Category Archives: Corruption

Understanding “transfer pricing”: how corporations dodge taxes through financial colonialism

Often these laundry manoeuvres through poor countries involve assets whose valuation-swings are massive: a company can mine 2 million tons of cobalt in Papua New Guinea and export it at $5/ton to Mauritius, then export it again to Canada at $10/ton — not only does this help them disguise their profits in Canada, it also helps them dodge taxes in desperately poor Papua New Guinea, where the real value of the cobalt ($10m) is booked as $5m, despite PNG’s already-low tax rate of 5%, meaning that PNG loses out on $250k, which they can’t afford to lose.

BoingBoing | 11 July 2019

Every day, the world’s poorest countries lose $3b in tax revenues as multinationals sluice their profits through their national boundaries in order to avoid taxes in rich countries, and then sluice the money out again, purged of tax obligations thanks to their exploitation of tax loopholes in poor nations.

The secret to all this tax-dodging is a complex grift called “base erosion and profit shifting” (BEPS). Like many of the most important and dangerous things in the world, it’s boring, complicated, and very important, and the reason it persists is that the boringness and complexity baffles and bores people so they stop paying attention to it, leaving it to chug along, despite its importance.

At its core, BEPS involves using bookkeeping fictions to transfer your profits to low-tax jurisdictions and your costs to high-tax jurisdictions. BEPS abuses “transfer pricing,” which is the pricing of goods and service between multinational companies, by using prices of convenience for transactions within a single company’s international divisions.

Here’s how that works, in a real-world example detailed in an IRS lawsuit against Amazon, which is one of the world leaders in BEPS tax-avoidance. Amazon transfered all its “intellectual property” assets to a company called Amazon Lux, in Luxembourg, where taxes are very low. Then, every time Amazon’s other divisions make a profit, they send that profit to Amazon Lux, which sends them an invoice for their use of Amazon’s trademarks, software, etc. That way, Amazon’s other divisions break even (or even lose money, if that makes them eligible for a tax-credit on the loss), and Amazon Lux makes all the company’s profits in a tax-free jurisdiction (Luxembourg).

Variations on this scheme use other jurisdictions (the Netherlands, Switzerland) and other intangibles to quote on in the bogus invoices (“management services” as an alternative to “intellectual property”).

But things get really sweaty once the countries involved are poor ones whose political, regulatory and judicial systems can be suborned at low expense: in the “Mauritius Manoeuvre,” an individual or company can arrange to book all its profits on Mauritius at no tax, then bring the money back to a rich country as “dividends from foreign investment,” again, at low- or no tax.

Often these laundry manoeuvres through poor countries involve assets whose valuation-swings are massive: a company can mine 2 million tons of cobalt in Papua New Guinea and export it at $5/ton to Mauritius, then export it again to Canada at $10/ton — not only does this help them disguise their profits in Canada, it also helps them dodge taxes in desperately poor Papua New Guinea, where the real value of the cobalt ($10m) is booked as $5m, despite PNG’s already-low tax rate of 5%, meaning that PNG loses out on $250k, which they can’t afford to lose.

Much of this sort of shenanigan is documented in the Paradise Papers and the Panama Papers — indeed, the whistleblower who leaked the Panama Papers said they were motivated by the “metastasizing” of offshore shell companies used for tax evasion (the Panama Papers detail the finances of 214,000 offshore shell companies).

The impact of trade and transfer mispricing on developing countries is not just monetary. There are a series of moral effects as well. In the hypothetical PNG scenario, for instance, one glaring concern that arises from this manipulative business practice is the implication that the people of PNG are somehow unaware of the value of their own resources. A red flag must be raised to the psychological impact of pricing discrepancies that suggest cobalt, somehow, has a lesser value within the borders of PNG than within, say, Canada or Belgium.

Trade and transfer (mis)pricing are symptoms of an ongoing colonial hangover. Given that transfer (mis)pricing is at the centre of operations of MNEs, then the only way to remove this jewel in the crown of every MNE is to dismantle the multinational enterprise as it exists today. A first necessary step would be to introduce strict and enforceable regulations that help guide us away from such damaging relations of production.

