Tag Archives: Axel Sturm

Why redevelop Panguna’s mine now? It can be banked

Paul Flanagan | PNG Attitude | 12 January 2018

Are we sure, as Axel Sturm asserts in PNG Attitude, that “one thing is for sure: Without revenues from the Panguna mine under the leadership of BCL that is owned by the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the independence of  the island will remain a sweet dream.”

Separate to the BCL versus RTG issue there is a more fundamental assumption. Why is a mine essential for independence?

Bougainville’s agricultural prospects are reasonably strong. It has some of the best agriculture land in Papua New Guinea.

Its cocoa and copra plantations were extremely productive prior to ‘the troubles’. Tourist potential would appear significant if law and order issues are contained. Its waters would link into fishing revenues under the Nauru Agreement.

Bougainville’s estimated population of around 300,000 is larger than many other Pacific island nations – about half Solomon Islands, slightly larger than Vanuatu, New Caledonia and French Polynesia, and significantly larger than Samoa.

These countries get by with a form of independence without a mine.

Experience also is that mining can lead to ‘resource curse’ issues that may manifest greatly in Bougainville as Panguna could represent a major share of measured GDP.

I’m not saying there shouldn’t be a mine, just asking why it is “essential”?

This is an assumption that needs to be examined closely. Using the figures quoted by Mr Sturm, even if 320 of 367 customary heads are in favour of a particular course of development, that still leaves 47 with issues. And the issues may not come only from the customary heads.

The Panguna mine riches are not going to disappear. Is it better that they are left in the ground for another generation until there is an absolutely unambiguous consensus that they should be developed?

This would simply be banking the resource at this stage.

And it may allow the people of Bougainville to consider more inclusive forms of development and governance as it considers the June 2019 referendum on its political future.


Filed under Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Rio Tinto lobby group claims ‘bloodythirsty’ BRA must be tried for their crimes

Responding to the Bougainville Health Minister’s call for more help to be given to those traumatised by the conflict, Rio Tinto Lobby group European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper claims BRA combatants must be brought to justice [see below]. Turning the tables on those critics who suggest Rio Tinto should be tried for war crimes, the ESBC has suggested ‘bloodthirsty’ Bougainvillean warlords are to blame…

Those traumatised by Bougainville civil war need help, says Minister
The health minister of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, says mental health specialists are needed in the autonomous region to help meet the needs of those still traumatised by the civil war.
Rose Pihei says social disorder in Bougainville is mostly connected to the trauma people went through during the crisis more than a decade ago, but that trauma has never been dealt with and is becoming a generational issue.
The minister says there is very little being done to address the issue, and only one organisation in the whole Bougainville region has the skills to treat mental health issues.
“It’s becoming a real burden on that organisation, and that’s why we will be needing specialist doctors to come in and aid us help, very little attention has been given to the whole region concerning mental health.”
Rose Pihei says she wants trauma and metal health issues to be key issues that both the national government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government work to combat.

ESBC comments: It would be an important step to help traumatised Bougainvilleans if all those bloodthirsty warlords who slaughtered hundreds of peace loving Bougainvilleans during the crises were finally brought to justice. Those former combattants of Me’ekaumui, BRA etc. still terrorise the people of Bougainville. They deliberately boycott the peace process as they refuse to render their weapons as claimed in the weapon disposal program.


Filed under Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Bougainville Copper shareholders cry foul

Axel G. Sturm and Peter R. Taylor having lunch in Singapore.

Axel Sturm and Peter Taylor enjoying lunch in Singapore.

Radio New Zealand

A group of minority shareholders in Bougainville Copper Ltd are crying foul over Bougainville’s new mining law and say they want billions of dollars in compensation.

Under the new law, the autonomous Papua New Guinea province has stripped Bougainville Copper or BCL of its exploration and mining licenses but has given it first right of refusal when negotiations over new licenses get underway.

The president of a group of BCL’s European shareholders Axel Sturm says it is an unfriendly gesture after 25 years of investment in Bougainville.

“I consider this more or less as an attempted blackmail for getting more money from the company. We already invested a lot of money on the island, a lot of that money was lost because unlawful people destroyed our equipment with the value today of around 6 billion US dollars.”

Mr Sturm says the European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper are urging the major shareholder Rio Tinto to take further legal action against not only the Papua New Guinea government and the province but local landowners and former leaders of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army.


Filed under Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

Rats begin fleeing sinking BCL ship

Anyone remotely familiar with the conditions on the ground in Bougainville, as opposed to the fantasy like pronouncements of President John Momis and his merry band of Australian advisers, would know their elaborate campaign (or hoax) to reopen the mine is a castle made of sand … and its sinking into the sea, quickly.

Axel G. Sturm and Peter R. Taylor having lunch in Singapore.

Axel Sturm and Peter Taylor having lunch in Singapore.

No one on the ground supports Rio Tinto/BCL, because we remember what the company did to our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children. Memories of horror don’t leave, no matter how hard people try to exorcise the demons left by rio Tinto/BCL.

