Post Courier | February 7, 2019
A highly controversial proposal by an unknown and newly registered company, Caballus Mining is attempting to grab a complete monopoly over all large scale mines in Bougainville.
It is alleged that the Caballus plan is to override the fundamental principle of the Bougainville Mining Act – Customary Landowner ownership of the minerals in Bougainville and confer ownership on a McGlinn entity, Bougainville Advance Mining (BAM).
“Are Caballus the next rogue that is trying to take advantage of us, the customary owners and steal our minerals?” questioned Mr Philip Miriori, chairman of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (SMLOLA).
Mr Miriori further claimed that Caballus have no relevant mine development experience whatsoever.
“Caballus has no assets, and yet is demanding a monopoly on all major large scale mining projects in Bougainville.
“They are demanding an initial 40% interest, which will increase further over time, without any upfront cash and only a shallow promise of future money if he is granted those rights first.”
Mr Miriori said that when Caballus was presented to representatives of SMLOLA earlier last year, they were officially rejected in writing.
“This is where it gets confusing as despite that clear position from the owners of the minerals at Panguna, Caballus is now demanding that the most fundamental principle of the Bougainville Mining Act (BMA) – customary ownership will now be stripped from the BMA.”
SMLOLA special adviser Lawrence Daveona said by avoiding all the protection afforded to them under the BMA, which is fundamental to the whole peace agreement and their constitution, in fact the very grant of autonomy…it will strip them off their rights.
“The central tenant of our Peace Agreement is good governance.
“We will fight this to the end and hope our ABG will step in first and protect all customary owners in Bougainville.”
Mr Miriori said it appears some people are trying to take advantage of a severe funding crisis which their government faces in the lead up to the referendum on Bougainville so are promising money but only if they are first given the keys to every large scale mine in Bougainville with zero up-front investment…is unbelievable.
“Whoever puts up the money will ultimately control BAM, and all of Bougainville’s mines.”