Transfer (mis)pricing, the jewel in every multinational enterprise’s crown [Tanya Rawal-Jindia/Opendemocracy]

(via Naked Capitalism)

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No Export Permit Yet For SI Miner 

Solomon Star | 11 July 2019

TWO leading landowners of Axiom Mining Limited’s mining lease site on San Jorge in Isabel Province, Sam Pitu and Janet Voda, have questioned why the government keeps refusing to grant an export permit to the Australian mining company to ship out its nickel ore products to its United States-based buyer Traxys.

In a joint statement, Pitu and Voda said the repeated refusal by the Minerals Board has become more and more intolerable to landowners as it denies them their rights to enjoy benefits from the exportation of nickel ore extracted from their land,” Pitu said on Wednesday.

“The continued delays and denial of an export permit for Axiom by the Minerals Board also denies us of our rights to benefit from revenues that would have come from the exportation of nickel ore from our land,” he added

“The action by the Board is indeed mind-boggling because Axiom has fully complied with the relevant mining laws and regulations of the country in its operation on San Jorge and with good mining practices and yet its export permit application continues to be rejected whilst giving some unscrupulous Chinese companies the go-ahead to mine in the country and export their products.

“Just look at the case of the controversial Bintan mining company which continues to mine bauxite from Renell despite its perceived non-compliance with the country’s mining laws and regulations. 

“In February this year, the company caused an environmental disaster because of its reckless decision to allow its cargo carrier to load bauxite in cyclonic weather.

“And last week, just six months on from the oil spill, the company ran into another disaster when its bauxite carrier barge capsized during a loading operation releasing 5,000 tonnes of ore into the waters of Kangava Bay.”

Pitu added: “Bintan’s continued operation in Rennell despite the two environmental disasters it caused through reckless decisions brings into question why the government continues to entertain such companies in the country and denies genuine investors of the legislative support they need to carry on with their operations.”

Adding on to Pitu’s sentiments, Voda said the government needs to exercise fairness in its dealing with foreign investors and to deal with them within the bounds of Solomon Islands laws.

She said the bribery claims made against Bintan in the media should be matters of serious concern to Solomon Islanders because it somehow implies that the company could be bribing government officials to go ahead with its operation despite its non-compliance with the country’s mining and environmental laws and good mining practices.

Bintan yesterday issued a statement denying the bribery claim.

Voda said the government’s delay in granting an export permit to Axiom when it has granted the company with a mining lease is totally nonsensical because a mining company cannot extract minerals without having to export them.

She said the landowners need money to improve their welfare, Isabel Provincial Government needs money to provide services to the people of the province and Solomon Islands needs money to improve its economic base and yet the national government has deliberately ignored the millions of dollars stockpiled on San Jorge in the form of nickel ore awaiting a government permit to be exported.

Comments are being sought from the mining board.

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Tuke yet to receive mining audit report

The National aka The Loggers Times | July 4, 2019

MINING Minister Johnson Tuke says a report on an internal audit into one of the trust accounts that keeps the funds from the proceeds of the Ok Tedi mine for the people of Western is yet to be furnished to his office.

Tuke said these in response to questions from Western Governor Taboi Awi Yoto in Parliament yesterday.

Tuke said the previous government under the leadership of Peter O’Neill had put a moratorium on one of the trust accounts to undertake an audit after allegations of corruption and misuse of funds.

“There are two trust accounts – the Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) Trust Account and non-CMCA,” he said.

“Under CMCA 12 projects have been identified and they were being done. It comes under Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF).

“The other one is non-CMCA and projects were endorsed before I became the minister.”

Tuke said there were 148 projects endorsed and funded under non-CMCA Trust.

“These projects were done already but we don’t know, whether these projects were actually delivered on the ground or not.

