a smokescreen. They seek to explain the veneer.

In this way, we can move beyond simple criticism to show how global corporate giants are made and remade in social, moral and political forms.

Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, Head of Discipline at The University of Queensland

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ABG AusAID Advisor, Anthony Regan, Slams Central Bougainville Leadership

Anthony ReganIn an extraordinary break from his ‘neutral’ role as Australian aid funded adviser to the ABG, Anthony Regan has launched an extensive attack on elected leaders from central Bougainville in an Australian journal, Security Challenges [see link below].

According to Regan no-one on Bougainville opposed to Rio Tinto for its past misconduct has pure motives, they are all in the pay of backdoor players!

He claims Lawrence Daveona ‘the executive of the  Panguna Special Mining Lease landowners association, has come under the  influence of an adviser [David Martin] from the United States. They too support Panguna  re-opening, but oppose BCL, mainly on the basis that the adviser claims to  be able to raise the approximately US$6 billion need to re-open the mine,  which would permit the Panguna landowners to own the mine lease’.

Regan has also suggested that the central Bougainville MP’s concerns over environment and landowner trauma is nothing but a trick. He argues, ‘the Member of PNG Parliament for Central Bougainville, Hon. Jimmy Miringtoro, wants the Panguna mine to re-open, he favours his own candidate company to replace BCL’.

Not finished, Regan also goes after the Me’ekamui Government of Unity – ‘The Me’ekamui Government of Unity, based at Panguna, also opposes the re-opening of Panguna, mainly because in the absence of large-scale mining there, the leaders have been entering, or attempting to enter, a range of agreements with foreign interests, in which they have purported to grant long-term rights over minerals in various parts of central Bougainville’.

It does not stop there. According to Regan, the only ones who are pure of  heart in their criticism of Rio Tinto are OUTSIDERS – but he claims, these outsiders are too stupid to realise they are being used by the backdoor players to help rob Rio Tinto of its Panguna gold.

He argues,  ‘From early 2013, when public discussion first emerged about ABG development of “transitional” mining legislations, a curious and perhaps to some extent unwitting “alliance” developed between the outside mining interests and their Bougainvillean partners, on the one hand, and PNG and Australian activists on the other’.

He suggests, ‘none of these activists [critical of Rio Tinto] have long and deep connections to Bougainville, nor detailed understanding of the current problems and pressures facing Bougainville, they have perhaps unwittingly developed alliances with outside interests seeking to get control of mining and mining revenues for their own benefit, and contrary to the interests of Bougainville’.

This narrative created by Regan which claims outsider critics of Rio Tinto are pure in motives but thick, while all Bougainvillean opponents of Rio Tinto, are on the payroll of backdoor players, is an insult to all those who fought and died fighting Rio Tinto for reasons OTHER than money. He doesnt understand land and culture are worth more than money.

Will the ABG President finally come out and condemn these attacks on his constituents and colleagues?  Enough is enough!

Download: http://www.securitychallenges.org.au/ArticlePDFs/SC%2010-2%20Regan.pdf [350kb]

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UN acknowledges PNG model of development failing

polyp_cartoon_Trickle_Down_EconomicsThe United Nations has been forced to admit that PNG’s development model – based on unrestrained capitalism and large foreign owned resource extraction – is not benefiting ordinary people – see story below.  But the UN can’t grasp what really is wrong and therefore offers only the rather ridiculous conclusion that better training is what is needed to sort things out! The fact is the development model is the wrong one for PNG and it has been imposed on us by foreign powers who seek only to profit from our resources. Roy Trivedy should read up on the history of other nations who have been forced to follow the false wisdom of the World Bank, US, European Union, World Trade Organisation etc etc… and then he should study our PNG Constitution to learn about a much better development model suited to our needs NOT theirs!

UN says PNG not seeing due growth

The United Nations says Papua New Guinea’s increased economic growth is not resulting in the expected rise in jobs and societal improvements.

