Tag Archives: ABG

BCL determined not to take no for an answer!

Firm set to intensify community engagement

The National aka The Loggers Times | July 18, 2017

Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) is set to intensify its community engagement activities as part of a comprehensive, staged development plan for a new Panguna mining project.

BCL chairman Rob Burns said a genuine commitment to stakeholder engagement underpinned the development plan and the company was putting in place resources and personnel to step up its on-the-ground activities in Bougainville over the coming months.

“We understand that building trust and widespread support among all relevant parties, as well as the people of Bougainville, is essential if the aim of renewing mining at Panguna is to be realised,” Burns said in a statement on the company’s website.

“By working collaboratively with all groups, we have every confidence that outstanding issues can be resolved and the necessary benchmarks can be met for the project to advance.”

BCL noted recent comments by a third-party company, RTG Mining Inc, that it had been nominated by one of nine landowner associations as a development partner in a Panguna project.

Burns said it was important to stress that BCL’s first right to develop the Panguna tenement was clear and unambiguous under the Bougainville Mining Act 2015.

He also noted RTG’s pledge to “fully respect” this right.

“There can be no doubt that we are committed to exercising our right through the implementation of our development plan, which has the full backing of the Autonomous Bougainville Government and broad endorsement among the landowner associations,” he said.

Burns said it was unfortunate that there was some dispute over the leadership of one of the nine landowner associations and Bougainville Copper Limited was hopeful of a lasting resolution of the issue and would continue to work with landowners.

“We know there are people with different views, but equally, we are encouraged by the levels of support we have received to date and will work hard to further build our relationships,” Burns said.

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Global mining major needed to re-open Bougainville’s Panguna copper mine?

 Kevin McQuillan | Business Advantage | 18 July 2017

Moves to re-open the Panguna copper mine on Bougainville are gathering momentum. Funding the re-opening is a key concern, however, says Bougainville President, John Momis. Could one of the global mining majors get involved?

Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL) is currently advertising for a local Bougainville-based manager, and are looking at the payment of K14 million in rent and compensation that was owed to the 812 customary clan groups who own the blocks of land within the mining lease areas.

Autonomous Bougainville Government President John Momis tells Business Advantage PNG, that over the next year, he expects BCL to open an office and ‘start dealing with some of the legacy issues, demonstrating BCL’s commitment, in a just and fair way, to some of the real issues that have been bothering the land owners.’

That includes, he says, the ecological, environmental, and health damage issues caused by former owner, Rio Tinto.

‘They have walked away, so now BCL has to address that.’

Momis says the Joint Steering Committee preparing for the mine’s re-opening consists of representatives from the nine official landowner groups, BCL, the national government, and the ABG, and is to be chaired by an independent chairman.

Funding

A key challenge is the cost of reopening the mine; back in 2012, BCL estimated it would be US$5 billion.

‘BCL has to demonstrate to us they have ability to solicit funds and attract a developer and I’m sure they are thinking about this,’ says Momis, pointing out that under Bougainville’s 2014 Mining Act, BCL has first right of refusal about re-opening the mine.

‘The Panguna mine is a “high-risk, high-return” investment.’

‘We are giving BCL the opportunity to get funds and to meet the conditions as per the mining law. If they fail, then other companies will have to apply and be put through this process.’

High-risk, high-return

Mining industry analysts describe the Panguna mine as a ‘high-risk, high-return’ investment, which only global miners would be interested in.

Greg Evans, KPMG’s Perth-based Global Leader, Mining Mergers and Acquisitions, believes there will be considerable interest.

‘If you look at what the resource is, and what it can deliver to both an owner and investor—and, probably more importantly, the local economy—it would have to be a definitive “yes”.

‘The copper price is heading in the right direction, the supply metrics are working in the favour of copper broadly and I would expect that BCL are being approached reasonably regularly by a number of metals traders.’

