Category Archives: Corruption

Bougainville Mining Coup Engineered by Former Australian Defence Minister Leaked Document Suggests 

Image: A recent Caballus Mining meeting on Bougainville

Bougainville is facing arguably its biggest challenge since 2001, as the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) attempts to push through major amendments to its Mining Act, reportedly at the behest of Western Australian businessman, Jeffrey McGlinn.

Last week Mine Watch exposed the links between McGlinn, Qamar Khan and Belden Namah. Namah has mysteriously been on Bougainville meeting with President John Momis. Now we have in our possession a document purportedly written by another Western Australian, David Johnston.

Image: Former Australian Defence Minister, David Johnston, the current Chairman of Kalia Limited.

Johnston is a former Minister for Defence in the Australian Government (famously known for being embroiled in an expenses scandal), and is currently Chairman of Kalia Limited which is laying claim over mineral prospects in North Bougainville.

But it is Panguna mine to which this leaked document pertains. It is a consultancy report written for the ABG, and the advice solicited by the named author, David A L Johnston, is a blueprint for the current mining coup underway in Buka.

The top secret document solicits advice to the ABG on how it can rapidly raise revenues – which by all accounts are being lost just as rapidly to corruption – through a radical plan to reopen Panguna.

The document, written in August 2017, claims Bougainville Copper Limited has ‘lost [its] social licence to operate’. This references the considerable body of evidence linking BCL to environmental devastation, war crimes, and other egregious human rights abuses.

Shortly after the consultancy report was submitted to the ABG, President Momis, in effect cancelled BCL’s renewed bid to obtain a mining lease over Panguna, telling the media: ‘The people felt BCL no longer deserved the social licence’, a statement seemingly taken almost word for word from the consultancy report.

However, the report does not argue for a long term moratorium on Panguna while the wounds of the past heal. To the contrary it encourages a radical coup designed to rapidly reopen Panguna, using a shady offshore system of corporate ownership and ‘shadow Directors’.

The report argues that the ABG should organise experienced ‘shadow directors’ to advise its appointees on BCL’s Board, allowing them to access critical commercial-in-confidence records essential to the proposed mining coup.

The consultancy report then argues for issuing a new mining license to an offshore corporate entity, Liberty Minerals, with the ABG as 100% shareholder. From here, it continues, the ABG can enter into a joint venture with a new investor to reopen the Panguna mine.

The structure mimics what is currently being advocated for by the Bougainville President,  except Liberty Minerals is to be known as Bougainville Advance Mining and the foreign ‘partner’ has a name, Caballus Mining, led by McGlinn.

Mine Watch has already detailed the links between Belden Namah, a man implicated in high profile corruption scandals in PNG, and Jeffrey McGlinn.

The question then is, what is the relationship between fellow Western Australians, David Johnston and Jeffrey McGlinn?

The amendments being argued for by McGlinn, with the full backing of President Momis, appears straight out of the playbook set out in this consultancy report, which is purportedly written by Johnston.

Whatever the answer is, it appears as Bougainville approaches the independence referendum, meddlesome hands from the former colonial power, are all over the ABG.

We have Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) vying for Panguna under Australian management. BCL claims it is the rightful mine operator.

For a time, Momis argued BCL enjoyed overwhelming support from landowners (they didn’t), and his government. The President in a series of letters launched scathing attacks on local and international advocates, who argued BCL should be held to account for past injustices. Later it was revealed that the letter metadata showed they were penned on the computer of another Australian adviser to President Momis, Anthony Regan.

Now the relationship with BCL has cooled, Momis recently told Radio New Zealand: ‘Bougainville Copper … got away with trillions and they gave the people of Bougainville, the landowners included, a pittance. They destroyed our environment, destroyed our land, exploited the place’.

Then there is RTG Mining, an Australian company, which claims it, not BCL, is the rightful operator: ‘RTG Mining Inc  is the nominated development partner with the joint venture company, Panguna Minerals Limited, established by the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association and Central Exploration Pty Ltd, in their proposal with respect to the redevelopment of the Copper-Gold Panguna Project located in the Central Region of the island of Bougainville, within the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea’.