The resident coordinator for PNG, Roy Trivedy says rural areas are not seeing better human development outcomes, despite 14 years of continued economic growth.

He says one problem with employment levels is that rural people especially are not trained and don’t have the skills needed for the jobs available.

“How do we ensure that jobs are created, that we have a human resource base with the right skills to take up those jobs and so on. We definitely need more jobs, job creation and we need better training programmes, better apprenticeship programmes and so on throughout the country.”

Papua New Guinea's capital, Port Moresby. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Papua New Guinea’s capital, Port Moresby. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Roy Trivedy says NGOs and other development partners need to work closely with governments in the countries at all levels, to coordinate their efforts better.

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PNG Ok Tedi pipal i wari long kompenseisan moni

View of the Ok Tedi mine workings

Ok Tedi mine long PNG (Credit: ABC licensed)

Caroline Tiriman | ABC Radio Australia

Ol papa graon klostu long OK TEDI mine long Papua New Guinea nau i wari tru nogut bai oli no nap kisim kuik Compensation moni blong ol.

Oli wari long wonem oli no save husat tru bai baem K500 tausan kina igo long Bank blong redi-im ol despla moni blong ol papa graon.

Siaman blong PNG Sustainable Development Program Sir Mekere Morauta ibin autim despla wari blong en na oli no gat despla kaen moni long givim igo long Bank.

Emi tok stat long taem  gavman blong Praim Minista Peter O’Neill ibin kisim OK TEDI mine na stopim wok blong PNGSDP, despla i kamapim planti heve long ol papa graon.

Martyn Namorong emi wanpla mansave  blong social media na emi kam long Western Province we Ok Tedi mine istap long en na emi tok gavman na Ok Tedi imas stretim kuik despla wari long wonem ol pipal imas kisim ol liklik moni blong ol.

Emi tok tu olsem ol papa graon isave kisim despla moni blong helpim sidaon blong ol long ples, long wonem olgeta bus, na wara blong ol i bagarap pinis long ol posin pipia blong mine.

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Lessons for PNG on the Precautionary Approach in experimental seabed mining

Rakhyun Kim and Donald Anton | The Australian National University

The New Zealand decision under the EEZ Act teaches a number of lessons for other Pacific Island countries that have growing interests in deep seabed mining as a means of economic development.

Papua New Guinea (PNG), for instance, has garnered attention for issuing a commercial deep seabed mining license to a Canadian company Nautilus Minerals. Nautilus is supposed to begin the world’s first seabed mining operation on the PNG continental shelf in 2016 and, if successful, will prove the technical and economic viability of seabed mining.

Other Pacific Island developing countries are in the process of designing legal regimes to provide a favourable environment for foreign investment and satisfy those environmentally concerned.

The concern is that these early movers are operating on a set of untested assumptions, namely that seabed mining will raise a significant amount of revenue to stimulate national economic development while preventing serious harm to the marine environment.

As illustrated in the Trans-Tasman Decision, however, there may be too many uncertainties at this stage with respect to effects on the environment as well as the economy.

In the face of such uncertainties, international law dictates that states apply the precautionary approach in decision-making.

Abstract:      This short piece analyses a recent path-breaking decision by the Decision-making Committee (DMC) of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) of New Zealand.

In Trans-Tasman Resources Ltd Marine Consent Decision (June 2014), the DMC considered New Zealand’s first application for ‘marine consent’ for continental shelf seabed mining under the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012 (EEZ Act).

Download the 19 page PDF File: The Precautionary Approach in Seabed Mining

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NZ EPA ‘should reject seabed mining application’

Cindy Baxter, Fuseworks

Evidence submitted so far to the EPA’s hearing on a deep sea phosphate mining proposal for the Chatham Rise shows the proposal should be rejected for a number of very concerning reasons, environmental groups said today.

Chatham Rock Phosphate wants to mine phosphate off the seabed, 450m deep on the Chatham Rise, off the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

Greenpeace, Kiwis Against Seabed Mining and the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition have combined their representation at the meeting and today gave their submission at the hearings in Hamilton.

