Tension is rising on Bougainville, as concerns continue to mount over the new Mining Act that was rushed through parliament in March 2015.
Published below is petition lodged with the Autonomous Bougainville Government prior to the Mining Bill’s sudden passing by Parliament. The petition was signed by over 700 people from the Teop-Tinputz Community but was ultimately ignored by the MPs.
The petition details the people’s concerns over a mining act drafted in the United Kingdom by Adam Smith International, using ‘experts’ with direct financial links to the mining industry.
LONG BOUGAINVILLE FINAL MINING ACT
13th MARCH 2015
THE PEOPLE OF THE TEOP-TINPUTZ COMMUNITY:
- STRONGLY BELIEVE THE FINAL MINING ACT WAS NOT WRITTEN WITH THE PEOPLE AND THEIR CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS IN MIND, BUT FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE INTERESTS OF MULTINATIONAL MINING CORPORATIONS.
- THE FINAL MINING ACT PROTECTS THE ABG AND ITS BODIES.
- THE MINING ACT DISADVANTAGES THE RESOURCE OWNERS AND THE PEOPLE OF BOUGAINVILLE AND FAVORS THE MINING CORPORATIONS.
- THE ACT COMPLETELY DISEMPOWERS THE RESOURCE OWNERS AND THE PEOPLE OF BOUGAINVILLE.
- THE ACT STRIPS LANDOWNERS OF ANY POWER, NEVERMIND THEIR RIGHTS. RIGHTS WITHOUT POWERS ARE TOTALLY USELESS.
- THERE ARE ALMOST 40 OFFENCES AND PENALTIES IN THE FIRST 200 PAGES OF THE ACT (300 PAGES YET REMAINING, IN ADDITION ABOUT 13 PNG ACTS), RESOURCE OWNERS AND OTHERS ARE SUBJECTED TO, OF WHICH THE MINING CORPORATIONS AND THE ABG AND ITS RESPECTIVE BODIES ARE NOT SUBJECTED TO.
WE ARE PETITIONING THE AUTONOMOUS GOVERNMENT OF BOUGAINVILLE WITH A NUMBER OF DEMANDS AND WE ARE DOING THIS ON BEHALF OF ALL THE PEOPLE OF BOUGAINVILLE AS WELL.
OUR DEMANDS: WE ARE DEMANDING THAT THE ABG:
| 1. NOT ENACT OR PASS THE BOUGAINVILLE FINAL MINING ACT.LEST WE FORGET!
WE ARE VERY MINDFUL OF OUR VERY RECENT CIVIL WAR (1989-1998/2001) STARING AT US IN OUR FACES WITH 20,000 LIVES LOST AND OUR FIGHT FOR SELF-DETERMINATION.
WE DEMAND THAT THE ABG:
2. HIRES TWO OR THREE INDPENDENT LAWYERS TO EXAMINE AND REVIEW THE ACT FOR TWO YEARS OR HOWEVER LONG THEY WILL NEED TO COMPLETE THE JOB. AFTER REVIEWING THE ACT, THEY THEN CARRY OUT AWARENESS PROGRAMS THROUGHOUT BOUGAINVILLE ON THE ACT ITSELF-WHAT IT CONTAINS AND HOW THE ACT WILL AFFECT THE WHOLE POPULATION OF BOUGAINVILLE, NOT JUST LANDOWNERS ORGANIZATIONS.
3. ON THE BASIS OF SUCH REVIEW INCLUDING AWARENESS PROGRAMS, A BOUGAINVILLE-WIDE CONVERSATION SPACE MUST BE ESTABLISHED SO THAT THE PEOPLE BECOME FULLY ENGAGED IN DISCUSSING MINING ON BOUGAINVILLE WITHOUT FEAR AND INTIMIDATION BUT WITH CONFIDENCE AND IN COMPLETE FREEDOM.
THE ACT WAS DRAFTED IN LONDON, UK, BY ADAM SMITH INTERNATIONAL ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD – WITHOUT THE PEOPLE OF BOUGAINVILLE’S KNOWLEDGE AND IN SECRECY! THIS IS TOTALLY WRONG AND MUST BE CORRECTED WITH THE PEOPLE!
