Bougainville Freedom Movement questions new Mining Act

Bougainville Freedom Movement 

Like Mr Jimmy Miringtoro, Member for Central Bougainville and Minister for Communication in the Papua New Guinea National Government, the Bougainville Freedom Movement (Australia) are also wondering why the ABG have passed the Bougainville Mining Act 2014, “when the people are still in the dark of this bill that could take away their rights form their land and resources forever”.

The Bougainville Freedom Movement (Australia) is concerned with the speech President Momis gave today, 26 March 2015, where he says:

“With our new Mining Bill, we are completely rejecting that terrible past.”

Does this mean that President Momis is forgetting his own history and the shocking history of Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) in its mining operations on Bougainville and what the mining company did to the people of Bougainville and the environment?

It is a “terrible past” and will not be forgotten but it should not be “rejected”.

Not once has Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) or Rio Tinto mining company ever apologised or compensated the people of Bougainville for the environmental devastation it caused and the extremely wicked atrocities it inflicted on the people of Bougainville.

We received an email from New Zealand today about the new Mining Bill which says, “With the  bill being written by an outfit named after Adam Smith the right wing economist (“The hand of God” (rules the economy)) you can imagine what rights the people will have!”

Whilst it does not surprise us that BCL have probably paid bribes to the Autonomous Bougainville Government to pass the Mining Bill, it also makes sense knowing that Rio Tinto and Bougainville Copper Limited think more of their companies, their shareholders and their profits.

  • The Rio Tinto AGM is on 16 April 2015 in London, England.
  • The Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) AGM on 29 April 2015 in Port Moresby.
  • The Rio Tinto AGM on 7 May 2015 in Perth, Australia.

It is perfect timing for the ABG to pass the Bougainville Mining Act 2014, so now Bougainville Copper Limited and Rio Tinto mining can let their shareholders know how they can now continue to fill their greedy pockets with money taken from the poor and underpriveleged people on Bougainville.

Let us remember how Bougainville Copper Limited treated the people of Bougainville from the time it found gold and copper, started the Panguna mine , created environmental devastation and killed an estimated 15,000 – 20,000 people on Bougainville when the people decided to stop the Panguna mine from operating.  LEST WE FORGET.

Look what President Momis has written  and please note where it has been published…. The Bougainville News website…. supported by the pro-mining lobby and Bougainville Copper Limited.

MOMIS: “Ultimately, the main reason why we in Bougainville are considering allowing large-scale mining again is because we need revenue to advance or development. WE lack even the most basic acceptable standards in essential services, like health and education. WE lag behind the rest of the world. Without significant ABG revenue, that situation will never change.”

FACT: “There is little evidence to demonstrate where mining has had a positive effect on peoples’ levels of poverty or indeed ‘lifted’ people out of poverty.”  (AidWatch)

21 Comments

Filed under Human rights, Papua New Guinea

21 responses to “Bougainville Freedom Movement questions new Mining Act

  1. Hey guys could you please correct the following statement in this blog..Look what President Momis has written and please note where it has been published…. The Bougainville News website…. supported by the pro-mining lobby and Bougainville Copper Limited.

    I think you might be getting Bougainville News site owned and operator by respected BUKA media operator Aloyius Laukai confused with Bougainville24 site ( which is supported by BCL ) . He attends all media briefings and decides on all media content published and should not be referred to as pro mining for simply publishing and sharing the information issued by a democratically elected President . There will be an election over the next few months and the President and members recent actions will be judged and decided by the democratic process .

    • BougNews, if you wanted to correct all of BFM’s errors and nonsense, you’d be here for the rest of your life. They don’t care if they toss a few slurs in the wrong direction. It will be interesting to see if they correct this one… and apologise to you!

      • Bougnew and Cat Man,
        No correction is needed by the Bougainville Freedom Movement.
        Aloysius Laukai is the journalist located on Bougainville.
        The other contact person for the Bougainville News website is
        Colin Cowell, International Communication Consultant who is based in Canberra, Australia. He has been a friend of Bougainville since 1970 and worked on Bougainville from 1969-1973 with Bechtel.
        In 1969, “Bechtel begins work on the Bougainville copper project, which included pipeline and roads through a mountainous jungle—from sea level to 2,500 feet (762 meters)—as well as the implementation of one of the most complex telecommunications networks to date, linking the remote job site to the outside world.”
        http://www.bechtel.com/about-us/history/building-infrastructure-industry/
        No slurs have been tossed Cat Man and no apology will be given.
        Time you apologised to the Bougainville Freedom Movement, don’t you think?