The activity would negatively impact both the mining area, and the site around it, destroying the benthic environment of the mined area and far beyond.

“The evidence shows that there is no realistic possibility that the area can be remediated,” lawyer Ruby Haazen, representing the three groups, told the hearing today in their summary of evidence.

“Chatham Rock’s proposal will destroy or put at risk significant biodiversity,” she said.

Lack of baseline information

Evidence that had been presented throughout the hearing showed a lack of baseline information about the creatures and corals that lived at that depth. No marine mammal survey had been carried out, and there were significant gaps in the evidence on noise, which could cause temporary or permanent threshold shift (hearing loss) in marine mammals 3 km away. The phosphates have high levels of uranium, which has raised many questions about the effects of uranium on marine species.

Questions over mining company

She also noted that Chatham Rock Phosphate had not yet even confirmed which company would undertake the mining. International mining company, Boskalis, had presented evidence for the company, but the groups had a number of concerns about the company, such as the fact that it had been involved in numerous environmental breaches – some alleged, some proven.

If Boskalis were to go ahead with the mining, this would raise a number of legal issues in the face of any environmental problems. It flew a “flag of convenience,” which are commonly used to avoid stringent regulation.

“It is completely unclear who will have responsibility if something goes wrong. The EPA may face a game of passing the buck between Chatham Rock Phosphate and Boskalis,” Haazen told the hearing.

KASM chair submission

Kiwis Against Seabed Mining Chairperson, Phil McCabe, told the hearing that the application was a “world first” in terms of seabed mining at such depth. Yet little was known about the impact, and Chatham Rock Phosphate had not done enough research. The company had cut corners and there was still not enough information to provide evidence-based understanding of the impacts.

“I am genuinely flabbergasted that they did not do a marine mammal survey. We had thought the Trans Tasman Resources’ baseline was bad, and it was, but here they didn’t even try.”

He noted that given this was a world first, there was a “unique burden of responsibility” on New Zealand to “set the bar high” on such an important decision on “an activity that promises little more than further destruction and degradation of our life supporting marine environment.”

 

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Bougainville Voices Say ‘No’ to Mining

Indigenous communities continue to live around the edge of the Panguna copper mine in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, which was forced to shut down in 1989. Credit: Catherine Wilson/IPS

Indigenous communities continue to live around the edge of the Panguna copper mine in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, which was forced to shut down in 1989. Credit: Catherine Wilson/IPS

Catherine Wilson | Inter Press Service

The viability of reopening the controversial Panguna copper mine in the remote mountains of Central Bougainville, an autonomous region in the east of Papua New Guinea, has been the focus of discussions led by local political leaders and foreign mining interests over the past four years.

But a report by an Australian non-government organisation warns that the wounds left on local communities by the corporate mining project, “the environmental destruction associated with it” and the civil war that stretched from 1988 to 1997 are far from healed.

Its findings include widespread opposition in directly impacted villages to the mine’s revival in the near future.

“I believe the report was honest and sincere in that it gave people from the mine-affected areas an opportunity they are not always accorded, to come out and really make known to the world their problems, hopes and fears,” Jimmy Miringtoro, member of parliament for Central Bougainville, where the mine is located, told IPS.

The mine was formerly operated by the Australian company Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL), which is 53 percent owned by Rio Tinto, from 1969, but forced to shut down 20 years later following an uprising by indigenous landowners angered by economic exploitation, loss and degradation of land, and political marginalisation.

The ‘Voices of Bougainville’ study was conducted at the end of last year with 65 individuals and a focus group of 17 living in 10 villages in and around the mine site by Jubilee Australia, which investigates Australian state and corporate responsibility for environmental and human rights issues, in association with a university research consortium called the International State Crime Initiative, and Papua New Guinean civil society organisation Bismarck Ramu Group.

