Seabed mining petition goes to select committee in NZ

Heta Gardiner | Maori Television | 22 June 2017

The issue to place a moratorium on seabed mining has once again made it to Parliament.

Local Government and Environment Select Committee were presented with a message from KASM (Kiwis Against Seabed Mining) to put a halt on seabed mining in New Zealand waters until a better understanding of the risks and impacts are provided.

Phil McCabe from KASM says, “There is a bunch of stuff out there that we have the opportunity to turn into money. And I get that, I see the attraction, I’m a business person myself. The question is whether we have the knowledge or the ability to do that, to extract that material in a safe and responsible way. We don’t have that knowledge now to do that safely.”

In September last year, Mr. McCabe lead a petition calling for a moratorium on all seabed mining which was later presented to Parliament. McCabe also said to the Select Committee today,

“The financial benefits of seabed mining may not be as vast as speculated.”

Rino Tirikatene from Labour was in Select Committee and agreed that a more cautious approach should be taken.

“We just need to ‘taihoa’ and do some proper research, and not put all the pressure on the communities to fight against all these corporate interests,” saysTirikatene.  

However, Nuk Korako of National says that a moratorium might not be the best solution.

“Do we need a moratorium on this? Taking into account, there has been a really robust system in place, and when you look at all those applications, actually most of them have been turned down,” says Korako. 

The Select Committee will be looking into Phil McCabe’s submission over the next week. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, New Zealand

Women in Porgera impacted with violence

Grace Auka Salmang | Post Courier | June 22, 2017

Family Sexual Violence is one of the most critical issues that women in the extractive area of Porgera are faced with.

Chair of Family Sexual Violence Action Committee (FSVAC) of Enga  and  founder of Voice for Enga Women Association Everlyne Sap revealed this when speaking on the sub theme: Leadership, gender equality and women empowerment for equitable service in extractive resource areas: Porgera in Enga Province at the Consultative Implementation & Monitoring Council (CIMC) National Development Forum yesterday at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Port Moresby.

According to Ms Sap, Porgera is a district of about 65,000 people and 50 percent of women about half of the population are impacted by mining activities just like in any other extractive resource areas in PNG.

“Of the many direct and indirect issues related to mining, Family Sexual Violence or Gender Based Violence is one major issue affects the lives of women and families at different degrees.

Leave a comment

Filed under Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Panguna mine protesters “not landowners”

Sebastian Hakalits | Post Courier | 22 June, 2017 

The Vice President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government Raymond Masono has expressed disgust at the action of those calling themselves hardliners that recently prevented the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).

The signing scheduled for June 16 2017 was to be done between the ABG and the Panguna Mine Affected Landowners (PMAL) and other stakeholders to the Panguna Mine.

Mr Masono said the signing would have started the process of removing impediments to reopening the Panguna Mine but the ABG team was prevented from travelling to Panguna for the signing by the group opposed to the reopening of the mine and Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL’s) return to redevelop the mine.

He said Bougainville is probably one of a few places in this country where individuals or groups disagreeing with a particular government policy can stop a legitimate government from carrying out its mandated duties for the common good of its citizens.

Mr Masono said this does not auger well for good governance, the rule of law and respect for lawful authority, that are important benchmarks in the ratification outcome of the referendum by the national government and the international community who are watching our every actions.

“What kind of signal are we sending to the United Nations and the rest of the international community with regards to Bougainville’s unity prior to the conduct of the referendum, as well as ratification by PNG and the support of the UN and the international community of the outcome,” Mr Masono asked.

The Vice President said it must also be understood that those opposed to the reopening of Panguna and the return of BCL are not landowners.

1 Comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Bougainville protestors given two weeks for re-think

Radio New Zealand | 20 June, 2017

The government in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville says it has given people opposed to a possible re-opening of the Panguna copper mine two weeks to re-think their opposition.

This comes after what Vice President Raymond Masono said was a few dozen people who last Friday blocked access roads for a government delegation wanting to sign a memorandum of agreement with Panguna landowners at Panguna in Central Bougainville.

The government says re-opening the mine, which was at the heart of the Bougainville civil war, is critical to the province developing some economic viability ahead of an independence vote in June 2019.

Mr Masono said the night before, government officials spent hours explaining to the protesters the importance of re-opening Panguna.

But he said Friday’s cancellation of the MOA signing was just a temporary setback.

“When they are ready, they will come to the ABG, (Autonomous Bougainville Government), and then we will organise for the signing ceremony for the MOA,” Mr Masono said.

“We consider this non-signing of the MOA as a temporary setback.”

The protesters, mostly women, said they are opposed to any discussion on a Panguna re-opening before the independence vote.

They also say they are adamantly opposed to Bougainville Copper Ltd, which used to run Panguna, having anything to do with a new operation.

BCL used to be majority owned by Rio Tinto but last year the multi national walked away from the mine and the associated demands for compensation and rehabilitation, giving its shares to the Bougainville and PNG Governments.

1 Comment

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

Central Bougainville Women’s Group Against Mining

A group of Central Bougainville protested against the proposed Memorandum of Agreement signing on Wednesday June 14.