  2. QUOTE: “There is little evidence to demonstrate where mining has had a positive effect on peoples’ levels of poverty or indeed ‘lifted’ people out of poverty.” (AidWatch)

    Evidently the watchers in AidWatch were not watching the Australian scene during the mining boom of recent years. Without mining, Australia would be a much poorer country. Of course, Australian governments have squandered big chunks of their resources on things like vote buying at elections, particularly during the Howard government years. That kind of behaviour could be avoided on Bougainville if the ABG could be kept clean. I understand Pres Momis wants to use mining returns to assist and develop other industries on Bougainville, as minerals are a limited resource.

  3. pui nirai

    Bougainvillean Freedom Movement is Vikki John. She holds herself out as a bona fide Bougainvillean and thinks she is more Bougainvillean than a Bougainvilleans. She will never tire of the lies, false assertions and the skulduggery she is allowed to publish in the social media. Gladly, she has been barred from all Bougainville chat sites and online news publications because she leaks like a sewer with her lies and insulting comments on Bougainville and Bougainville’s leaders. Thank goodness no one reads or takes notice of her thrash. She is a persona non grata as far as Bougainville is concerned.

    • Mr Pui,
      Vikki John is not from Bougainville and has never claimed to be from Bougainville. She is not a liar and she does not falsely assert or promote skulduggery. She willingly decided to stop participating on the Bougainville Forum chat site due to her studies and because of the revolting personal insults she experienced on that Forum from people like Axel Sturm (ESBC), Paul Quodling (son of BCL Managing Director), and others who support the re-opening of the Panguna mine on Bougainville.
      And now, as stated above by MR PUI, “she leaks like a sewer”. Mr Pui, your foul gutter talk becomes you! Very trashy indeed, Mr Pui.
      Obviously, people read what she writes and take notice otherwise she would’nt be receiving the insults from the pro-mining lobby.
      Yes, definitely a “person of non grata” with the pro-mining lobby but quite the opposite from those who have known her since 1993 when the Bougainville Freedom Movement was formed. She has been highly regarded as a human rights activist for the Bougainville people with many network connections worldwide.

      • The son of BCL Managing Director is Peter Quodling.
        Paul Quodling is the father of the BCL Managing Director.
        So the comments at a guess are from PETER QUODLING

      • BFM / VJ, nice bit of inductive reasoning:
        (a) Peter Quodling is the son of the BCL Managing Director
        (b) Paul Quodling is the father of the BCL Managing Director
        (c) Therefore, Paul Quodling is Peter Quodling’s grandfather?
        But who is the BCL Managing Director?
        Let’s rearrange the premises to see if that makes more sense:
        (a) The BCL Managing Director is Peter Quodling’s father
        (b) The BCL Managing Director is Paul Quodling’s son
        (c) So the BCL Managing Director is a generation between Paul and Peter.
        That’s logical, but we still don’t know who the BCL Managing Director is!
        And how could anyone but BFM/VJ surmise from this rot that Peter Quodling made the comments? BFM/VJ, you’re still drivelling. Meow!

    • Dansi

      Yawn, ‘Pui Nirai’ back in your box. Don’t you have a pyramid scheme you could be building.

  4. Kristian Lasslett

    Warwick, with all due respect I am not quite sure it is as simple as saying, look at Australia, the bell tolls for you Bougainville.

    I dont think AidWatch are suggesting that mining is not profitable; clearly it can be hugely profitable. But a significant amount of the revenues generated by mining ventures are distributed to shareholders, managers, workers, and those international manufacturers et who provide the complex machinery needed to operate the mine and distribute the ore to foreign markets.

    There is, therefore, the significant problem of revenue flight. Then there are the harmful impacts of the mine, which unfortunately are not as fluid as the revenues, and therefore are endured by the local population.