“The study was not an opinion poll … our primary aim was to better understand local views on mining and development … it was felt that there was an absence of publicly available qualitative data offering a window into the past and its interspersion with the present in the mine affected region,” Kristian Lasslett of the International State Crime Initiative told IPS.

The former mine lease area covers 13,047 hectares of forested land and the main villages in the vicinity of the mine are home to an estimated 4,000-5,000 people, according to data obtained by IPS in 2011 through interviews with locals.

“BCL destroyed our lives, took our land, took our money and never properly compensated our parents who were the rightful titleholders of the land which they took … now they want to come and reopen Panguna mine, this is a no, I personally say no to the reopening of the Panguna mine,” said a villager from Dapera, near to the mine pit, quoted in the report.

His claims find echo among grassroots communities. Panguna landowner and member of the Bougainville Indigenous Women Landowner Association, Lynette Ona, agreed that most people in the area didn’t want mining. Ona recently led a women’s delegation to the PNG Prime Minister’s office to raise their opposition to mining before the region achieved complete self-government.

Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) President John Morris has publicly rejected the report and its findings, claiming that there is majority support for the industry if negative impacts are avoided.

He is supported by landowner associations, which are members, along with Bougainville Copper Ltd and the PNG Government, of the multi-stakeholder Joint Panguna Negotiations Co-ordinating Committee.

A troubled history

The Panguna copper mine opened when Papua New Guinea was under Australian administration and delivered around two billion dollars in revenues, of which 94 percent went to shareholders and the PNG Government and 1.4 percent to local landowners.

Hostility and opposition to the mine by local communities, apparent from the exploration phase, intensified when environmental devastation, air pollution and tailings from the mine, which contaminated agricultural land and the nearby Jaba River, decimated their health, food and water security.

“We planted taro, but it wouldn’t grow like before [the mine] and the breadfruit trees didn’t have any fruits […]. In Panguna, the chemicals are still there in the river. No-one drinks the water, there is no fish there,” Ona described.

When BCL refused to pay landowners compensation of 10 billion kina (about 3.9 billion dollars) in 1989, a 10-year civil war broke out between Bougainville revolutionary forces and the PNG military leading to widespread destruction on the island and an estimated death toll of up to 20,000.

Peace-building initiatives supported by the United Nations and international aid donors have been ongoing since the 2001 peace agreement, but post-conflict trauma remains mostly untreated and disarmament and reconciliation is unfinished.

A majority of the study’s respondents were concerned about problems related to the mine and conflict, which had not been addressed, and lack of justice in the peace process.

“No-one has been brought to court; the issue has been ignored despite its seriousness,” said a woman from Darenai village.

“Imperative” to generating state revenue

Reviving the mothballed mine is imperative to generating sufficient state revenue to “make greater progress towards autonomy and our choice about independence,” ABG President Morris said during a speech to the Bougainville House of Representatives in August.

A referendum on the region’s independence from Papua New Guinea (PNG) is planned within the next six years.

BCL estimates Panguna contains more than three million tonnes of copper reserves and could produce 400,000 ounces of gold per year. Restarting the mine would require an investment of five billion dollars with potential revenues estimated at more than 50 billion dollars.

Bougainville has an estimated population of 300,000 and potential direct employment of only 2,500 has been suggested with the ratio of local workers not identified.

Since 2010 the Bougainville government has established a framework for landowner consultations and conducted stakeholder forums across the island to assess public opinion, claiming these indicate a green light for mining.

Thirteen of 65 participants in the Jubilee study said they would support the extractive industry under certain conditions: after Bougainville has achieved independence in order to minimize foreign interference; after compensation and reparation are delivered; and after other forms of economic development, such as agriculture, have been explored.

“There has been anecdotal evidence that mining consultation forums have so far been geared too heavily towards advocacy. A significant number of participants felt the landowner associations were not relaying a popular consensus from their respective communities,” State Crime Initiative’s Lasslett claimed.

