Landowner Association backs petition opposing Bougainville’s colonial mining law

Lawrence Daveona

The Panguna SML Osikaiang Landowners Association fully supports the petition by the people of Tinputz as the present final draft of the long term Bougainville Mining Law is miles away from protecting the resource owners of Bougainville. If our present ABG Government passes this law, all the sacrifice by the 20,000 odd lives will be in vain. The Veto Power that our president states is only HOT AIR.

Bougainville will still be as it was in the mid 1966s. I thought our leaders at ABG as a result of the 10 years of civil war will by now learn some lesson. After being educated now and having experienced the destruction of our environment our President is still Hell bent on trying to push through this Mining Law before the end March session of ABG Parliament.



Filed under Corruption, Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

2 responses to “Landowner Association backs petition opposing Bougainville’s colonial mining law

  1. Lawrence Daveona

    Further to my comment in supporting the Tinputz people’s petition I also wrote to the President requesting that he gives due consideration to the Panguna Mine SML Osikaiang Landowners who are the resource owners and whose land of “Pangkirangku” has virtually disappeared from Panguna as a result of BCL’s uncontrolled mining operation from 1963 through to 1989.

    Here is a copy of my letter to our President to which I have not received a reply to date like many others before this one. My Pangkiranku mountain photo in 1966 and after in 1989 too is inserted herein.


    Lawrence Daveona

    C/- P. O. Box 349

    31st December 2014


    Dear my honorable President. I am writing to you for and on behalf of SML Osikaiang Landowners Association. I am doing this after consultations with and with the acquiescence of the SML Executive and Committee members who are the chairmen of the Village Assemblies of SML, in my capacity as the Chairman of SMLOAI as well as a member of a large Panguna landowning clan of Kurabang, the family of Pangkirangku land (here attached) that is no longer in existence and its extended family.

    Pangkirangku -1966 (Panguna Ridge)
    SML as you are aware is one of the four original Panguna Land Owner Associations that was registered and given legitimacy from the very beginning of BCL’s Panguna mine operation. You will also be aware that SML played leading negotiation roles for its landowners where the heart of the mine was going to be based and conciliatory roles with BCL to ensure the company understood and appreciated.
    The matter we are raising with you here is very critical and significant in many respects if the ongoing process of Panguna negotiations being managed under the auspices of Office of Panguna Negotiations is to realize meaningful and practical long term success over matters and arrangements in Panguna.
    We are seeking special consideration for SML in the ongoing process of negotiations and discussions with ABG, BCL, and the National Government partners as well as understanding from our other colleague Landowner Associations who, together, we all parties to JPNCC. We will approach and meet separately, perhaps independently, with each Association as well.
    What are we requesting and seeking your understanding from you as our President and from the ABG at large? Let me elaborate.
    Making a case
    We submit that the following validate our rationale and reason why we strongly believe that SML is dealt with as a special case:
    1. The landowners in SML have lost the most in comparison to other mine-affected areas around and beyond Panguna. Their productive land has virtually disappeared from the face of the Earth. The heart of our land has been gutted out. This is not proverbial but real that the heart and soul of the land that we have depended on for our livelihood is no longer there. It is not hard to fathom this when we can no longer turn to the land that once sustained our generations.

    2. BCL’s earnings and the benefits to the country came from a confined area during mining. Today, the unmistakable evidence of where all the copper, gold, silver, etc came from is the main mine pit. SML which covers the pit and the surrounding Panguna Valley provided the commercial quantities of the minerals that were exported and that benefited PNG through to its Independence.

    3. The landowner families not only lost land and territory but they had to be relocated in ways they would have never imagined would happen to them whether forcefully or of their own volition. This was an unwelcome exercise that had devastating effect at the material time this was happening and still affects younger members of the family today.

    4. The incarceration and disappearance of sacred sites, hunting grounds, medicinal plants, creeks, ponds and waters is irretrievably lost. The damage and repercussions of such personal loss is unimaginable and something generations in SML have lost for all time. In Latin you can say for “Secula Secu Lorum”.