“For this reason, the previous government authorised a project audit to be done so that the people would know whether these funds were actually used to deliver projects and programmes to benefit the people of Western or not,” he said.

“The audit report was done already but I have yet to receive it.”

Tuke said once he received the report he would act on its recommendations with the relevant authorities.

He also clarified that the balance of that funds under the non-CMCA Trust would be given to the Mineral Resource Development Company (MRDC) as per a Cabinet decision.

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MRA is the real enemy within – it has no duty

James Wanjik  | Post Courier | 2 July 2019

THE Marape government wants to take back PNG. It is a very noble goal.

The issue is, where is PNG for it to be taken back?

Since May 30, when James Marape was voted in as prime minister of PNG we are yet to see what message PM Marape uttered that shows where PNG is.

Our leaders were too emotional to see the truth about a statutory body called Mineral Resources Authority (MRA).

In 2006 it was illegally set up. In 2007 it assumed all assets of former Department of Mining without any handover brief.

MRA’s first project was Solwara No 1 at Pacmanus basin within New Ireland. It had a peculiar condition for a mining lease. It’s first task was to develop technology and not mining. In one lease the MRA corrupted the purpose of mining lease and got the State of PNG to commit funds as a stakeholder.

Lies and deceit of MRA caused the Somare government in 2011. It was warned to remove MRA but it chose to keep it and got removed itself.

It was the same for the O’Neill government. When it tried to tame PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd it was warned to remove MRA as soon as it could. It’s advisers did not listen. They caused O’Neill’s removal as PM though through resignation.

In 2009 the government was warned that PNG was on the MRA vehicle down the Zambian mining way.

If James Marape wants to take back PNG he must remove MRA to provide clear path to see way to taking back PNG. If he does not then he must be prepared to be embarrassed by MRA in any major forum.

MRA has no duty to the nation or her prime minister. It is answerable to the managing director who is above the MRA board. Also MRA has veto power over any new policy.

Prime Minister Marape has been warned in this letter to the editor. He will have no excuse if he does not act and MRA causes damage to, his leadership, the government, and the mining industry.

The prime minister is free to contact this writer on jameswanjik@gmail.com if he thinks he could be further enlightened.

We pray God may light and salt MRA darkness and bitterness for truth to set PNG free. In God we trust.

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Reporters investigated abuse and corruption at a Barrick gold mine in Tanzania. They faced threats and censorship

Marion Guégan and Cécile Schilis-Gallego | The Star | June 18, 2019

In Tanzania, reporters trying to investigate violence, environmental damage and other wrongdoing connected to a gold mine in the north of the country are trapped between the silence of a mining giant and the lies of a repressive government. At least a dozen reporters — local and international — who wrote about the mine have been censored or threatened. Forbidden Stories, an international consortium of 40 journalists publishing in 30 media organizations around the world, unveiled the shameful history of gold leaving the North Mara gold mine to end up in coveted high tech phones and computers. This is part of the “Green Blood” series, a project pursuing stories of journalists who have been threatened, jailed or killed while investigating environmental issues.

“Truly innovative products leave their mark on the world instead of the planet,” Apple proudly claims on its website. “We are building a better world for future generations,” says Canon’s CEO. Nokia’s “technology improves lives.”

“Right now responsible sourcing is clearly part of the cost of doing business, it’s part of the commercial need of a company to access markets and financing, among others,” said Tyler Gillard, due-diligence expert from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

In other words, it pays to advertise green and ethical products. That’s why big tech companies get the gold they need for certain electronic components from certified suppliers. In the case of Apple, Canon, Nokia and more than 500 companies registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, that means MMTC-PAMP in India.

Yet, certifications guaranteeing conflict-free minerals have focused on small-scale miners, not multinationals. In Tanzania, a gold mine indirectly owned by the Canadian gold mining giant Barrick has a documented history of human rights abuses and environmental damage. The North Mara gold mine currently sends its gold bars to MMTC-PAMP in India, where the gold then makes its way into many of the most popular tech gadgets in the world.