Evans points to growing demand for copper, noting that batteries in electric vehicles are likely to use 927,000 tonnes of copper a year by 2030, according to forecasts by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That alone equates with 5 per cent of current production.

Global

Evans believes a global miner, ‘like Glencore or similar’, is likely to become involved.

‘KPMG just completed a survey around transaction activity across a bunch of sectors. In the mining sector, the preference of the majors was particularly for joint ventures at the asset level.

‘Batteries in electric vehicles are likely to use 927,000 tonnes of copper a year by 2030.’

‘To me, that would be the form that a transaction would likely take. BCL would ensure the social licence to operate, and look after stakeholder management, political and administrative management on the ground, with perhaps a partner coming in providing financial and operational support.

‘So, it is likely to be a large industry player used to dealing in remote locations, eliciting strong local community engagement, and creating local employment as an obligation and priority. All those things are going to be required.’

Risks

Satish Chand, Professor of Finance at the University of New South Wales and based at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra, says risk assessment will be crucial.

‘There has been a history of conflict where a very small number within the population has the ability to stop a very large mine. That risk remains.

‘There is a contest over the distribution of proceeds and that has not yet been settled to my understanding. There is little that is known about the magnitude of the cost involved in the clean up.’

Chand notes that the Bougainville Mining Act says 51 per cent of the mine must be locally-owned. The non-binding referendum on Bougainville’s independence from PNG scheduled for 2019 must also be considered a ‘risk’.

Greg Evans agrees the local shareholding requirement makes the financing prospect ‘more challenging’.

‘The biggest successes that the majors have had in countries such as Africa and South America, have been where they’ve engaged local communities, shared the profits, and shared the benefits. The control over how those profits flow and are allocated is equally the challenge—as it is the solution.

‘You’ve always got to come back to the quality of the resource; which will always make it attractive.’

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Association in standoff with BCL

The National aka The Loggers Times | 14 July, 2017

THE Special Mine Lease Osikaiyang Landowners’ Association of the Panguna mine in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville continues to refuse to engage with the Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL).

Association chairman Philip Miriori said they disagreed with the public statements made by the company recently.

“Interestingly, they also suggested they have every confidence that the outstanding issues can be resolved, and yet, they have never met with the owners of the minerals, the Special Mine Lease Osikaiyang Landowners’ Association, to negotiate and engage in a discussion with regard to their desire to benefit from, and more particularly, develop our minerals,” Miriori said.

“Further, BCL in its public statements places significant reliance on the reference to the other landowner groups. This is misleading because we are the only landowner association that owns the minerals.

“Accordingly, we are the only landowner association that can consent to access for the grant of an exploration licence. Without our consent, nothing will happen.

“We firmly believe all Bougainvilleans must benefit from the Panguna mine this time around. But at this stage, given we own the minerals, our consent is the only critical hurdle. And to date, they continue to ignore our wishes and treat us disrespectfully.”

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Bougainville SML proposes mediated talks on Panguna

Radio New Zealand | 5 July 2017

A Bougainville landowner group wants to reach a compromise with the autonomous government over re-opening the Panguna mine.

The government in the Papua New Guinea region wants to bring back Bougainville Copper Ltd to run the mine, but the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association, which owns the site, has teamed up with another miner, RTG.

SEE ALSO: Renzie Duncan and Philip Miriori team up in another illegal Bougainville venture

The mine re-opening is viewed as critical to Bougainville achieving some fiscal self reliance ahead of a vote on independence in June 2019 [COMMENT : this is nonsense – it would be at least a decade before any money would flow to the government, even if the billions needed could be found to rebuild the mine]

An abandoned building at Panguna mine site in Bougainville Photo: supplied

The chair of the SMLOLA, Philip Miriori, said they were proposing talks with the ABG to sort the matter out.

He said they would like to bring in a mediator.