RTG Mining is linked to Australian Renzie Duncan, and Bougainvillean, Philip Miriori, both of whom have a questionable track record. It appears this corporate faction do not enjoy the backing of President Momis.

Now to the mix we can add McGlinn’s Caballus Mining and Bougainville Advance Mining, a third contender for the Panguna mine, which operates with the President’s full support.

The roles played in this faction by former PNG Deputy PM, Belden Namah and former Australian Defence Minister, David Johnston, is still to be clarified.

Deafening is the Australian government’s silence as its citizens wreak havoc on Australia’s so called strategic doorstep.

But one thing is for certain, foreign corporate cabals sense blood in the water, with a weak and deeply corrupt ABG, ailing under the leadership of President Momis.

Meanwhile, landowners continue to make their opposition to the resumption of mining in Panguna known, regardless of which Australian conglomerate takes over.

Plenty of ideas circulate Bougainville on how to create a sustainable future, even if it falls on deaf ears within the ABG.

While late last year NGO, Jubilee Australia, released a new report that contains voices from Bougainville and abroad, on sustainable alternatives for funding a potentially independent Bougainville – read the report here.

Of course, sustainable solutions that rely on the savvy of locals it seems are no match for pipedreams being sold by Australian businessmen, who appear to have a monopoly on the President’s ear.

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South Taranaki iwi Ngāti Ruanui angry at spying by Thompson & Clark during Trans-Tasman Resources mining application

Anti seabed mining protesters were spied on by agents acting for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Laurie Stowell | New Zealand Herald | 27 December, 2018

Revelations that the Government used private investigators to spy on protesters opposing Trans-Tasman Resources’ (TTR) seabed mining application have provoked outrage.

And one the groups targeted, South Taranaki iwi Ngāti Ruanui, is calling for a review of New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals, the government body that manages oil, gas and minerals and issues permits for exploration.

A bombshell report last week, following an inquiry by the State Services Commission, laid bare Government monitoring of groups seen as “security threats”, often through the use of private investigation firm Thompson & Clark.

The security company was given the profiles and newsletters of groups opposing oil and gas exploration and ironsand mining, such as that sought by TTR – and Ngāti Ruanui was one of the main opponents.

“The report says we were monitored and the only other word for that is spying,” Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui chief executive Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said.

The iwi is making an Official Information Act request for more information and may make a formal complaint, referring to the spying as “corrupt practices”.

Ngarewa-Packer said the iwi was “outraged but unsurprised” to discover the Government had used private investigators to spy on them.

The 150-page State Services Commission report shows “issue-motivated groups” such as the Ngāti Ruanui iwi were treated as security threats by several government departments.

It says the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), which is responsible for NZ Petroleum and Minerals, breached its code of conduct by failing to maintain an appropriate level of objectivity and impartiality.

“MBIE’s management of its regulatory responsibilities in the petroleum and minerals area … showed evidence of poor regulatory practice.”

Ngāti Ruanui chief executive Debbie Ngarewa-Packer

The inquiry uncovered system-wide failings across the public service, including a pattern of behaviour where public servants developed inappropriately close relationships with Thompson & Clark.

The monitoring started during Helen Clark’s Labour Government, with one instance in 2002, but Ngarewa-Packer said it ramped up during the last National-led Government when Simon Bridges was Energy and Resources Minister.

In 2015 he put up the “largest ever” block offer for oil and gas exploration. New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals was making “a huge effort” to bring business into the country.

Asking for opposing groups to be “monitored” called into question every decision it has made during that period, Ngarewa-Packer said.

“It makes the Crown Minerals process look corrupt.”

She said MBIE’s poor regulatory practice and bias toward iwi and stakeholders meant the ironsands exploration process “was undermined from the start”.

“What we suspected for years has sadly been confirmed – not only have we been fighting poor practising industry but we’ve also been fighting the officials charged with providing an impartial process. New Zealanders need to trust that those at the forefront of our democratic process will have a neutral view, instead of lobbying for private industry interests.”

The South Taranaki tribe was one of a number of groups opposing the ironsand mining application by TTR. During the mining proposal hearings, its people felt their concerns were ignored and officials were biased.

“We feel like we are up against not just TTR, but the officials as well.”