The women said they raised their concerns as they are the custodians of their land pass through their matrilineal lineage.

They were supported by the youth, men and children who protested against the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) saying they do not want the Bougainville Copper Limited come back to Panguna.

They carried placards and banners with some reading: “Women Own The Land”, “Do Not Dig My Land,” “BCL Not Welcomed in Panguna”, “Don’t create Another Bloodshed,”.

The march ended at the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association office, where they voiced their grievance to the former Chairman, Lawrence Daveona and his executives.

Panguna landowner, Bernadine Gemel Kama said, they have voiced their concerns to Mr Daveona, claiming they will sign the agreement which lacked their consent of women who are culturally the true landowners.

She also said the Panguna issue will cause division among the people of Bougainville because this mine has caused bloodshed of reeking war and destruction, with many lives lost during the civil war.

She said the Panguna Mine reopening, was an issue, in the interest for only a minority of people especially men, labelling it as which is a dangerous move by the Autonomous Bougainville Government, which a second crisis should not happen again.

And the message was clear, no mining, no BCL. And they are against the signing saying it must not proceed this Friday.

Leave a comment

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

PNG EITI report gives lie to mining propoganda

Ignorant politicians and the foreign mining companies who feed them love to tell us how dependent Papua New Guinea is on large-scale mining and petroleum extraction.

The 2014 EITI Report gives the lie to those claims.

EITI finds petroleum and mining contributed only 12.7% of government revenues in 2014 and a measly 2.5 – 10% of formal sector jobs.

PNG LNG employs less than 2,000 local workers, in contrast, there are 80,000 small-scale miners working in the informal sector with little or no government support!

PNGEITI Releases Findings For 2014 Report

Post Courier | June 19, 2017

THE petroleum and mining sector contributed 12.7 percent of government revenue in 2014 compared with 7.5 percent in 2013.

This is according to the PNG Extractive Industry Initiative Transparency Initiative (PNGEITI) 2014 Report, released this year

The report states this increase correlated with the commencement of the PNG LNG project.

It states the total value of mineral exports from PNG mines for 2014 was K17, 522.5 million comprising 84.18 percent of total export value.

It noted the government’s attempts through policy intervention to manage such fluctuations, as in the case of the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) and promoting investment in the non-extractive sector of the economy.

In stark contrast to the total export value the industry represents, the extractive industry provides limited direct employment, with estimates running from 2.5 percent to 10 percent of PNG’s formal workforce.

“However, it directly supports a significant proportion of employment across the economy. During the construction, the PNG LNG Project provided up to 21,200 jobs (in 2012), while in operations, it employs around 2, 400 workers (as at December 2015), 75 percent of whom were PNG citizens” the report stated.

“There are also up to 80,000 small-scale miners, largely working outside the formal economy” it said.

Head of the PNGEITI Lucas Alkan said for the first time in this country, “we have published a comprehensive and detailed report covering the extractive sector, and they provide a reliable source of information for public use”.

“We are already working on the next two reports based on 2015 and 2015 financial years and these will be published in December,” he said.

Leave a comment

Filed under Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

Bougianville Chiefs prevent ABG from signing deal

Chiefs, mothers and daughters at the roadblock

PNG Loop | June 18, 2017

On Friday, women from the ‘Seven Sisters’ areas of Bougainville put up a strong roadblock at the Morgan Junction leading up to the Panguna Mine site.

This was where the proposed signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was to be held between the Autonomous Bougainville Government and so-called Panguna landowners. The deal would see Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) return to reopen the Panguna Mine.

The impenetrable roadblock was led by women chief from the ‘seven sisters’ areas in Central Bougainville.

The mothers, together with their daughters, youths, ex-combatants and Bougainville Hardliners, set up the roadblock, which started on Thursday night throughout Friday; refusing to move for passing vehicles or negotiating team.

Their message was simple: ‘No BCL, No Mining’.

Woman chief from Guava Village, Maggie Mirau Nombo, and Chief from Arawa and Pirurari, Kavatai Baria, said their land is their Mother, who provides their everyday needs and no one is allowed to exploit her.

Chief Maggie, who is a former primary school teacher, said how can those wanting to sign the MOA conduct such an act of injustice?

She said this will never happen again because they have suffered enough from all the injustice that has been brought on by BCL when it was in operation.

She said God has heard the cry of the Bougainville women, and justice will prevail.

“As long as I am the Chief from Panguna and Guava Village and owner of my land, BCL is not welcome. This is the Company that has killed our sons and daughters. ABG has to stop ignoring the cries of the women and take note that BCL is never allowed to come back to Panguna, and this is final and it is not negotiable,” she said. 

Chief Kavatai also reminded everyone that ‘when God closes a door, no one can open it, and if God opens a door, no one can close it’. Panguna Mine was closed by God and if anyone was trying to reopen the Mine when it wasn’t God’s timing, then they better watch out because they are fighting against a big God.

Because of the strong opposition by the women, youths and Bougainville Hardliners, the high powered ABG delegation, led by President John Momis, returned to Buka on Friday afternoon without signing the MOA.

Leave a comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Mine construction, Papua New Guinea