Canon and Nokia both highlighted that the Indian refiner had previously been audited and found conformant. “If allegations are confirmed, this smelter will be red-flagged and we will ask our supply chain to divert business from this smelter,” said a Nokia spokesperson. Apple shared a similar statement.

At the other end of the supply chain, local and foreign reporters who have tried to cover what is happening on the ground have faced intimidation and censorship from the state. Forbidden Stories, an international consortium of 40 journalists publishing in 30 media organizations around the world, found wrongdoing was ongoing at the North Mara gold mine, despite the company’s claims.

The mine, near the Kenyan border in northern Tanzania, has been plagued with violence for about two decades. As a result, the mine is surrounded by a two-metre wall and guarded like a fortress — both physically and metaphorically.

Forbidden Stories talked to several reporters who had been discouraged from reporting on the mine. Some received anonymous threats, others were censored by authorities. One reporter even decided to flee the country for over a year.

“They have created fear.” Jabir Idrissa, a 55 year-old journalist from Zanzibar, has not forgotten what happened to him two years ago. He was then working for two newspapers, the Swahili-language weekly MwanaHalisi and Mawio, both part of a newspaper group recognized for its investigative reporting.

In June 2017, Mawio published a story linking two former Tanzanianz presidents to alleged irregularities in mining deals signed in the 1990s. “We had a long discussion in the newsroom when we were deciding on stories,” Idrissa says. “Truly, there are topics we didn’t report on because of the general environment,” he said. But this one was a must, he said. They couldn’t avoid it “because journalism is a job of telling the truth.”

This is particularly difficult in Tanzania, where press freedom has been threatened for the last five years and, more specifically, since the election of John Magufuli to the presidency in 2015. A recent law provides for more than three years’ imprisonment, a fine of more than five million Tanzanian shillings ($2,100 U.S.) or both for knowingly publishing information or data deemed “false, deceptive, misleading or inaccurate.”

In addition, “journalists are attacked without reason,” according to Ryan Powell, a media development specialist working in East and West Africa. “Police will harass journalists, and people do not interfere.” Tanzania now ranks 118th out of 179 countries on Reporter Without Borders’ World Freedom Index. It dropped 25 places in the last year.

The day following publication of Mawio’s investigation, Minister of Information Harrisson Mwakyembe banned the newspaper for two years. The editor-in-chief of Mawio, Simon Mkina, claimed he started receiving threatening phone calls. As for Idrissa, he lost his job and was ostracized from any other journalistic opportunity. Left without resources, having to feed his three children, he left Dar es Salaam and started working in his cousin’s second-hand shop in Zanzibar.

The story that caused all this hardship was about Acacia Mining, a U.K.-registered company that has owned the North Mara gold mine under different names since 2006 and whose majority shareholder is gold giant Barrick. The Canadian parent company could soon become the direct owner of the North Mara mine and two others because of a tax dispute between Acacia and the Tanzanian government.

After benefiting for years from an extremely advantageous tax agreement with the Tanzanian government, the company is now losing an arm-wrestling match with authorities on the environmental front. In May, authorities fined the company 5.6 billion Tanzanian shillings ($2.4 million U.S. dollars) for alleged pollution from North Mara’s tailings dam.

January Makamba, the minister responsible for the environment, said the amount of the fine was justified, among other things, by the persistence of the problem.

“It’s been 10 years, and the tailing storage facility is still seeping,” he said about the dam supposed to prevent runoff of the environmentally damaging by-products of the mining operation.

“North Mara gold mine has kept water with poison in this facility for a long time, and this dam is not built properly, so poison has been seeping into underground water and nearby rivers and streams.” Makamba conceded some responsibility on the part of the Tanzanian government, saying it “consistently believed what the mine was telling.”

Acacia Mining told Forbidden Stories that it “has already recognized the need for additional tailings management” and that it “has commenced planning and design for a new tailing storage facility.”