It seemed paranoid at the time, but Ngarewa-Packer now believes that treatment was part of a prevailing behaviour and culture.

She called for a full review of NZ Petroleum and Minerals and full disclosure. “Taxpayers and iwi need assurance the Government can be trusted.”

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes said last week that new standards would strengthen transparency and consistency across government agencies.

“Any decision to use surveillance requires careful judgment,” Hughes said. “It must be lawful, it must be proportionate, and it must be ethical.

“It is never acceptable for an agency to undertake targeted surveillance of a person just because they are lawfully exercising their democratic rights – including their right to freedom of expression, association and right to protest.

“That is an affront to democracy.”

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Industry to reveal real owners of mining companies by 2020

The National aka The Loggers Times | October 30, 2018

Papua New Guinea is set to reveal real owners of extractive companies.

This comes after the conclusion of an Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) roadshow on beneficial ownership disclosure in Madang recently.

A beneficial owner in respect of a company means the natural person(s) who directly or indirectly owns or controls a corporate entity.

A beneficial owner is always the living, breathing human being who ultimately profits from the company’s activities, or controls the company’s activities. It is never a company, other legal entity, or a nominee/proxy.

A roadmap is being executed by KPMG – the roadmap implementation manager – to develop a reporting matrix to feature beneficial owners in PNGEITI reports starting 2020, as required by the EITI global standard.

Head of National Secretariat of EITI Lucas Alkan said: “By 2020, companies applying for or holding a participatory interest in an exploration or production of an oil, gas or mining license or contract in an EITI country must report the details of the beneficial owner, (ie the human beings who own, control or substantially benefit from these companies and interests), as well as identifying any ‘politically exposed persons’ with a direct engagement in regulating, setting laws, tax rates, negotiating contracts etc.

“More than 50 EITI member countries have published their plans for how to disclose the real owners of companies in their extractive industries, which will require establishing legal and institutional arrangements for application, including establishing registers of such real owners.

“The Madang roadshow was part of implementation of a BO roadmap to identify an appropriate reporting process to enable PNGEITI name beneficial owners in its reports.

“We had presentations from Mineral Resources Authority, Department of Petroleum, Bank of Papua New Guinea, Investment Promotion Authority, PNGEITI National Secretariat, Institute of National Affairs and the BO Roadmap Implementation Manager KPMG.

“I commend the MSG constituents and other relevant State agencies for their presentations and discussions on issues relating to revealing beneficial owners in EITI reports and the approach going forward.

“As required by the EITI global best practice standard – to report the ‘beneficial owners’ in 2020 like other EITI implementing countries – I am positive that PNG will have been fully prepared by then to meet this important reporting requirement.”

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Enga landowners want Canadian miner out of PNG

A protest against Barrick Gold. Photo: Facebook/ Kelly Taila

Radio New Zealand | 4 October 2018

Landowners are calling on Papua New Guinea’s government to reject an application for a renewed exploration permit for a Canadian miner.

Barrick Gold is seeking a renewal of its license at the Porgera gold mine in Enga province which it and Chinese miner ZiJin each own a 47.5 percent stake in.

The Justice Foundation for Porgera group represents most of the local landowner groups.

Its chairman Jonathan Paraia said the mine had caused irreparable environmental damage and failed to deliver promised benefits for the community.

He said repeated rapes of local girls by Barrick’s security guards have also left a legacy.

“Over the years there are a lot of issues affecting landowners, caused by the company, and there is no remedy. It’s now thirty years [that the mine has almost been in operation]. They want Barrick out of Porgera, or Papua New Guinea. They want the mine to operate but they want to change the ownership rights.”

The Mining Warden, Kopi Wapa, has been conducting hearings in Porgera as part of public consultations over the license application, before submitting his report to the Mining Advisory Council. The Council will subsequently make recommendations to the minister of mining on a final decision on this matter.

However, the Justice Foundation for Porgera group is concerned that Mr Wapa lacks impartiality in this matter, accusing him of being sponsored or compromised by Barrick.

“The Warden was on the podium surrounded by mining company employees, he gagged our legal counsel and tried to gag us,” Mr Paraia explained.