Miringtoro, the parliamentarian from Central Bougainville, told IPS that he was “satisfied that the 65 people interviewed were a fair and representative sample of the people who are totally against mining. [They] are from village communities situated all throughout mine and tailings area … which has been changed into a moonscape with arable land buried under tonnes of silt and rock.”

The state and corporate sectors promote mining revenues as necessary for growth and poverty reduction on Bougainville where many people live without basic services, such as a clean water supply, electricity and medical services. The province has 10 doctors serving more than a quarter of a million people; less than one percent of people are connected to electricity; and life expectancy is 59 years.

However, the record so far in Papua New Guinea is that economic dependence on the extraction of minerals, such as copper, gold and nickel, over the last 30-40 years, with GDP growth reaching 11 percent in 2011, has not resulted in development for the majority of citizens.

Forty percent of the population of seven million live below the poverty line, only 12 percent have access to electricity, adult literacy is 50 percent and malnutrition is high with stunting prevalent in half of all children, reports the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

“In PNG, despite a booming economy, driven by extractive industry, income and human poverty persist and a majority of the population live in rural, isolated areas with little or no access to basic services, such as healthcare, education, sanitation and safe drinking water,” the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reported this year.

The organisation added, “Foreign investors and contractors absorbed a large proportion of the benefits of the strong growth the country enjoyed over the last decade.”

The people of Bougainville desire development and better lives. But for many of those who have lived with the mine at their doorstep, the accelerating pace of discussions about its reopening are in stark contrast to lack of progress on resolving the problems, injustices and legacy of suffering that it has already caused.

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Solomon Islands papa graon i laik kotim gavman

Caroline Tiriman | ABC Radio Australia

Ol papa graon blong Gold Ridge eria long Solomon Islands i tok lukaut long bringim gavman igo long kot long ol bagarap em Gold Ridge mine ibin kamapim long environment.

gold ridge bel isi

Ol papa graon blong Gold Ridge long Solomon Islands i mekim bel isi seremoni (Credit: ABC)

Oli tok gavman blong Praim Minista Gordon Darcy Lilo ibin rong tru long larim St Barbara mine i lusim mine taem  emi no bin stretim ol despla wari long environment.

St Barbara mining kampani  blong Australia ibin ronim Gold Ridge Mine, tasol oli bin pasim mine bihaenim ol bikpla bagarap em ol floods ibin kamapim long stat blong despla yia.

Gold Ridge mine isave bringim bikpla moni igo long ikonomi blong kantri na tu sampla isave go long ol papa graon.

Walter Naezon wanpla papa graon na politikal lida long Guadalcanal provins itok oli wari tru long ol posin pipia blong mine i kapsaet na bagarapim ol wara em ol pipal isave iusim long lukautim laif blong ol.

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ANU dumps Newcrest but pockets substantial payments from Rio Tinto and BHP

The Australian National University has announced it is dumping its shareholding in seven companies including Newcrest Mining, owner of both the Lihir and Hidden Valley mines in PNG,  as part of its socially responsible investment program.

But in a completely contradictory disclosure, ANU’s Annual Report reveals it has accepted donations of more than $2 million from BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. BHP is responsible for the destruction of the Fly river system in PNG, one of the world’s worst mining disasters, and Rio Tinto is accused of supporting war crimes during a conflict on Bougainville sparked by its Panguna mine and in which around 15,000 people died.

screen_shot_2014-04-15_at_09.19.50The Annual Report commends its donors for their  ‘immense generosity’ and says

The entire ANU community is thankful for their support.

In contrast the Council of the University has agreed to a proposal to commence divestment of stocks in seven companies following an independent review of ANU domestic equities.

The university says the review was commissioned as part of its Socially Responsible Investment Policy in which Environmental, Social and Governance Ratings were provided on ANU-held domestic stocks.

As a result of the ratings, the University is to divest its holdings in Iluka Resources, Independence Group, Newcrest Mining, Sandfire Resources, Oil Search, Santos and Sirius Resources.

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