Category Archives: Human rights

Coal plant proposal for PNG city a poor option – NGO

Lae, Papua New Guinea Photo: RNZI/ Johnny Blades

Radio New Zealand | 19 September, 2017 

A proposal for a coal-fired power plant in Lae is a poor economic and environmental option, according to an anti-coal group in Papua New Guinea.

The proposal by Mayur Resources to build a plant on the Lae Tidal Basin has lingered for a couple of years, but failed to get a purchase agreement from PNG Power.

However Mayur had approval from PNG Ports through its re-development of Lae’s important port area.

But Chris Lahberger from Nogat Coal PNG said the government knew that a coal plant was not an efficient way to generate energy.

“But it just looks awful as well, as PNG is a signatory to the Paris (Climate) Agreement to go one hundred percent renewable, and a coal mine with a forty year life span,” Mr Lahberger said.

“Mayur are now suggesting that the life span of this coal plant to be fifteen years. But the economics of that just doesn’t stack up. Like you would not make your money back from your investment if you ran it for just fifteen years.”

Mr Lahberger said renewable energy was a better alternative.

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Canadian First Nations reject mining proposal after conducting their own intensive review

The proposed location at Pípsell is a sacred, culturally and historically important site to the First Nations. Photo: Wilderness Committee

Could this be a model for communities in Papua New Guinea? 

Rather than relying on mining company propaganda, lets do our own independent assessments of mining proposals…

KGHM Ajax Mining Inc. wants to build the Ajax open-pit copper and gold mine near the city of Kamloops, British Columbia in Canada

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The Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation (SSN) representing the First Nation communities in the area conducted their own thorough 18-month review of the project and have said NO to the Ajax mine project.

The SSN reviewed 20,000 pages of information and over 300 reports. They held a public comment period and heard from over 80 experts at an oral panel hearing.

From what they learned the SSN determined that the project is too risky for the health and well-being of the Secwepemc and everyone else.

The federal government has committed to a fairer environmental assessment process and to respecting the rights and title of Indigenous Peoples. Will they honour that commitment and reject the Ajax mine for good?

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We are being softened up for the re-opening of Panguna mine

Panguna mine – now back in play

Leonard Fong Roka | PNG Attitude | 15 September 2017

PANGUNA – There is a lot happening in central Bougainville around the now derelict Panguna mine.

Two local groups, with external financial backing, are engaged in awareness programs – campaigning if you like – for re-opening the mine that operated for about 20 years until hostilities closed it in 1989.

Thence followed the loss of some 10-15,000 Bougainvillean lives and millions and millions of kina worth of damage to assets and property.

Both of these groups on the make are yet to explain to us who suffered directly in the 10 year civil war how this ‘awareness’ or ‘campaigning’ for the re-opening of the mine will affect us and what our role may be.

The English word ‘awareness’ (Concise Oxford 11th Edition) is defined as ‘having knowledge or perception of a situation or fact’ while campaign has two meanings: the military definition which I’ll ignore and the other – ‘an organised course of action to achieve a goal’.

Last Monday I sent a text message to Bougainville Copper Ltd manager Justin Rogers, who was about to board a plane from Buka to Port Moresby. The missive was about mine-related activities in Central Bougainville, especially about the mine re-opening which is being pushed aggressively by the leaders of both the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the Panguna New Generation Leaders (PNGL).

Mr Rogers’ reply said:

“The issue at the moment is interests in mineral rights. Our interest is to start a project to see if mining is viable. There is no mine until someone proves it is commercially and technically [viable].”

This communication shed some light that the current campaign to re-open the mine is a home-grown strategy devised by economically and financially uncreative leaders; a leadership that is not oriented to nation-building but blinded by a characteristic Third World dependency syndrome.

That is why the current themes being pushed down the throats of our poor people are, ‘no mining, no referendum’ and ‘no mining, no independence’.

It is clear to me that both the ABG and PNGL are campaigning for the re-opening of the mine.

I enquired of Mr Rogers why themes as ‘no mining, no referendum’ and ‘no mining, no independence’ were being promoted with BCL funding.

His response was simply:

“BCL hopes to come soon to Panguna and start delivering our own messages. Just letting mediation and MOU [memorandum of understanding] processes run their course first.”

So anxiety is being generated in the hearts and minds of the Bougainville people that the Bougainville referendum needs the Panguna mine and, if people vote ‘yes’ to independence that ‘yes’ will come to fruition only with the re-opening of Panguna mine.

This is the clear strategy of the Autonomous Bougainville Government and Panguna New Generation Leaders.

For us who live in and around Panguna, the ‘no mining, no referendum’ theme is unfounded. The referendum scheduled for 2019 will happen with or without mining in Panguna. It has been legislated for in the laws of PNG and Bougainville.