Mr Paraia said the landowners expected the warden to make a recommendation for Barrick to be refused approval for exploration, “because of overwhelming objection from the local community”.

“Because even if they issue the exploration license, physically the landowners will not allow them to explore in their areas.”

“This mine has turned us into mining refugees in our own land, we are subsistence people without land we cannot grow food to survive. People have died, women and girls have been gang raped, hundreds displaced on Barrick’s watch.”

Barrick has paid compensation for a number of the victims of its security guards’ abuses, however local groups have complained that there has been a lack of justice on many counts.

According to Mr Paraia, Enga’s provincial governor Sir Peter Ipatas had earlier indicated he supported the landowners in their opposition to Barrick.

The Special Mining Lease agreement which is the basis for any mining in Porgera is still valid until next year.

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Ok Tedi funds not safe: MRDC a milking cow for people in Waigani

O’Neill clears air on K200m mine fund

The National aka The Loggers Times | 18 July 2018

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill told Parliament yesterday that well over K200 million from OK Tedi Mine is currently accumulating in the Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) and non-CMCA trust accounts for the people of Western.

He said this in response to questions from Middle Fly MP James Donald on why Government had made a decision to transfer money in the CMCA and the non-CMCA trust accounts to Mineral Resource Development Company (MRDC).
Donald said he was very concerned because MRDC was a “milking cow” for people in Waigani.

“I asked the prime minister earlier on and he had given me and the people of Western province assurance that the funds were in safe hands,” he said.

“An NEC decision in June 2017 has stated that after the audits of the CMCA and the non-CMCA trust accounts, the balance of the funds, will be transferred to MRDC.

“I am very concerned that the prime minister has lied to me and the people of Western.

“MRDC is a milking cow for Waigani people and the funds are now in the wrong hands.”

O’Neill said what the Government tried to do was to correct gross mismanagement and misuse of funds in the CMCA and non-CMCA trust accounts over the past years.

He said hundreds of millions of kina belonging to Western people under CMCA and non-CMCA trust accounts had been mismanaged over the years.

“Those funds have never reached the people,” O’Neill said.

“That’s why we are trying to correct and stop this nonsense going on.

“The government has put a ban on the CMCA and non-CMCA trust accounts and conducted an audit.”

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Owners Of Extractive Companies To Be Identified

Post courier | 10 July 2018

Work is underway to identify beneficial owners of extractive companies operating in Papua New Guinea, says the PNGEITI multi stakeholder group (MSG).

The PNGEITI is cooperating with an international auditing firm KPMG as the implementation manager to execute a beneficial owners (BO) roadmap.

The roadmap is aimed at establishing a reporting matrix to feature beneficial owners in PNGEITI reports starting 2020- as required by the EITI International.

A beneficial owner in respect of a company means the natural person or persons who directly or indirectly owns or controls a corporate entity. A beneficial owner ultimately profits from the company’s activities, or controls the company’s activities. It is never a company, other legal entity, or a nominee or proxy, says PNGEITI.

“By 2020 companies applying for or holding a participatory interest in an exploration or production of an oil, gas or mining licence or contract in an EITI country must report the details of the beneficial owner (persons who own, control or substantially benefit from these companies and interests), as well as identifying any ‘politically exposed persons’ – these are politicians or officials or their family members or agents, with a direct engagement in regulating, setting laws, tax rates, negotiating contracts etc.”

“More than 50 EITI member countries have published their plans for how to disclose the real owners of companies in their extractive industries, which will require establishing legal and institutions arrangements for application, including establishing registers of such real owners,” said PNGEITI head of National Secretariat Mr Lucas Alkan.

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Basamuk People Threaten To Shut Down Ramu Mine Refinery

View of the Ramu Nickel mine refinery. Image by Christopher McLeod/Sacred Land Film Project.

Jayne Safihao | Post Courier | 6 July 2018

While deputy Prime Minister, Charles Abel and a large team of government officers arrived yesterday in Madang for the much anticipated royalty payment to those affected in the Ramu Nico project, neglected Basamuk landowners have threatened to shut down the Basamuk refinery on Monday.

The threat was issued to the Ramu Nico management yesterday by executives of the Basamuk Landowners Association, in what was a ‘strained meeting’.