    (No Pangkirangku) Panguna Mine -1989

    5. Until crisis befell Bougainville, everyone associated with mining and its accruing benefits to landowners, to Bougainville, to the country, to BCL and to shareholders always put a monetary value on the mine. Money is important but money could never buy or pay for or replace the worth and dignity of a human beings and the land (Pangkirangku) which we have the spiritual and existential attachment to. This is why even K10 billion can never buy back the destruction and disappearance of large chunks of “Pangkirangku” what became conveniently tagged as Special Mining Lease.

    6. Surely, if it has been tagged and referred to as Special Mining Lease, special consideration must be given to the people that owned the land there. By its very reference as SML it suggests that its population of landowners who lost the most and would still have even more to lose should be given much more careful attention and consideration than they are being afforded when they are treated in common as part of the larger combined association of Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Associations (PMALA).

    7. Special situations call for special and specific considerations. The progress on any discussions on mining cannot proceed without the parties to the JPNCC, but especially ABG, taking serious cognizance of this very important issue.

    8. The Bougainville Mining law recently enacted strengthens the hand, the faith and resolve that heretofore landowners can veto and stop (if this is TRUE) and I have not seen any truth in this in the law except the assurance of being consulted in any mining proposition before it starts or stop a mining venture after it commences. The SML has taken particular note and are paying particular attention to this, even without the benefit of advice or clarification by a western trained lawyer. SML will take the position when shove comes to push that common law does not apply to or can be given wanton application or recognition when dealing with communal customarily owned land. We will regard any such similar application of the Bougainville mining law in SML as an extension of the common law. No mining can proceed with BCL or any other company without the approval of SML Osikaiang Landowners. This MUST be understood very clearly by your (OUR) Government.

    9. The transitional law may not change or halt the negotiation process and progress but it does give realization to landowners that in the legislation they have gained an Achilles heel to challenge their own Government, Parliament and leadership if the home-grown legislation is not recognizing special cases such as suffered by landowners in SML. Our concern MUST be taken on board by your Government.

    10. The best way to deal with the cases we are making above is for you as the President and ABG to provide an additional avenue for meetings (over and above the joint consultative meetings of all Associations and meetings of stakeholders in JPNCC) with SML with support to SML as well. This gesture will go some way in shoring support and confidence that many underlying issues, including those raised above, of the SML can be openly addressed. Confidence and credibility in the process involving SML directly, though not necessarily exclusively, is important

    11. In PMALA each Association also has its sets of different issues and grievances that may not be common to other Associations. In most cases though, other Associations’ grievances can be dealt with more easily if it is common to all Associations. In the case with SML the landowners have many issues particular to the SML area that isn’t common with other Associations. It is to further the discussion on these and identify what support should be forthcoming to SML that we would like to meet separately with ABG, BCL and the National Government.

    12. If Panguna is on the precipice after the making of the Bougainville transitional legislation and the Permanent Mining Law, we urge as a principle that SML is acutely involved in discussions that should develop into resolving some of the impasse through recognition of a request for special consideration and attention of SML.
    We will be glad if you would kindly respond to this and let us know your views on our proposals and suggestions. We believe this will enhance both process and progress on Panguna.
    Mr. President you and I with Mr. Tony Regan agreed that SML under the “Transitional ABG Mining Law” does not exist and this is where I am coming from. I know you and you also know.
    Yours sincerely,

    Lawrence J Daveona
    Chairman- SML Osikaiang Landowners Association Inc.

  2. Bella Glenny


    I follow with interest your posts, in particular for the Bougainville issue. Thought you would be interested in this video that the Danish Institute for Human Rights has put together which is a clear and useful introduction to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Perhaps BCL and ABG should be sent a copy. Maybe if more people were armed with what their UN rights were that would be useful. I hope it may be of use to you in some way.

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