Category Archives: Corruption

Locals threaten armed campaign against PNG seabed mine

Credit: Alliance of Solwara Warriors

Radio New Zealand | 1 May 2017

Locals are prepared to take up arms if a seabed mining project in Papua New Guinea goes ahead, according to a anti-deep sea mining campaigner.

A campaigner against deep sea mining says locals have threatened to take up arms if a seabed mining project in Papua New Guinea goes ahead.

Canadian company Nautilus Minerals was given an Environmental Permit by the PNG government in 2009, to develop the the Solwara 1 Project, but work is still to begin.

Helen Rosenbaum from the Deep Sea Mining Campaign said locals in New Ireland province and the Duke of York Islands were feeling so desperate that they would consider taking up arms against the project.

“They know they can get access to explosives, it’s incredibly easy to get access to arms in a country like Papua New Guinea through the police, through the army,” she said.

Ms Rosenbaum said the mining project would be the first of its kind and would set a dangerous precedent in the Pacific.

HELEN ROSEBAUM: Well there’s quite different layers of risk. There’s of course environmental which is well documented by our own reports which are direct risks to the hydro-thermal vents that are being mined and the unique eco systems that are there. There’s also the risks that will result from the mining process and the plumes that are generated that are likely to contain metals and other toxics and the risk of those things getting into the food chain – the marine food web effecting marine species and of course effecting the communities that rely on those marine species for their substance and their quite thriving local economy. There’s also economic financial risk to the company which we’ve been outlining to Anglo American and other investors, their economic returns for Soera 1 are totally unknown and Nautilus are clear about this in documentation that this is a huge experiment from all perspectives. They’re clear they don’t know what the environmental impacts are going to be.

Last year I visited the Duke of York islands, New Ireland province and communities and provincial government in East New Britain as well. People are very concerned about the impacts. They’re already facing impacts from climate change, they’re already losing land on their islands due to sea level rise. They’re facing increasing frequency of storm event so their already feeling quite threatened, so this is the last straw for them. On top of  all of that they were saying now we have to deal with this, they were already facing a very uncertain future and because of losing land to sea level rises they’re feeling like their future is going to depend more on the marine environment for their nutrition and their livelihoods and they’re wondering how they’re going to exist and how are their children going to exist.

TG: What ways have they told you they might respond?

HR: Well, they are working with local groups over there to support them, to use political power means. It is PNG elections time in June and July this year. We’re looking at how they can hold candidates accountable for their policy platforms and ask them that hard questions about their positions on Sowara 1 project, but a lot of people are feeling quite desperate and because of  the high level of corruption and not feeling that in PNG that a candidate says something that  that sounds good to them on Nautilus they won’t change their minds later on. And one can see this happening all the time with Sir Julius Chan who is the governor of New Ireland province and he just flip-flops. Sowera 1 is in the water of New Ireland and last year he was voicing serious concerns about the Sowera 1 project and wondering whether it should go ahead, but this week a press release came out saying he has resigned to the Sowera 1 and he’s going to make the most of it. Goodness knows what’s going on behind the scenes in terms of money changing hands. Local people are feeling so desperate they are saying that they would even take up arms against the project. Many of them work at mining companies, or have worked at mining companies in the past. They have access to explosives and they know it’s incredibly easy and it’s only a matter of money to get arms in a country like PNG through the police of through the army. And they have the experience of Bougainville, many of them worked at the Bougainville mine prior to the civil war in Bougainville what was caused by impacts of the civil war – for them making this threat is no idle threat . Many people in the Duke of York Islands and the New Ireland province have married into Bougainville. They understand want it means to have conflict, and they not saying this loosely.