4. ADAM SMITH INTERNATIONAL, THE ABG AND ABG’S OVERSEAS ADVISORS HAVE ALREADY BREACHED THE INTERNATIONAL LAW OF ‘FREE, PRIOR AND INFORMED CONSENT’…SPECIFIC RIGHT OF ALL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES STATED IN THE UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION OF RIGHTS OF ALL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES (UNDRIP), AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT, DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE, AUSTRALIAN AID, OXFAM AUSTRALIA 2014. THIS SITUATION MUST BE CORRECTED!
5. WITHOUT THE PEOPLE’S CONSENT THE MORATORIUM HAS BEEN LIFTED THROUGH THIS ACT. THIS IS VERY WRONG INDEED! THE PEOPLE MUST BE CONSULTED ON THIS VERY SENSITIVE ISSUE!
WE HIGHLIGHT SOME OF THE AREAS IN THE ACT AS BASIS FOR OUR REASONS IN PETITIONING THE AUTONOMOUS GOVERNMENT OF BOUGAINVILLE TO WITHDRAW THE ACT, NOT ENACT OR PASS IT AT ALL ON 17TH OF MARCH 2015.
SOME OF THE REASONS FOR OUR DEMANDS:
- THE MINING ACT PROTECTS THE MINING CORPORATIONS AND ITS INTRESTS AND NOT THE RESOURCE OWNERS AND THE PEOPLE OF BOUGAINVILLE.
- THE ENTIRE POPULATION OF BOUGAINVILLE (100%) DOES NOT KNOW WHAT IS CONTAINED IN THE ACT, AND WE BELIEVE THIS APPLIES TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE ABG ITSELF. IN OTHER WORDS, THE ENTIRE POPULATION OF BOUGAINVILLE HAS NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONTENT OF THE ACT AND HOW THE ACT WILL AFFECT THEM, ONCE IT BECOMES LAW.
IT IS AN OFFENCE TO ALL BOUGAINVILLE PEOPLE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE AND IT GRIEVES THEM THAT THE ACT WAS WRITTEN BY ADAM SMITH INTERNATIONAL WITHOUT THEIR KNOWLEDGE AND CONSENT.
- IF THE ACT WERE TO BE ENACTED IT WOULD BECOME AN ENORMOUS PIECE OF LEGISLATION IN THE WORLD: 500 PAGES AS IT IS NOW AND ALL THE PNG ACTS OR LAWS THROWN INTO IT SUCH AS THE FOLLOWINGS;
- PNG Constitution 1975
- PNG Environment Act 2000
- PNG Land Act 1996
- PNG Land Disputes Settlement Act 1975
- PNG Fishing Management Act 1998
- PNG Oil and Gas Act 1998
- PNG Water Resources Act 1982
- PNG Survey Act 1969
- PNG Insolvency Act 1951
- PNG Companies Act 1977
- PNG Public Finances Act 1995
- PNG Search Act 1977
- PNG Mining Health and Safety 1997
So, 500 pages of the Bougainville Mining Act: in addition to the 500 pages, are all the PNG Acts stated here. This is an enormous piece of legislation! Who will care to read and understand it in the ABG?
Furthermore, these laws are most negligible by the PNG Government, there are still massive destructions in the environment where mines are operating in PNG. The PNG Government has done nothing about them. This condition continues to maintain a situation where people are now much poorer than they were before mining companies came in.
- THREE TYPES OF MINING OPERATIONS, WHICH WE, THE PEOPLE OF BOUGAINVILLE HAVE NOT EVEN OR EVER CONTEMPLATED:
- LARGE-SCALE MINING OPERATIONS;
- SMALL-SCALE COMMUNITY MINING (ONLY 5METERS BELOW THE GROUND).
- OFFSHORE/SEABED MINING.
WHO THOUGHT THESE IN BOUGAINIVLLE? NO ONE!
|5. NOT DEMOCRACY BUT FASCISM: THE SECTION ON CRIMINAL SANCTIONS(1). It is a criminal offence to withdraw survey pegs.
(2). It is a criminal offence to block bulldozers coming on your land.