Opposition politician Tundu Lissu, who has written on the environmental aspects of the mining industry in Tanzania, noted “the pollution of rivers and grasslands where villagers are taking the water from and raise their animals,” as well as “serious health problems associated with pollution.”

“I saw six people who washed in water near the mining area and they got a very bad reaction,” said Dr. Mark Nega, a former district medical officer in the area, about patients he saw in 2013.

In 2009, a study found high levels of arsenic in water in the vicinity of the mine. Elevated concentrations of arsenic are frequently found near gold mining sites. In 2015, farmers from the area sent samples of water coming from the mine to Kenya to be tested. Toxicology analysis carried out by a Kenyan government analyst found “nitrates and nitrites levels considered unsafe for livestock’s consumption.”

“An environmental incident occurred at North Mara mine during the Spring 2009 high rainfall season, when water containing discharges from containment ponds and run-off from the Mine entered the nearby Tigithe River,” said Acacia Mining in a statement. The company says it took prompt action following the incident.

On top of that, nongovernmental organizations have documented 22 alleged killings by the police or mine security workers since 2014. The victims were for the most part illegal miners, called “intruders” by the company.

“Small-scale miners who had government licences had previously owned most of the land in question,” explained Mary Rutenge, a lecturer at Mzumbe University in Tanzania. “The company’s acquisition of their land destabilized their livelihoods, and this company did not compensate them adequately.”

All of this with disastrous results: groups of jobless young people from neighbouring villages arm themselves with machetes or metal spears and get drunk on beer and Konyagi — a local brand of gin — every night to find the courage to climb the wall in the hope of making no more than the equivalent of $20. Instead, they find the armed policemen on the other side.

Why take so much risk? “We must go so we can get gold to help our families,” explained Monchena Mwita, the leader of the “intruders” from Kewanja, a village at the edge of the mine. “We can’t get gold without getting into the place, and there is nowhere else to get money so that’s our only source of income.”

Barrick’s leadership blames Tanzania’s police for any wrongdoing. “There have been many, many investigations on various allegations, and you can’t hold me accountable for the state authority,” said Barrick CEO Mark Bristow when asked about the killings by Forbidden Stories.

Yet, the barrier separating national police forces from mine security is not so clear. According to the U.K. nongovernmental organization Rights and Accountability in Development, Acacia has signed a memorandum of understanding with the police in which it says it will “provide ‘monetary and in-kind support’ to the police, will pay officers an allowance, provide meals and accommodation, supply fuel” to protect the mine.

Some victims also say it is not the police but mine security workers who attacked them. Forbidden Stories, along with a reporter from the Guardian (United Kingdom), met Lucia Marembela, a 44-year-old woman who says she was raped twice in 2010. She says she recognized her rapists as mine security forces because they were wearing blue uniforms and not the police force’s beige ones.

Marembela was caught by men while she was looking for gold from the mine, a fate she says is common for women in the area. “When we were tired of running, they would end up catching us and bringing us with them,” she says. “They would throw us in their vehicle and take us to an isolated place, near a small airfield, far from the view of passersby.” She says one man would then rape them, while the others were on the lookout. “Once they’ve finished their dirty work, they let you go, get in their vehicle and go back to work,” she said.

We have met two other women who described the same type of attack.

Marembela will have to spend the rest of her life living with the consequences. Her partner left her when he learned she had been raped, leaving her alone to raise her six children. “I have very bad memories of what was done to me,” she says. “Especially since everyone knows that I was raped, starting with my children. Sometimes people tell each other what happened to me on the street, and that hurts me very much.”

Marembela, along with other women, went to complain to mine management. She says the company — then called African Barrick Gold — subsequently reached out and asked her to sign a confidential agreement: in exchange for 13.9 million Tanzanian shillings ($8,600 U.S.), Marembela gave up her right to pursue a civil case against the mine or against Barrick. She says she was not able to fully read and understand the document before signing it.

“You shouldn’t silence people, but there’s always retribution,” said Bristow, the Barrick CEO. “And, in the short time I have been with Barrick, there have been demands for retribution. Not for justice. For retribution. To pay people who are making the demands.”