“We have this timeframe, a very important timeframe for a referendum, 2019 – we need mediation because he will make sure we find a fair solution for SML [Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association], for ABG and for the rest of Bougainville. So you know there will be a win – win situation,” said Phillip Miriori.

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EX COMBATANTS SUPPORT PANGUNA WOMEN

Bougainville Revolutionary Army fighters look down on the Panguna mine in 1996

Aloysius Laukai | New Dawn | 30 June 2017

South Bougainville Ex combatants yesterday supported the actions made by Panguna women to block the ABG team from meeting with landowners to sign a MOU to open the closed PANGUNA COPPER MINE.

Chairman of the South Bougainville Ex-combatants Association, DAVID KONGKORI told New Dawn FM that the issue needs proper consultation between all stakeholders and not just the PANGUNA landowners.

He said that the issue could create division and must not be allowed to proceed with one part of the community against it.

MR. KONGKORI said that the ex-combatants view is that the ABG must not push for the re-opening when underlying issues that started the conflict are yet to be addressed.

He said that the GOVERNMENT must not think about how much in Kina they can get out of Panguna but also look at the reconciliation issues that are still outstanding between the PANGUNA landowners themselves.

MR. KONGKORI said Panguna people are still divided with different factions still operating like the MEKAMUI UNITY GOVERNMENT and the MEKAMUI Original government just to name a few.

He said all the people of Bougainville who died fighting for PANGUNA must not be forgotten in any new deals.
MR. KONGKORI said that as fighters of war, we don’t want to fight for the same thing again.

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Dark Times for Bougainville – John Momis makes Donald Trump look competent

Bougainville govt’s forthright support for BCL at Panguna

Tobias | July 1, 2017

If you didn’t laugh, you would cry.

President Momis: ‘BCL has the first right of refusal. If we didn’t give it to them and set a time frame within which to source funding then BCL might take us to court and thus delay the opening of the Panguna Mine.’

Don Wiseman: Hang on mate, you evidently own BCL, you cant sue yourself.

President Momis: ‘Well we may now control BCL but the original agreement, concocted in Australia by the colonial government and Rio Tinto’.

So what the Colonial Government will be resurrected, via a time portal, and will join forces with Rio Tinto to sue.

This is the man who is going to oversee the referendum.

Lord Save Us!

John Momis continues: ‘a dollar invested in mining produces three dollars in other associated industries’.

LOL this is actually the opposite of what happens, in a mining dependent economy. Has the good President heard of the Dutch Disease, hint its nothing to do with the Netherlands.

Then this: ‘If nothing happens then the whole of Bougainville will not benefit but the worst losers will be the landowners themselves’.

Yes horror. If the ABG and a few non landowner associations are unable to push their agenda on the majority actual landowners, the latter will be able to enjoy their land, environment and sovereignty. Who knows their children may even have a future. Clear losing.

Dark times, with this captain at the helm – makes Donald Trump look competent.

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Bougainville govt’s forthright support for BCL at Panguna

President of the autonomous Bougainville government, John Momis. Photo: RNZI

Dateline Pacific | Radio New Zealand | 30 June, 2017

The Bougainville Government says it won’t give way to a landowner group that says it will not allow Bougainville Copper Ltd, or BCL, to return to the troubled Panguna mine.

The autonomous government wants the mine re-opened to boost the economy ahead of the vote on independence from Papua New Guinea set for 2019.

But the chairman of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association, Philip Miriori, is adamant they will not allow BCL to return, though they are keen to see the mine opened, using an Australian company they have aligned with, called RTG.

However Bougainville President John Momis says the government is not about to let a company with no track record mine at Panguna.  

JOHN MOMIS: RTG doesn’t have any money. The RTG representative in fact, a fellow by the name of Renzie Duncan has Philip Miriori and a few of his cobbers on his payroll and their intention is to get the support of the landowners and the ABG and as a speculator go and find a developer. RTG itself as a company does not have the money.