The fear triggered by ‘no mining, no independence’ is politically shortsighted.

If we vote for independence without a mine at Panguna and the result is upheld by PNG, our ‘yes’ will nullify all existing PNG laws that exploit the revenue we should be earning from our cocoa, copra, seaweed, sea cucumbers, alluvial gold and many other revenue sources.

These represent millions of dollars’ worth of income we never receive under the PNG state apparatus and their value measured against our population is more than the mine could generate after BCL and the PNG government get their shares.

Thus the callous activity of promoting the re-opening of the mine is a campaign and not an awareness program to educate the ordinary people of the Panguna, Bana and Kieta who have lost our land, jungle, rivers and more; and are considered by state and corporate interests as nobodies.

Let ABG, PNGL and BCL also tell us what they are doing to respect our Bougainvillean customs and traditional practices and what they will do to honour our lost relatives and property.

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Madagascar Farmers Confront Canadian Junior Mining Company

The owner of this land asked DNI not to use his land but the company ignored his request and has continued to exploit his property.

Mine Watch Canada | 12 September, 2017

Farmers from Vohitsara in eastern Madagascar are demanding that DNI Metals Inc. cease operations on their land and compensate them for damage to their lands, crops, trees, and fish ponds that the company has acknowledged destroying without their consent and fair compensation.

Malagasy civil society organisations and media reports have confirmed that DNI Metals has undertaken drilling and trenching on the villagers’ land – in some cases without their agreement, while other farmers have signed agreements that provide vague and inadequate commitments from the company and do not meet basic standards of fairness.

The company had begun to undertake an inventory of damages jointly with Vohitsara villagers in July, but it was never completed. The company had previously done its own inventory, without the presence of the landowners or independent observers.

Villagers have also reported having been intimidated and harassed by DNI employees and by government officials when they sought to stop the unauthorized operations and to get fair compensation for damages they have suffered. On September 7, 2017, three villagers who had denounced DNI Metals’ activities and refused to sign agreements with the company were placed under house arrest by police (gendarmes), only to be released without charges on September 10.

“We are very concerned by these arrests, as well as reports that gendarmes are preventing local people from entering their own farms, where DNI Metals is actively working without permission,” said MiningWatch Canada spokesperson Jamie Kneen.

DNI Metals denies all of the alleged abuses and irregularities, and maintains that it has been exemplary in its corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts.

“DNI Metals claims that it is adhering to the highest CSR standards. We are therefore calling on the company to keep its word and refrain from going onto people’s land without their permission, and to pay fair compensation for any damages,” said Kneen. “The company should not be operating without the appropriate agreements with landowners.”

Malagasy media have also reported that despite the company’s claims to have an exploitation permit, the Malagasy Ministry of Mines and Petroleum has confirmed that it only has an exploration permit. At the same time, Malagasy organisations, including Solidarité des Intervenants sur le Foncier/Sehatra lombonana ho an’ny Fananantany (SIF), report that the National Office of Environment has denied issuing an environmental authorisation for DNI Metals. Meanwhile, local people say they were not consulted regarding environmental and social impacts prior to the initiation of exploration activities.

While there are no legal requirements for Canadian corporations’ international operations under Canadian law, other than the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, Canada is party to a number of international instruments and conventions in respect of business and human rights, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the standard of Free, Prior, Informed Consent.

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Papuan landowners in PNG to receive first LNG project royalties of K15m

Boera village in Central province landowners from the PNG LNG Project to receive royalties. Video: EMTV News

Meriba Tulo in Boera village | Asia Pacific Report | September 13, 2017

After more than three years and 200 shipments, landowners of Boera village in Papua New Guinea’s Central province have became the first beneficiaries from the PNG LNG Project to receive royalties.

This followed the release of royalty benefits for PNG LNG Petroleum Processing Facility Licence 2 (PPFL2) area landowners to the Mineral Resources Development Company (MRDC) from the Department of Petroleum and Energy, Department of Finance, and the Central Bank.

Royalty payments for the four villages of Boera, Papa, Porebada and Rearea are in line with the Ministerial Determination number G692, 2015, which will see 83 clans receive a share of K15.6 million (NZ$6.7 million).

According to the Oil and Gas Act 1998, only 40 percent is to be paid as cash disbursement to landowners, with the remaining 60 percent to be set aside in two trusts – the Future Generation Trust Fund (FGTF) and Community Investment Trust Fund (CITF).

Royalty Payment Allocation:
1. Cash Payment to Landowners: K6,250,701.00
2. Community Investment Trust Fund: K4,688,026.00
3. Future Generation Trust Fund: K4,688,026.00

From the K6,250,701.00 cash allocation, this is further broken up according to the following:
1. Rearea Village: K1,746,946.00
2. Papa Village: K1,746,946.00
3. Boera Village: K1,352,027.00
4. Porebada Village: K1,154,755.00
5. Others: K250,028.00

Meriba Tulo is a senior reporter and presenter and currently anchors Resource PNG as well as EMTV’s daily National News. EMTV News items are republished by Asia Pacific Report with permission.