(3). It is a criminal offence to issue compensation demand outside the mandated forum:
AND MANY MORE, IN THE FIRST 200 PAGES OF THE ACT, ALMOST 40 OFFENCES AND PENALTIES, MOST INVOLVING JAIL TERMS AND HEAVY FINES.
ALL PUNISHABLE WITH IMPRISONMENT!!
NOT A BEACON FOR DEMOCRACY!!
NOT DEMOCRATIC AT ALL IN ANY SHAPE OR FORM AND IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD.
6. THE ACT DOES NOT CONTAIN BOUGAINVIILLE CUSTOMARY LAWS INCLUDING THE MATRILINY CUSTOMARY LAND TENURE SYSTEMS OF OWNERSHIP AND PRACTICE. SOME EXAMPLES INCLUDE;
LAND AVAILABLE FOR TENEMENTS
- Subject to this Act and applicable law, all land in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville is available for reconnaissance, exploration and mining and the grant of tenements over it.
This section totally breaches matrilineal customary land laws: 98 or 99% of land is owned by the Bougainville people, not the government. The design here makes it out that the government owns all land in Bougainville.
The ABG does not own 98% or 99% of land in Bougainville. No! Bougainville land is owned by customary landowners and the practice is according to Bougainville matrilineal customs and traditions.
Rights approved for by this Act to landowners.
|Major flaw: Rights without powers are totally useless.|
Landowners are the losers – their rights are so pitiful provided in this Act that it is a joke.
The issue here is that there are no accompanying powers to exercise such rights. No point in having rights when there are no powers to exercise the rights. Essentially, the landowners have been completely stripped off their powers in this Act! This is wicked!
On the other hand the ABG has EXCLUSIVE POWERS: CUSTOMARY RIGHTS DO NOT AFFECT EXCLUSIVE POWERS OF THE ABG.
Exclusivity or exclusiveness in this case means ‘nobody else has any power except the ABG. This means the ABG can exercise its powers to make decisions without consulting the people of Bougainville. This is totally wrong!
Example of ABG’s exclusive powers;
(a)…the ABG RESERVES ALL RIGHTS FOR RECONNAISANCE
(reconnaissance – operations and works to carry out the search for minerals by geophysical surveys; geochemical surveys; photo geological surveys and other remote sensing techniques and surface geology).
IN BOUGAINVILLE CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS, NO ONE, NOT EVEN ALIENS SUCH AS MULTINATIONAL MINING COMPANIES CAN ENTER CUSTOMARY LAND OR ANY PIECE OF LAND ON BOUGAINVILLE WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE AND PERMISSION OF THE LANDOWNERS!! NOT EVEN THE AUTONOMOUS GOVERNMENT OF BOUGAINVILLE CAN ENTER ANY PIECE OF LAND WITHOUT CONSULTING THE LANDOWNERS.
Every single person in the Autonomous Government of Bougainville knows this customary land law. They are not aliens to not know this very important customary land law!
ACCORDING TO BOUGAINVILLE CUSTOMARY LAND TENURESHIP SYSTEM, THE ABG DOES NOT HAVE EXCLUSIVE POWER/S OVER CUSTOMARY LAND. NO! 98% or 99% OF LAND IS OWNED BY THE PEOPLE, THE LEGITIMATE LANDOWNERS NOT THE ABG. LANDOWNERS – THE CUSTOMARY LANDOWNERS LIVE TO SAFE-GUARD THEIR LAND FOR THEIR FUTURE GENERATIONS’ INHERITANCE.
THEREFORE, UNDER CUSTOMARY LANDOWNERHSIP LAWS, THE ABG DOES NOT HAVE THE POWER NOR THE RIGHT TO INVITE ANY MULTINATIONAL COMPANY INTO BOUGAINVILLE LAND, INCLUDING ANY INTERNATIONAL EXPLORATION COMPANY. CUSTOMARY LAND LAWS MUST BE ADHERED TO.
THE ABG IS WRONG, COMPLETELY WRONG AND WILFULLY WRONG!
THE ABG HAS THE POWER;
(b)…to grant tenement under this Act. The people must know what a ‘tenement’ means and how it will affect them.
(c)…customary rights (remember not powers) do not affect ABG powers. This is because the ‘rights’ are not accompanied with any power/s at all. The ABG can do anything under the sun under this condition. On the other hand, powers and rights must go hand-in-hand, not one at the expanse of the other.
