Tag Archives: ABG

BCL Working Closely With ABG

Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) Has Been Engaged In Planning And Implementing Agreed-Upon Activities In Bougainville Since 2012, BCL Chairman Rob Burns Said This Week.

Post Courier | May 12, 2017

Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) has been engaged in planning and implementing agreed-upon activities in Bougainville since 2012, BCL chairman Rob Burns said this week.

Mr Burns said in a statement this had been at the invitation of the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the nine landowner associations involved in discussions on the future of the Panguna resource.

“BCL meets routinely with the ABG and the landowning associations to review these plans and agree on further activities,” he said.

He reiterated his statement at the recent annual general meeting on April 27, outlining some of the progress regarding the Panguna project that had been achieved with the support of Panguna landowners and other stakeholders.

Mr Burns said this in relation to an article in Post-Courier on May 3 in which a landowner group claimed that BCL wanted to get easy access to the Panguna mine.

“BCL is now a predominately locally owned company with landowners at the core of its operations,” he said, adding that the Panguna project had the support of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Bougainville president John Momis.

Mr Burns noted that one interest group from the Panguna area recently petitioned the ABG to cancel BCL’s exploration rights.

“This group purports to represent all Panguna landowners, and questions the ABG and national government support for BCL.

“As noted by president Momis in his interview with Radio New Zealand last week, the group has a separate commitment to an Australian resource company, which is in pursuit of mineral rights at Panguna, of which BCL has been granted tenure.”

Much of the public discourse in the media regarding resource development at Panguna must be viewed in terms of competing commercial interest in Panguna’s mineral rights.

He said that differing views on the future of the Panguna project, especially from the customary landowners, should be respected.

However, when those views do not reflect the broad support from landowners, these views are being driven by personal ambition at the expense of customary landowners and the economic security of Bougainville.

“There is still much work to do to strengthen alignment between stakeholders on the range of issues affecting project progress.

“BCL will continue to engage with the landowning groups at Panguna who have continuously provided support in finding a pathway through the many issues that confront us  all.”

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Bishop Bernard Unabali Condemns Bougainville Mining Rush

Bernard Unabali | 9 May 2017

Today I was invited to attend the ABG “launching of [the] mining Industry”, [which heralds the] formal opening up for exploration licenses, and application, on this formerly “closed up” issue.

So now Isina in Kongara II Jaba tailing area, and Mt Tore in Tinputz can be formerly accepted in their application for exploration licenses.

Reasons [highlighted by the ABG]:

  • Progress
  • Independence
  • Church support
  • Monetary self-reliance
  • Spin off [benefits]
  • New people based mining; and
  • A system fed up with Panguna alone

Only [as] a footnote [was] responsibility for environment damages mentioned. No one starkly mentioned that in reality Laluai, Eorun, Rawa, Wakunai, Aita, Raruma, and many other rivers will be gone especially if [an] incapacitated ABG and Mining Department pretend to safeguard us from highly experienced foreign evaders of truth, and of whom some are just serial environmental rapists.

We must accept that intending the good [of mining], we have also celebrated our future social, physical and even spiritual graveyard !! The church fought [against] a unjust, wrong, foreigner, CRA, in the past. I hope sadly the church will not [have to now] fight the wrong guys in our own people evading law and truth for the sake of money, with pretentious leaders of ‘landowner groups’, if [these] licenses evolve into actual mining [leases] later?

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Bougainville People Against Mining: New Petition

SIGN THE PETITION

A new petition on the Avaaz Community Advocacy website is targeting the Autonomous Bougainville Government with a no mining message.

The Petition says mining is the cause of conflict on Bougainville in which some 20,000 Bougainvilleans perished. It is not needed by the people of Bougainville as much as it is by mining companies who care little for the people in their effort to make a profit. Therefore no mining company should be allowed back on the island.

SIGN THE PETITION

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Bougainville Copper moving to reopen controversial Panguna mine with Government backing

Reopening the Panguna mine could give the Bougainville Government a much-desired source of revenue claims the ABG. (AAP Image: Ilya Gridneff, file)

Eric Tlozek | ABC News | 4 May 2017

The company which used to the run the controversial Panguna copper mine on the island of Bougainville is now trying to reopen it with the support of the island’s Government.

It has been almost three decades since Panguna was abandoned, after anger about the mine led to the outbreak of an armed insurgency known as the “Bougainville crisis”.

Now the Bougainville Government believes it needs the mine to reopen, so the region can have a source of revenue that could enable it to become independent from Papua New Guinea.

The bid by the Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) to reopen its Panguna mine is stronger than one might expect, given the mine led to an armed insurgency and its abandonment left central Bougainville with many environmental problems.

But this time it will be quite different and the landowners will be brought along on the journey.

BCL secretary Mark Hitchcock said restarting the mine would allow the company to address some of the environmental and social problems it left behind.

“We did have to leave in a hurry and things were not closed down the way that a normal mine would close,” Mr Hitchcock said.

“When we go back, we’ll be conducting our baseline studies to see what the situation is and we will, as the mine progresses, progressively work on some of those environmental issues.