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K15M For LNG Plant Site Landowners Delayed Again

Melissa Yafoi | Post Courier | September 7, 2017

Highlands landowners from the LNG resource site yesterday stopped the K15 million payment for their coastal counterparts.

And their actions are likely to cause a shutdown at the plant site in Port Moresby as a result.

They insisted no payments be made until their own houses were put in order including the clan vetting process and other outstanding payment commitments made by the O’Neill government over the years were honoured.

They said failure to pay them will result in their shutting down of the project from the upstream end.

Their action is likely to result in the same threat from the coastal provinces who have resolved their outstanding clan ownership issues and only awaiting the first K15 million payment.

The Central landowners were about to be paid the amount having fulfilled all the legal requirements until yesterday when a demand for stop payment was made to the government through the Department of Petroleum and Energy.

The LNG site landowners insistence were despite court actions and disputes and the outstanding clan vetting process on ownership of the land which the project is located delaying their payments.

All monies owed to them are banked in trust accounts including those from Central Province.

In the ransom-like situation newly appointed Petroleum and Energy Minister Fabian Pok was caught off guard lamely saying he was new to the job and needed more time to understand the outstanding issues.

This is despite the Government’s previous hard line stance in paying landowners that resolve their landownership issues ahead of those pending in courts, the mediation process and other resolution arbitration.

Departmental Deputy Secretary Kepsey Puiye and Mineral Resources Development Company Limited external affairs general manager Imbi Tangune also succumbed to the demands saying it was sensitive and payment would not be made to the Central landowners.

Mr Puiye said the K15 million will be paid to the plant site land owners once the minister gives his approval.

He said of the amount 60 per cent will be kept by MRDC as per the Oil and Gas Act under section 176 and only 40 per cent will be paid for immediate investment.

“This is one of the very important projects that will have a profound effect on the economy of the country that is why it is important that the minister needs to appreciate all the issues for the upstream.

“Because the upstream holds the pipeline and that is important so the minister is also very cautious of the implications it will have on the upstream landowners because projects such as this is fundamentally important so he is saying let me look at the issues first.

“The plant site landowners need to appreciate that once the upstream is not alright then we are going to destroy the project,” he said.

Mr Tangune added: “I’m actually very sensitive to the minister’s need to ensure that he understands the issues surrounding payments for the plant site, licence areas and the pipelines so when he is actually comfortable he will give us the timeline for us to make that payment.

“We’ve done everything and the money is with us and we have done everything to pay the money to the land owners.

We ask our landowners to be patient because money is coming, it’s not an issue of its not, it’s an issue of when and I think we have done everything possible to give money to landowners whatever they are entitled to.”

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2017 Bougainville Chocolate Festival

Post Courier | September 6, 2017

The 2017 Bougainville Chocolate Festival has officially begun. The Autonomous Bougainville Government Minister for Primary Industries, Marine Resources and Forestry Nicholas Darku and Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner Bronte Moules launched the two-day festival with a colourful and delicious ceremony in Arawa.

The event brings together cocoa farmers, chocolatiers, industry representatives and government officials to network and discuss market access, share improved farming and processing techniques. As well as sample the delicious chocolate made from Bougainville’s finest beans.

Minister Darku speaking at the opening ceremony said the festival is a culmination of efforts by the Bougainville Government and its stakeholders to revitalise the cocoa industry in Bougainville.

“The cocoa industry has significant and immediate growth potential for Bougainville. That’s why it makes sense to focus on rebuilding the industry to improve livelihoods of our people and at the same time, grow the economy,” Minister Darku said.

Ms Moules in her remarks commended the Autonomous Bougainville Government for its proactive efforts to boost the cocoa sector in Bougainville.

“We know that money from cocoa brings better health and education and more opportunities for Bougainvilleans. That’s why the Papua New Guinea-Australia Partnership, together with New Zealand, is working in Bougainville to help develop the cocoa value chain.

“Our partnership is working to improve the business environment and market access, increase production and quality and ultimately, put more money in the pockets of Bougainvillean farmers,” Ms Moules said.

The chocolate competition will again be a highlight at the festival this year. Farmers from throughout Bougainville have sent samples of their cocoa to Paradise Foods’ Queen Emma Chocolate Factory to be made into chocolate. A panel of local and international judges will then sample the chocolate before making a final decision on medal winners.

The Festival is an initiative of the Autonomous Bougainville Government led by the Department of Primary Industries in partnership with the Governments of Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand.

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