(d). The Act does not recognize nor take into account the Bougainville matrilineal system. Women’s power over landownership and recognition of such power is absent in the Act. The Act only allows for one woman to be a member of the Bougainville Mining Advisory Council! Not two, Not three BUT ONE!! This breaches the Bougainville Matrilineal Customary Land Tenure System and Laws.
- 100% OF THE PEOPLE OF BOUGAINVILLE DO NOT KNOW THIS BOUGAINVILLE FINAL MINING ACT:
(a)…Not even the Council of Elders, the Villages Assemblies, the landowners, who have been written into the Act without their knowledge.
(b)…offences and penalties – that landowners’ organizations, the Council of Elders and potentially Village Assemblies do not even know that they are subjected to, if they do not meet the requirements as stipulated in the Act.
(a)…if landowners fail to submit an audit of their finances on time, they would be issued a fine not exceeding K50,000 and a default penalty not exceeding K1,000 everyday during which the offence was committed after conviction.
APPROVED LANDOWNER ORGANISATION REPORTING REQUIRMENTS!
If the Landowners Organization/s do not meet the reporting requirements, the fine is K50,000 and a default penalty of a fine not exceeding K1,000 for everyday during which the offence was committed after conviction.
COUNCIL OF ELDERS MAY MAKE COMMUNITY MINING LICENCE RESERVE AREA.
Rules set up by COEs or Village Assemblies provide for offences, prosecution of offences by the COE and impose a penalty of not more then K50,000 for any one offence.
K50,000 for any single offence…so three offences committed would potentially cost K150,000!
COMPETITIVE TENDER PROCESS FOR TENEMENTS: OFFENCE TO UNDUYLY INFLUENCE A COMPETITIVE TENDER
(b)…Any person, including a public servant who seeks to influence the outcome of a competitive bidding process… …’,
Penalty: a fine not exceeding K1,000,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten (10) years, or both.
For the purpose of protecting an installation, infrastructure facility, mining vessel or mining support vessels being used for offshore mining operations, the Minister, upon the advice of the BEC, may by notice published in the Bougainville Gazette prohibit all vessels or specified classes of vessels, from entering…. …
Penalty: A fine not exceeding K50,000. The person convicted may appeal in court…
So, canoes and fishermen, don’t fish around the area that was once upon yours and where you fished at will and in complete freedom!
|WHAT IS INTERESTING IS: THE MINING COMPANY IS FREE OF ANY AND ALL OFFENCES AND PENALTIES!MAJOR DESTRUCTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND LAND IS NOT PENALISED! THIS IS MADNESS!
THE FACT THAT THE LANDOWNERS ARE MADE LANDLESS FOREVER AT THE EXPENSE OF SUCH MAJOR DESTRUCTIVENESS CAUSED BY THE MINE, IS NOT EVEN THOUGHT OF AS AN OFFENCE, LET ALONE A MAJOR CATASTROPHIE FOR ALL BOUGAINVILLE PEOPLE!
THE ABG, THE BOUGAINVILLE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL AND OTHER GOVERNMENT BODIES ARE NOT SUBJECTED TO ANY OFFENCES AND PENALTIES.
BUT AS IT IS, RESOURCE OWNERS AND OTHER PEOPLE THAT MIGHT GET INVOLVED ARE SUBJECT TO OFFENCES AND PENALTIES – MOST OF WHICH INVOLVE IMPRISONMENT AND HEAVY FINES WHICH THEY WOULD HARDLY BE ABLE TO AFFORD.
THIS LEADS TO TOTAL POWERLESSNESS ON THE RESOURCE OWNERS AND THE PEOPLE OF BOUGAINVILLE.
WE, THE PEOPLE OF TEOP-TINPUTZ AND ON BEHALF OF ALL THE BOUGAINVILLE PEOPLE STRONGLY DEMAND THAT THE AUTONOMOUS GOVERNMENT OF BOUGAINVILLE:
- LISTENS TO OUR DEMANDS!
- TAKE OUR DEMANDS SERIOUSLY!
- AND ACT ACCORDINGLY!