Spokesman and activist in the fight against having the deep sea tailings placement in Basamuk, Sama Mellombo, spoke strongly against the Mining Resource Authority (MRA), saying it had no legitimate powers to negotiate royalty payments.

He said that the Lands Department made an Improvement Inspection Report in 1999 which stated that the land should be forfeited and given back to customary landowners to improve.

Mr Mellombo said this was before the Mining Lease 42 was granted, “as described as to the depth of 30 metre below the natural surface of land situated near Basamuk”.

“Basamuk land is exempted from compulsory acquisition. Since the first Lands Titles Commission hearing in 2011 there has been no decision made over the land title. So after two LTC hearings no one can claim the land. We’ve had to go to the National Court to sort ownership issues but the courts say they are not the proper authority to decide who owns the land. It’s been a volley between the courts and LTC since,” he said.

“Now who has given MCC, the Chinese developer, the Basamuk land?”

MCC spokesperson, who did not want to be named, confirmed the meeting with Mr Mellombo’s team saying that the issue of Basamuk landownership was an “in-house dispute” between factions of landowners which has been prolonged and has put the company in an awkward position.

“The company can go ahead and pay them outstanding land use payments and such but this is hindering us. We recognize Mellombo as an LOA chairman though,” he said.

Mr Mellombo when asked if this was an in-house dispute, scoffed the idea saying:

“There is no in-house matter because according to MOA review of 2013, doesn’t allow two associations in one area. The company and the government are playing games and interfering with LOA affairs which they have no right to.”

The recognised groups within the project area to benefit today are Maigari Inland pipeline, Coastal pipeline and Kurumbukari LOA groups excluding the Rai Coast people in Basamuk.

It seems while the in-house matter is yet to be sorted out and LTC, yet to decide land ownership, the Chinese have somewhat put a refinery and Deep Sea Tailings Placement.

Mra Officers Allegedly Mishandling Landowners Issues

Jayne Safihao | Post Courier | 6 July 2018

The alleged mishandling of landowner issues by concerned MRA officers (named), in one of the impact areas of the Ramu Nico project may lead to the possible closure of the refinery at Basamuk.

In a petition, chairman of the Baasamuk Landowners Association Sama Mellombo, had singled two MRA officers as being very biased, not properly organising quarterly meetings and giving a complete blackout on project developments to the Basamuk LOA.

“I call on the Governor of the province, MPs for Madang and Rai Coast to get rid of these two gentlemen as they are not doing what they are supposed to be doing. MRA has not been paying our grants since, despite a competency jurisdiction hearing by the courts recognising us. These two gentlemen have been taking sides with certain individuals, coming to Madang and using it as a holiday resort and playing smart,” he alleged.

In the petition, he gave the company 48 hours before the refinery is shut down unless both men are replaced forthwith; that the refinery landowners identified by the Department of Lands and Physical Planning in 1999 be served on the proprietor, fully supported by a study of the Yangonan People of Rai Coast 1999 sponsored by Highlands Pacific and National Court order 2005/2010 regarding the subject land; and that the state show proof that Basamuk ground identified by Survey File No, 12/257 was legally acquired.

“We have been reliably informed that one MRA officer had a meeting to brief all the chairmen and executive committees of KBK, Inland and Coastal LOAs and singled out a Willie Galuk for reasons known only to himself. Who does Galuk represent? Not Basamuk I hope,” he said.

“We are concerned because this is not the first time the two officers have deliberately avoided Basamuk LOA executive committee since the outcome of the appeal to the National Court seeking to set aside the court order declaring that the election facilitated and conducted in Mindire village in 2016, was illegal.

“The landowners of Basamuk have been denied natural justice caused by these two officers who fail to remain impartial at all times when it comes to landownership issues. They see fit to be personally and deeply involved in the affairs of Basamuk LOA in-house matters that is causing the current status quo.

“Their actions are not in the best interest of the National Government through MRA and Ramu Nico management as they have failed to ensure four LOAs in the Ramu Nickel\Cobalt project has legal standing in the MOA; failed to conduct due diligence to ensure when conducting elections for associations over the years made sure of legal and statutory requirements according to association extract provided by the IPA for each term.

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