    So mining may have overall positive effects (though often not for the mine hosts!), if the nation concerned is supplying the capital, and realising large swathes of the revenue, because they have an integrated industrial development programme that see a lot of the inputs/outputs keep revenues local.

    The constant carrot dangled in the absence of these interlinkages is the ‘revenue’ amplifier effect; it will stimulate other industries. Great for economic modelling, but empirical reality tells a more sorry tale in PNG. Particularly, because large amounts of revenue are lost to corruption and in fact fuel speculative, predatory economic practices that have no lasting economic legacy for the population. I wish the ABG were inoculated from this but, the audit health reports are not promising; and so there is a serious question mark over whether revenue would materialise in the promises made, or would fuel more corrosive economic practices that are very much apparent in the anti-corruption reporting.

    And this leaves aside the whole issue of consent, which is clearly a hornet’s nest. The rather crude utilitarian justification that local landowners must sacrifice for the greater good that is sometimes made, which has been repackaged frequently, from the 1960s onwards, for me at least is not compelling enough to justify the destruction of a people’s capacity to determine their own future according to their own means and culture. It just lays the ground for conflict.

  5. Thanks Kristian. I agree with all of that, which is why I’ve said elsewhere that I hope the new mining legislation contains sufficient protections for the people of Bougainville. From what I’ve seen of it, the protections diminish after two critical stages, although I assume the legislation contains much better environmental protections than the previous legislation did over the life of any mining operation.

    It’s a difficult situation, as investors need protection also. Rather than being greedy, uncaring, inhuman entities that put money before people, as some unthinking critics have claimed, shareholders of any company (i.e. not just mining companies) are simply looking for a reasonable and safe return on their investment. It’s actually what makes the economic world go around in this day and age.

    While I sympathise with the people of Bougainville whose lives were being transformed for the perilous worse by BCL’s operations (not forgetting the many lives that were vastly improved), BCL shareholders lost heaps when Panguna shut down. Naturally, they want any new mining legislation to contain protections against a recurrence of that tragic event. So it’s in the interests of all parties to agree on the nature of the protections that are built into the legislation and, therefore, the mining operations.

    Shareholders rightly expect a fair return and the people of Bougainville deserve to benefit very significantly. Yes, there will be costs – unavoidable environmental costs, perhaps some social costs, and the inevitable corruption in government – and that’s where cost-benefit analysis comes into play. Landowners and all Bougainvilleans are investing in these ventures as resource suppliers and need to calmly and intelligently weigh up the costs and the benefits such as health and educational facilities, better transportation and communication networks, development of new industries and employment opportunities and, if desired, an independent Bougainville.

    Unfortunately, the mining promoters tend to focus on the benefits and the anti-mining lobby focuses on the costs. I’m hoping and praying that all parties (i.e. qualified and impartial appointees from both sides) can sit down together and make an honest appraisal of the likely long-term costs and benefits of mining operations on Bougainville.

    • Kristian Lasslett

      I agree, shareholders in BCL do not want to see legislation in place that will produce insecurity and potentially threaten investments. They will want a regime that is beneficial enough for all involved for the investment to be safe over the prolonged period mining requires.

      I suppose the problem is the limited view shareholders have of the full situation, and the mediation of corporate management. Shareholders who read the standard news reports, or who accept at face value optimistic statements from the President’s office, are not being given the full picture. .
      And I suspect some shareholders would have given Jubilee Australia’s report more serious consideration than some of the more shrill political reactions; because they indeed have no interest in imposing a mine on people who do not want it (particularly if that opposition is widespread, and immovable in the short to medium term).

      The question of costs/benefits is going to be a difficult one to flesh out, but one that definitely does need much more attention and dialogue. The challenge here I suspect is accepting the legitimacy of different cultural perspective. I can sit with a World Bank style graph of expected economic benefits at a landowner forum, but if my audience prize land and endurance of their culture as being more important than revenue windfalls measured in dollars and cents – we enter into a situation of potential mutual incomprehension (especially when land, culture and heritage lack economic metrics).

      Hopefully in time richer dialogues will emerge.

  6. It beats me why the critics want to accept the terrible practices of past years. That’s what their criticism of this statement implies:
    MOMIS: “It was fifty years ago when Bougainvilleans were told that they only had rights to the surface of the land and that they were not landowners of their own land. But with the new mining bill, Bougainville and its people are completely rejecting the terrible past.”