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Filed under Corruption, Environmental impact, Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Lack of opportunities cause of illegal mining at Porgera

See also: Yet Another Two Local Indigenous Porgerans Shot by Barrick Hired Security Personnel at Porgera Gold Mine

Mark Haihuie | The National aka The Loggers Times | April 20, 2017
ILLEGAL mining in Porgera, Enga, is the result of a lack of opportunities for locals to participate in small to medium enterprises, according to Porgera Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
President Nickson Pakea was responding to questions from The National on locals taking part in illegal mining activities.
He said the ineffective government presence in the district in creating business opportunities, had created a dependency on the Porgera joint venture for basic services and business opportunities.
“According to the business perspective, the mine area is the land in which the seven clans gave to the developer. It’s the property of the company,” he said.
“If someone enters into this prohibited area then it is criminal.
“The cash flow in the district is mainly from the Porgera mine.
“The Government institutions within the district responsible for the growth of small to medium enterprises and the avenues is all moving backwards.
“The Porgera Development Authority was misused and was closed for more than three years.
“Paiam Hospital closed as well.
“Porgera Health Centre closed with no reflection of government services except the Barrick Porgera joint venture that people of Porgera rely on. The service delivery there is minimal. The non-government organisation groups need to represent the bulk of population on such corruption affecting many lives.”

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IRC raises tax concessions issue

Who is it persuades politicians to grant tax concessions without consulting relevant government departments?

Is it the mining companies directly influencing Ministers to make decisions against the national interest, disadvantaging ordinary people?

The National aka The Loggers Times | April 20, 2017

DECISIONS to grant tax concessions and incentives to resource projects should be made with the involvement of government entities and relevant organisations as well, an official says.

Internal Revenue Commission commissioner-general Betty Palaso told the meeting of department heads in Mendi, Southern Highlands yesterday that the Government should consider the other entities.

“An important factor that we can factor into preparations for the new parliament is how government deals with tax concessions and tax incentives, etc,” Palaso said.

“A lot of time, submissions go directly to Cabinet, approving certain tax concessions and incentives before coming to IRC, Department of Treasury or Papua New Guinea Customs. And we are then told to implement it.

“For example, LNG has a lot of tax incentives.

“Therefore, we have not been able to get revenue in terms of corporate income tax for a long time.

“And that is because decisions were made to allow these kind of incentives to large multi nationals.

“We have to seriously think about it. And then we have another developer in the same sector coming in to say we want the same concessions given to this particular developer given to us as well.”

Palaso said once that was done, it reduced the country’s revenue base.

“So when that is done again, the revenue base is much more reduced,” she said.

“Now we can see the impact of the reduction in the commodity prices which is now impacting on how much revenue is being generated and coming into the Government to date.”

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Opposition questions PM on benefits from LNG shipments

Delays in royalty payments are frustrating landowners

Delays in royalty payments are frustrating landowners

Post Courier | March 05, 2017

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has come under fire again from the Opposition on the benefits from LNG’s more than 200 shipments.

Mr O’Neill said bigger benefits were looming for the country in the next LNG projects at Port Moresby’s inaugural petroleum and energy summit.

Opposition Leader Don Polye said the Department of Treasury projected that annual proceeds from the first LNG would be up to K4 billion.

“Our alternative government’s question is who will benefit the most? We know these benefits looming in the petroleum and energy sector.

“This is not the first time we will see them coming in from such an international project.

“Our resource owners have missed out on benefits which are rightfully theirs in the first LNG project,” he said.

Mr Polye said the government had betrayed the people.

“Talking about projects after projects will not solve the real problems. There is nothing from the LNG project reflected in national budgets.

“Budget books show nothing. With such disarray in the management of the resources, pushing for another LNG project is unheard of,” he warned.

Sovereign wealth fund, he said, was established outside of the international best practice Santiago principle.

Mr Polye added that the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative was not fully established within the standard frameworks as well.

“We cannot justify discussing another second or third LNG project. We are afraid their proceeds will also go down the same trend.

“I must boldly tell the nation that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has mismanaged the country’s proceeds from the first LNG project.

The country is in the red. I would like to advice the forum to address these issues,” Mr Polye said.

He warns Total, ExxonMobil and other players that whilst bidding to increase their profitability to serve the interest of shareholders, they have a moral and legal obligation to PNG as well.

“We would like to see responsibility on the part of the developers to create a sustainable economy for PNG.

“When we are in government, we will not only bid for maximum benefits for our resource owners, we will fix SWF and EITI, minimise law and order, restore rule of law and alleviate corruption to make PNG become an attractive investment destination,” Mr Polye said.

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Illegal work on Panguna stopped

panguna-gold-dredging

The National aka The Loggers Times | February 13, 2017

ILLEGAL gold dredging operations have ceased in the mid-tailings region of Panguna, according to an official.