DON WISEMAN: BCL doesn’t have any money either does it?

JM: BCL doesn’t have any money but BCL has the data. BCL has the first right of refusal. If we didn’t give it to them and set a time frame within which to source funding then BCL might take us to court and thus delay the opening of the Panguna Mine. If they fail to secure the necessary funds then we have the liberty to invite anyone else. But we can’t just give it to somebody, a company that has no standing, no track record, such as RTG. 

DW: Well I don’t think that is true. RTG has run mines. The thing with BCL and whether they are going to take Bougainville to court, well, that is not going to happen, is it, since Bougainville is effectively controlling BCL now?

JM: Well we may now control BCL but the original agreement, concocted in Australia by the colonial government and Rio Tinto.

DW: But they are not in the picture any more are they?

JM: They are not in the picture but the agreement itself is still valid.

DW: Is not the critical thing and you have told me this on a number of occasions. The critical thing is that you get the mine operating as soon as possible – the quickest way of doing that would be to accede to the demands of the landowner group that lives or owns the land right at the Panguna mine site?

JM: Philip Miriori’s SML landowners is just one out of nine landowner groups. Eight out of nine support ABG and BCL to open the mine, because ABG has shares in the mine. Although the amount of money is not much but ABG as we have been telling people Rio Tinto is no longer the devil we knew. Now the devil we own as such will be operating under our law. Eight out of the nine landowners support ABG.

DW: Yet you has an attempt to sign this memorandum of agreement the Friday before last and it was unsuccessful. Raymond Masono [Vice President of Bougainville] said last week he was going to give those people two weeks to sort themselves out – his words – but they seem very adamant so do you think you can bridge the gap here?

JM: Well the ABG has told the landowners the onus is on you to sort yourselves out to reach an agreement and we are giving them two weeks. And we know for a fact that most of the landowners are in support – it is just Philip Miriori and his group who are on the payroll of Renzie Duncan. This could be interpreted as bribery as you know.

DW: Well they might say the same in a way. The thing is I guess, they end up being the pivotal landowner group, or that seems to be the way they see it.

JM: If the eight go against the SML landowners [Miriori’s group] nothing will happen. If nothing happens then the whole of Bougainville will not benefit but the worst losers will be the landowners themselves. The ABG as the government has the perspective of making sure that we get the best interests of all the people, all the landowners, as well as all Bougainville. Whereas the SML people are just looking at their own selfish, legal interest and they are causing trouble. But we are not going to allow this to keep happening this way because it is time people put aside their selfish interests and worked for the common good of the people of Bougainville, which the government represents.

DW: Well their comeback to that is going to be that as landowners they control, as per the Mining Law, they control what is beneath the surface.

JM: That’s right but the ABG is also a major stake holder and without ABG’s approval nothing happens.

DW: The ABG has talked about mining in other areas. Have you gone any further with that?

JM: I am not sure what the Department of Mining is doing, but as you know they applied for exploration licences and they given and now I guess it is up to the companies which applied to find the funds which are necessary to carry out the exploration.

DW: Do you know whether there is outside interest in doing that?

JM: Toremana – a Western Australian company is interested there with the landowners in the Tinputz area, not far from Buka. But the other one is Isina, that is Sam Kauona and his people and they have been granted the exploration licence and I presume they’re working to either find partners or find the money themselves to do the exploration.

DW: So in terms of resolving these issues and getting a viable economy, or getting things starting to happen over the next couple of years, how confident are you at this point?

JM: Well I think everybody knows that fiscal self-reliance is one of the most important benchmarks that will be taken into account after the outcome of the referendum – by the national government, by the UN and the international community and I think people know that, so they are working hard now to ensure that we reach a consensus to open the mine. Apart from other, agricultural and fisheries businesses, believe that the Panguna mine is probably the best, quickest way of generating revenue because a dollar invested in mining produces three dollars in other associated industries – that’s agriculture or other businesses.      

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