“But with the people, the mine will only work if we involve them all the way along.”

BCL was owned by Rio Tinto, but the mining giant gave its shareholding to the PNG Government and to the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the entity created as part of the Bougainville Peace Agreement to end the crisis.

The PNG Government said it would then give its shareholding to unspecified landowners in Bougainville, creating uncertainty about who the company must deal with and leaving the Bougainville Government without a controlling stake.

Mr Hitchcock said that has created another problem to be resolved.

“The ABG and the landowners are a little bit concerned about who the actual owners are, after Prime Minister O’Neill said that he was going to gift them to the people of Bougainville and the landowner,” he said.

“So that’s one of the issues we need to sort out. “

The controversial Panguna mine was one of the richest copper mines in the world. (ABC News, file photo)

The PNG and Bougainville Governments have just agreed to create a Joint Steering Committee to resolve this and other issues.

BCL executive chairman Rob Burns said that was a major step forward.

“So we’ve got commitment in that respect that all parties are going to work together and it’s terrific news for BCL,” Mr Burns said.

BCL was stripped of its mining tenements and left with just an exploration licence, but it still has all the resource data for the site.

Other companies have expressed an interest in mining Panguna, but the Bougainville Government is giving preference to BCL because it owns part of the company.

Raymond Masono, Bougainville’s Deputy President and Mining Minister, said “BCL is not longer the devil that we know”.

“We actually own this devil as a major shareholder in the company,” he said.

“Also, BCL under the Bougainville Mining Act has the first right of refusal to Panguna.”

BCL return expected to face opposition

The main reason the Autonomous Bougainville Government is supporting a resumption of mining is revenue.

There will be a referendum in 2019 on whether the region should become fully independent of Papua New Guinea, and the Bougainville Government believes a mine is the best way to guarantee income for a new country.

“We believe that Panguna can bankroll Bougainville’s autonomy and independence if the people so decide in the 2019 referendum,” Mr Masono said.

The Bougainville Government, headed by President John Momis, believes most landowners support reopening the mine.

The Bougainville Government says most landowners support the resumption of mining, but other residents may be less convinced.

A United Nations Development Program report in 2014 found there was no evidence of majority support for reopening the mine amongst the general population.

There are also some organised groups who oppose BCL’s return.

Mr Burns said the company was aware of “active detractors”.

“We believe that they’re a very minor group and the most vocal of that group have competing interests in our Panguna mineral rights and they aren’t truly representative of landowners,” he said.

The push to reopen Panguna is part of a broader move by the Bougainville Government to lift its moratorium on mining in general.

BCL’s attempt will surely be watched by companies and investors to see how well the damage of the Bougainville crisis has healed.

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Momis: Bougainville cannot be held back by one group

Radio New Zealand | 3 May 2017

The government in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville says it will consider a petition from a landowning group opposed to Bougainville Copper Ltd returning to the long closed Panguna mine.

The Osikiang Special Mining Lease landowners handed a petition with about 500 signatures to President John Momis’s office last Friday.

They said, as the owners of the site of Panguna, they would never allow BCL to return, because the company had not done anything about the destruction it had caused.

Mr Momis said they would consider the petition but one group cannot hold up Bougainville’s economic development.

“Well they keep changing their position. One time they want the mine to go ahead and another time they – but we will accept their petition and then see it in the totality of things because, you know, we can’t be held back by just one group of people, although they are the owners of the mine site currently.”

The Osikiang Landowners have a separate commitment with an Australian mining conglomerate, RTG, to develop Panguna.

Bougainville Copper Ltd, or BCL, is now controlled by the Bougainville and Papua New Guinea governments, after its multi national owner worked [sic] away, handing its shares to the two governments.

President Momis has said whether Panguna ever re-opens is up in the air, but his government has now opened up mining explorations in other parts of Bougainville

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Mineral-Rich Area of Papua New Guinea Lifts Decades-Old Ban on New Mining

Satellite imagery of the Panguna Mine located in the autonomous region of Bougainville on July 20, 2015. The Panguna mine has one of the worlds largest copper reserves but has been closed since 1989 due to conflict. (USGS/NASA Landsat/Orbital Horizon Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Reuters | Fortune International | May 1. 2017

A mineral-rich region of Papua New Guinea has lifted a 40-year-old ban on new mining and exploration, opening the way for iron ore and copper operations.

The autonomous Bogainville region has a troubled history over resource development, with a bloody secessionist conflict erupting in the late 1980s stoked by dissatisfaction in how benefits from the Panguna copper mine were distributed.

Global mining giant Rio Tinto Ltd said last year that it would relinquish ownership of Panguna, closed for around 25 years.

The lifting of the ban allows for applications to mine in the iron ore rich areas of Tore, Isina and Jaba, but does not include Panguna, one of the largest copper mines in the world, Bougainville president John Momis said in a statement on Sunday.

He added that scrapping the ban would ensure the area’s economic development, with the government seeking applications from genuine investors.

“I look forward to the development of long term economic partnerships to allow Bougainville to fulfill the economic potential she rightly deserves,” Momis said.