Autonomous Bougainville Government Minister for Minerals and Energy Resources Robin Wilson told The National that the operations of Jaba Resources Limited in the area were not compliant with the Bougainville Mining Act 2015.

This resulted in the company being instructed to cease operations in December last year.

“This company’s operations came about as a result of the Bougainville Executive Council approval of a proposal for a brick production and gold extraction project submitted under the Department of Economic Development in August 2015,” Wilson said.

“On inspection of the site, and given the nature of the operations, it is clear that Jaba Resources Limited needs to be the holder of a small-scale mining lease under the Bougainville Mining Act 2015 for its operations to be lawful.

“Even if no metalliferous minerals such as gold were being extracted, Jaba Resources would still need to be the holder of a quarry lease. There are obviously other requirements under National laws as well, such as environmental approval.

“On the basis that the Jaba project has not complied with the relevant laws, the Executive Council has rescinded its decision to support the project.

“For these reasons, I have directed the Acting Secretary for Mineral and Energy Resources to take all necessary steps to bring this company’s operations to an immediate stop.

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Cash strapped PNG govt to avoid paying LNG royalties

Minister Nixon Duban

Minister Nixon Duban knows the government doesn’t have the money to pay the royalties

The bankrupt PNG government does not have the money to pay LNG royalties and is desperate to try and keep a lid on the issue ahead of the National election in June. The truth is Duban and his Ministerial colleagues in government have stolen so much money there is none left for LNG landholders and they will get nothing! In the meantime, Duban and the PM will keep rolling out the excuses…

Landowner royalties to be paid together: Duban

Charles Yapumi | Loop PNG | February 4, 2017

All landowner royalty payments for the LNG Project will be made after issues regarding landowner identification and clan vetting processes are completed, says Minister for Petroleum and Energy Nixon Duban.

The Minister said landowners from the resource areas, pipeline and plant site areas will be paid together after all landowner issues are dealt with, and no preferences will be given.

Duban said the Court of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) will be dealing with landowners’ disagreements with the department’s identification and clan vetting processes.

The minister was responding to questions from Kikori MP, Mark Maipakai, in Parliament on Friday.

Maipakai asked when his people along the LNG pipeline areas will get their royalty payments because all their landowner identification and clan vetting processes had already been completed.

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Ok Tedi Trust funds frozen by court case: OTML

oneill_vesus_morauta

Gynnie Kero | The National | January 17, 2017

TRUST funds for Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) villages in the South Fly district of Western are still frozen by a court case, according to Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML).
But despite that, OTML continued to contribute money into the trust every year, deputy chief executive officer and general manager employee and external relations Musje Werror said.
As at December last year, the company paid more than K9.8 billion in benefits to the people of Western since 1982.
He revealed that 50 per cent of these funds were currently tied up in court.
Addressing people at a village in South Fly last Friday, Werror said the village was among others in the district whose projects would be delayed.
The Sepe/Auti village in South Fly was the final village in the CMCA corridor to sign the CMCA Extension Agreement (CMCAEA) last Friday.
“Your benefits start today (last Friday) after signing of the agreement.
“But your name (Sepe/ Auti) is among all South Fly villages, project delivery will be delayed. Until the (court) case is over, we cannot draw down from the trust,” he said.
Werror also told the locals that the compensation package for the 158 CMCA communities in Western was reviewed over the years.
“In 2001, the compensation package at that time was K175 million.
“That was revised in the 2006 memorandum of agreement (MOA) to close to K1.2 billion and now the CMCA extension agreement nearly K600 million.”
Werror urged Sepe/ Auti locals to cooperate with the miner and the Ok Tedi Development Foundation and the provincial government if they wanted to see real change in the village.
“To achieve sustainable development is not easy but it can and will happen if we all work together. I encourage the people of Sepe/Auti through your leaders to work closely with OTML, OTDF and the Fly River Provincial Government (FRPG),” he said.
“There will be disagreements along the way but we must never lose focus of our dream and our desire to develop our village, our region and our province.”
Ok Tedi Mining Ltd also presented two outboard motors and sporting equipment worth K70,000 to the village last Friday.
It is understood that two 23-foot dinghies would be delivered to Sepe/Auti later.

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