The situation continues as of today. “These abuses, particularly in North Mara gold mine, they come and go, they come and go,” said Lissu, who previously legally represented villagers in the region. Lissu was the victim of an assassination attempt in 2017, after he accused Magufuli’s government of lying about the mining contract. “There are periods of calm, and then something happens, and the whole thing blows up. But the tensions remain today.”

“Human rights abuses related to excess use of force by private and public mine security started increasing noticeably sometime around 2005 and was very high between 2009 and 2016,” said Catherine Coumans of the Canadian NGO Mining Watch, who has been documenting what is happening at North Mara for many years. “Our local contacts, and even mine personnel I have interviewed have told me that the international focus MiningWatch and RAID have put on the issue have helped bring the cases of shootings down, but severe beatings, especially of the head and joints, leading to sometimes lifelong handicaps, are still very high.”

In a statement, Acacia Mining said it had consistently refuted various allegations from both NGOs regarding unlawful deaths and human rights issues.

Forbidden Stories journalists met the families of two men, shot by the police in separate incidents in 2014 and 2016 as they were inside the mine. The families say they were not compensated. The police say they acted in self-defence.

“It is clear from Acacia’s own account that human rights violations continue at its North Mara mine,” wrote RAID in July 2017.

Yet the mine’s gold bars are today refined at MMTC-PAMP — an Indian refiner part of the Swiss-Dutch MKS PAMP Group — which is certified by the London Bullion Market Association, the most prestigious trade association in the industry.

“During our due diligence performed on North Mara, we took the NGO’s reports very seriously and challenged the mine on the issues raised,” said Hitesh Kalia, a risk and compliance officer at MMTC-PAMP. “We have assessed the measures taken by the mine to remediate the human rights claims, which are largely historical and related to the activities of the State police force operating in the area of the mine.”

Back in 2010, at the peak of the human rights abuses, a document written for investors indicated that the gold was refined by the Swiss company Argor-Heraeus, also certified and a listed supplier of more than 600 companies. Asked by a journalist from Tamedia (Switzerland), Argor-Heraeus did not confirm or deny having refined gold from North Mara.

There is less to labels than it seems, say experts.

“It’s important to know that these schemes in the gold sector are run by industry associations,” explains Gillard. “They check that refiners have systems in place to source gold responsibly, in line with OECD standards. They are not intended to provide a guarantee on the status of every gold product, a guarantee that there is no child labour, a guarantee that there is no conflict financing with each piece of gold that is purchased.”

He said the complexity of the gold supply chain makes such certainty unfeasible, and the quality of audits is often insufficient. The responsibility is thus diluted all along the supply chain.

Jürgen Heraeus, chairman of the Supervisory Board of Argor-Heraeus, describes the situation frankly in an interview in 2016: “[I]n this industry it is impossible to refine clean gold.”

Back in Tanzania, impoverished “intruders” keep looking for gold at the risk of their lives, and reporters are punished and prevented from shedding light on environmental damage and other wrongdoing.

“Once they’ve used the gold, they will go, and they’ll leave and leave the poison behind,” Lissu said of the mining operation.

And, in the case of journalist Jabir Idrissa, a career and a livelihood laid to waste.

In December 2018, Mawio won the case in court against the minister for information. The newspaper will not reopen anytime soon though, as they need a licence from the government to publish again.

“So it is just up to the government. If they give us the licence, we will get back to work,” says Idrissa. “I haven’t lost hope we will get back and work with high status and courage.”

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Top Lawyer Queries ABG’s Interpretation Of Mining Act

The controversial Panguna mine which land holders are fighting to stop being re-opened for foreign profiteers.

Post Courier | June 21, 2019

One of the world’s leading mining lawyers, Michael Hunt, an advisor to the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (SMLOLA), has issued a stinging attack on the statement which attempted to justify the proposed changes to the Bougainville Mining Act (BMA).