The moratorium on exploration and mining had been in place since 1971 – with the exception of Panguna – due to local concerns over revenue-sharing and the impact on the environment.

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This could be worse than Panguna – Tinputz LOs warning over illegal Australian miner

With the lifting of the moratorium on mining, Bougainville is now being targeted by a number of foreign companies seeking access to the region’s mineral deposits.

Geology of Bougainville showing the exploration area between dashed lines.

While landowning communities are eager to prevent a repeat of Panguna, evidence is emerging that the ABG lacks the capacity to negotiate with foreign investors, or competently regulate the sector.

Making matters worse, the ABG has rejected advise by its own contracted experts on alternative livelihood strategies, and is currently placing the lion-share of its focus on opening multiple mines around Bougainville.

Jubilee Australia has warned that the new Mining Act (2015) allows the government to circumvent landowner consent requirements, by setting up pro-mining ‘landowner associations’ in the regions concerned, who can rubber stamp agreements on behalf of all landowners.

The new epicentre of the resource rights struggle is Tinputz. And in echoes of yesteryear, it is an Australian mining company, Kalia Holdings Pty Ltd, which is targeting copper and gold in the Tinputz district, through its Papua New Guinea subsidiary, Kalia Investment Limited.

According to an ASX announcement, Kalia Investment Limited has signed a ‘binding Deed of Agreement with Toremana Resources Limited [a private, limited liability vehicle] that provides for a joint venture with Kilia holding 75% and Toremana 25% free carry through to production’.

Yet according to Investment Promotion Authority records, this Australian firm, Kalia Investments, has not acquired foreign certification which is required under the Investment Promotion Act 1992. Therefore, it cannot legally enter contracts or conduct business on Bougainville.

We are also told, Kalia’s partners, ‘Toremana is an approved landowner organisation under the Bougainville Mining Act 2015, comprised of seven local clans that represent customary landowners in an area of approximately 1,800 square Km’.

In a media release, published here for the first time, the latter claim is rejected by Tinputz landowners – who warn the district is on a Panguna style collision course. This media release is reproduced in full, below.

PRESS RELEASE

The Mutaha land owners of Tinputz have strongly denounced the claim by Kalia Holding of having 75% stake on the Tore project as stated in the media recently. Mr. Francis Ruama, chairman and spokesman representing Mutaha landowners opposed to mining in Tinputz also condemns Toremana, an incorporated land group which has been discussing exploration options at Tinputz with Kalia Holding. Mr. Ruama says that Toremana does not represent the landowners where Tore project covers, he further states that the people of Tinputz should focus more on peace building to resolve outstanding Bougainville conflict related issues before venturing into other options other than agriculture. He is afraid the idea of exploration or mining might trigger a worst crisis than what took place relating to mining in Panguna.

Land is an asset that the people of Bougainville strongly hold dearly as birth right and cannot be given away like any fruit; as such people will always fight to protect it. People will not allow any mining option that will trigger another crisis since PNG and Australia are yet to finds ways to rehabilitate these traumatic citizens of Bougainville being traumatized by the Bougainville crisis.

Mr. Ruama claims Kalia Holding does not hold 75% stake on the Tore Project as the principle landowners have never discussed exploration or mining with Kalia Holding.

“Since when did agents representing Kalia Holding discuss exploration or sign any agreement with us? I represent those of us inland where the Tore project site is located and we have never seen or met representatives of Kalia Holding or people representing Toremana”.

Mr. Ruama said the proposed option on exploration is deem to fail since the majority of the landowners strongly oppose the idea of exploration or mining in north Bougainville, with strong opposition coming from the Mutaha Clan who are the principle landowners of which the Tore Project area is located. He said Junior GB Energy [a Kalia Holding partner] should not waste good money on ideas that are not feasible and viable.

Mr. Ruama says there are matters of importance that ABG needs to address properly rather than create new ones. One of those is to settle all outstanding cases which could have developed from the Bougainville conflict. Mr Ruama said his clansmen and women have unanimously agreed that any conflict related case must be financed by ABG from revenue generated from the Panguna mine and not from any other mine on Bougainville. 

Local politicians from North Bougainville should focus on the peace process and not support any venture that has the potential of igniting another conflict that may lead to more devastation than the previous crisis. The Bougainville conflict was a political agenda which triggered a war between PNG and Bougainvilleans, though it started off as a mining issue. Any unrest relating to land on Bougainville can be devastating for those directly involved and ABG. Tinputz can be Bougainvilles’ hub if agriculture is supported as soil is rich, so why talk about mining? Mr. Ruama is concerned that the local politicians do not have the people in their hearts and are going about supporting ideas that do not promote peace but have the potential of creating a conflict amongst the landowners.

The spokesman for Mutaha clan asked that ABG as the regulator of mining in Bougainville should intervene on this issue and not stand back and let foreigners deal directly with land owners. The post conflict Bougainville provides an environment that promotes bad business deals and attracts bad business partners that make very bad business deals. He is also asking that the Department of Lands and Conservation quickly develop the long overdue Bougainville Land Act as it might provide directions on land matters especially on customary land in relations to mining and other developments.

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