    It was those terrible practices, among other things, that Bougainville fought against. Why do critics like BFM now want to accept them? Momis goes on to say: “[…] the new bill recognizes that all owners of customary land own all minerals in, on or under their land and more importantly the bill gives special powers, rights and protection to such owners. The bill also recognizes that people in areas for tenements associated with a binding lease must be given special recognition because of the impacts a mine is likely to have on them.”

    So the President rejects the terrible past practices and accepts the better new practices that the new law prescribes. What’s there to complain about in that? Some people are just compulsive critics and BFM continues to report tripe!

  7. ErengDuu

    Guys, the report by Jubilee saying the absolute majority of people in Panguna rejecting any idea of a mining operation is 176% CORRECT. WE HAVE SACRIFICED ENOUGH LAND TO BENEFIT A WIDER COMMUNITY FINANCIALLY. HOW MUCH MORE LAND DO WE HAVE TO SACRIFICE SO SOME DUDE IN AMSTERDERM CAN BE MORE RICH? OUR LAND IS OUR IDENTITY IN OUR CULTURE. WE CANT SACRIFICE ANYMORE AS OUR FUTURE GENERATIONS WILL BE WITHOUT AN IDENTITY. MOMIS. OBVIOUSLY CANT REALLY UNDERSTAND THAT BECAUSE HE IS AN UNWANTED CHILD OF A CHINESE TRADER IN THE EARLY 90’S

  8. Unfortunately, all of the benefits that the sacrificed land gained were undone by an out-of-control ‘freedom’ fight that destroyed billions of Kina’s worth of infrastructure (e.g. roads, airports, electricity, water, hospitals, schools, housing, communications); service establishments (e.g. health, education, transport, shipping); ruined shareholders’ investments; and took many thousands of precious Bougainvillean lives.

    ErengDuu, everyone lost, not just you, and most people want to retrieve all of what was lost and more. It’s possible, with or without Panguna, and I’m guessing that you’d like a share in the good fortune that could return to Bougainville if everyone got on board and worked for it!

    • ErengDuu

      Cat Man, we are willing to reopen Panguna for all our benefit, we stand together with ABG in restoration plus all other development programs. But if the new mining law does not specify us as stakeholders in any mining project in our own land. Then we refuse to give in. The old BCA was shoved down our throats by a colonial administration. Were much more prepared than back in Sixty seven. And now we are stuck with this mining act which does not give us a clue on benefit sharing

  9. ErengDuu, that’s great to hear and I really do sympathise with your position on the historical situation under colonial Australia; also on Australia’s post-colonial involvement in the war.

    Concerning the lack of specificity in the Mining Act, I can only assume that details like benefit sharing would be negotiated in future agreements with prospective mining companies. I understand the Act provides land/resource owners the opportunity to terminate ventures at two critical junctures and I assume that issues such as benefit sharing would be sorted before those points are reached.

    It’s definitely something to look into via our local political representation (elected Members) before we take too much notice of second-hand reports from external parties with ulterior motives.

    • kiteinung

      Does all this excitement by BCL and Abg guarantee reopening of the mine?

      What do the people on the ground think? Obviously a reconciliation ceremony and so much money for Momis and his cronies doesn’t point to a consent by LO’s

  10. ErenDuu

    Cat man, negotiating benefit sharing in future agreements with Mining Companies is not safe. We want the govt and the LO’s to own the project so that we fully benefit instead of receiving mere royalties or providing catering and housekeeping services in future Panguna operations. But then again, money can rebuild infrustructures and other services BUT IT WILL NEVER BUY BACK PANGKIRANGKU AND BEURO THAT IS FOREVER WASHED AWAY DOWN JABA. So forget Gold and copper, forget money, forget investors, forget mining. We are better of doing alluvial mining and subsistence farming. Alluvial Mining has been a good source of revenue for our people. We dont want any more mining projects in Panguna.

  11. ErenDuu, you’ve reversed your previous (April 1st) position: “… we are willing to reopen Panguna for all our benefit, we stand together with ABG in restoration plus all other development programs.”

    So was that an April fools’ joke? Not really a joking matter, I would think!

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