The changes were rejected by the Bougainville Parliamentary Committee on Legislation last week (read the full legal assessment).

This statement was a submission to that committee lodged by Minister Wilson and was published on June 19, 2019.

Mr Hunt said, the Statement, entitled “Interpreting Part 17 of the BMA”, “pretends to explain the Bougainville Mining Act (Amendment) Bill 2019 (Bill) in laymen’s terms but in reality, it is a false and misleading manifesto riddled with errors.”

Mr Hunt categorically confirmed that the proposed amendments would actually abolish all of the landowners’ rights relating to any application by the company 40% of which will be owned by McGlinn’s Caballus Mining and other foreign investors.

He added that all the provisions in Parts 1 to Part 16 of the BMA which protect the rights of landowners are over-ridden by the stroke of a pen in Part A of the Bill.

The confiscation of the landowners’ property and rights under the Bill is “unreasonable, unfair and unconstitutional.” said Mr Hunt in his formal legal opinion.

Mr Hunt confirmed the view previously expressed by SMLOLA: that the Bill “effectively confers a near monopoly on one company over exploration and mining on Bougainville”.

Mr Miriori, the Chairman of the SMLOLA further questioned how it was possible that they got the interpretation of the amending legislation so grossly incorrect?

“Why was Parliament misled? Something profoundly wrong is going on here,” he added.

The Parliamentary Committee reported that the normal practices and safeguards were sidestepped.

Mr Hunt is an Australian legal practitioner, who has written the authoritative book, Mining Law in Western Australia (the fifth edition of which was published in October 2015), the “Energy and Resources” volume of Halsbury’s Laws of Australia and the book Minerals and Petroleum Laws of Australia.

Mr Hunt has been recognised nationally and internationally as a leading mining lawyer, regularly named as such in legal market surveys. He was named in both Chambers Global Guide and Chambers Asia Pacific, putting him amongst the world’s top mining lawyers. Chambers’ review reports: “Michael Hunt is regarded as Western Australia’s pre-eminent expert on mining law.”

In 1987 he conducted a public inquiry into PNG’s mining laws on a commission from the PNG government. His comprehensive recommendations for reform were incorporated into entirely new mining legislation, the Mining Act 1992. The BMA is obviously based in part on the PNG Mining Act 1992.

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Miriori Says Bougainville Executive Council Was Misled

Philip Miriori (ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

Post Courier | June 18, 2019

The Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) Executive Council were allegedly misled at the time it resolved to support the developers proposal and consequential mass amendments demanded to the Bougainville Mining Act (BMA).

The Explanatory Memorandum that has emerged, long after the fact, claims in its first two principal reasons, that developer has developed and operated some of the largest mines in the world.

It now turns out that neither reason advanced was correct.

The truth is starkly different – the developer in question has never financed, developed or operated a large mine, to say nothing of the largest mines in the world.

Philip Miriori the Chairman of Panguna landowner company, Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (SMLOLA), indicated that, had the amending legislation passed, Bougainville would have given away a 4o per cent interest in Panguna and a monopoly over all large scale mining projects in Bougainville, to a person who does not have the relevant skills to finance, build and operate a mine like Panguna or help the ABG.

“The third reason advanced was even more false and misleading, as it claimed that the developer had also raised billions of dollars and so will raise all the money for Panguna for the ABG.

“The developer obviously has not raised billions of dollars as claimed, in fact he has only ever done one public company capital raising of a very modest US$30m, again more than a decade ago.

“So the three key reasons the BEC resolved to support the developer, that he had financed, developed and operated the largest mines in the world.

“And put forward the proposed changes to the BMA, which have now been rejected by the Legislative Review Committee because they were all grossly false and designed to deceive all of us here in Bougainville,” he said.

SMLOLA consultant Lawrence Daveona said the scenario suggest to us is that we all need to sit down collectively and find a workable solution.

“This is a solution that can actually be delivered and will allow us to finally move forward with the redevelopment of Panguna to eventually see all of Bougainville prosper,” he said.

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