So BCL is one big poisoned chalice.  The question is which shareholders are going to be left holding the empty slips of paper when reality sets in. It appears that reality is dawning on many investors and they are leaving BCL, to the cries of ponzi scheme magnate Axel Sturm (President, European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper) – who has been trying to puff up the share price.

Now he is begging for the rats to stay on the sinking ship so they can all plummet to the bottom together. Here is the latest bit of puffery from ESBC and Axel Sturm:

The news on the expected re-opening the Panguna mine by Bougainville Copper are getting more promising, day by day [LOL!! LOL!!]. 

The hysteric yelling from anti-mining activists becomes louder and louder [yes, they are deafening at Panguna!!] and last but not least: backdoor players – once again – are aggressively pulling down BCL’s shareprice to a ridiculous level by selling off huge quantities (up to 500,000 shares and more) at low price. 

These three facts should encourage investors of BCL in buying more shares now [Ponzi scheme!!]. Of course, contradictory public statements, strange political games by local politicians or malicious claims of a local drunkard landowner are confusing investors repeatedly. 

However, the majority of Bougainvilleans are aware that their personal future depends on the re-opening of the Panguna mine by a trustful organisation like Bougainville Copper Limited. And this is supposed to become reality one day – sooner or later.


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Filed under Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Sturm stoops low for latest illogical, self-serving attack on Bougainville people

Silent suicide: Illegal gold miners risk lives in Bougainville

AXEL STURM | European Shareholders in Bougainville Copper | PNG Attitude

THE ISLAND OF BOUGAINVILLE is rich in precious assets and gold especially is in the focus of indigenous people who want to earn money by small scale mining. Unfortunately they are not aware that their new business is highly dangerous and can even be lethal.

Not far to the south, as Radio New Zealand International reports, Transparency Solomon Islands is urging the government to investigate claims that mercury is being used at the gold mine on Guadalcanal.

As in Solomon Islands the use of mercury is also the customary way to separate gold from rock in Bougainville. The gold is then sold to dealers who don’t care that Bougainville’s environment may be damaged for years. They also don’t care that Bougainvilleans may die from severe intoxication.

Such individuals, some of them so-called “former combatants”, are trying to undermine the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s honourable struggle to introduce modern environment-caring mining in Bougainville.

Only a few huge mining companies such as Rio Tinto or BHP Billiton are able to provide such sophisticated high-end technology. Quite obviously this means that money makers in the background will try to protect their dirty business at any price. In brief, they are simply thieves who steal from Mother Earth. And they don’t pay taxes either.


Filed under Papua New Guinea

‘Criminal Terrorist’, ‘Fanatic’ and ‘Mentally Sick’ – BCL’s Largest Shareholder Sprays Bougainvillean Leaders

Winners are grinners, Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) Chairman, Peter Taylor, and the largest individual BCL shareholder, Axel Sturm, recently met at the opulent Goodwood Park Hotel in Singapore to discuss Bougainville’s future.

Axel G. Sturm and Peter R. Taylor having lunch in Singapore.

Axel G. Sturm and Peter R. Taylor having lunch in Singapore.

In recent years Sturm has become a frequent commentator on Bougainville affairs. His knack for insulting sound bites has made him a favourite among journalists. Many of Sturm’s most legendary sprays are launched via the European Shareholders of Bougainville (ESBC) website which he administers. There he has slammed Bougainvillean leaders, writers and filmmakers accusing them of being ‘criminal terrorists’, ‘fanatics’ and ‘mentally sick’. Sturm has also attacked PNG statesmen and decorated foreign commentators who he accuses of being ‘naïve’, ‘delirious’ and dishonest.

Yet far from distancing themselves from Sturm’s inflammatory remarks, BCL it would seem endorses them. In an address published on Sturm’s ESBC website, Peter Taylor writes:

“As chairman of Bougainville Copper I am restricted in what I can say due to corporations’ laws. You do not have the same restrictions. Your analysis of the situation on Bougainville is appreciated” (ESBC Website, May 2011).

Here is a selection of Sturm’s “appreciated” analysis, which BCL’s Chairman travels several thousand miles to hear:

On Remembering the Bougainville Conflict

Bougainville writer Leonard Fong Roka has written numerous touching stories on the Bougainville war including one about his father’s tragic murder. This is the advice given to Roka by Sturm:

“Dear Leonard, the Bougainville Crisis was a nasty experience – for sure! But I believe that the Second World War was even worse for Bougainvilleans. Certainly one must not forget what happened and one has to learn from mistakes. But touching old wounds regularly is not helpful at all for healing” (PNG Attitude, 3/11/2012).

On BCL Liability for War Crimes and Environmental Damage

Sturm has denied BCL’s liability:

“We shareholders – as I understand, Rio Tinto, also, is a major shareholder – we are OK to invest another US$5 billion into the mine [on which they will make a large profit – PNG Mine Watch]. And I think that is more than enough compensation for a situation that was not caused by Bougainville Copper” (Radio New Zealand, 16/7/13).

He has also seems to suggest BCL was the victim:

“The mine was closed nearly 20 years ago mainly due to the secessionist conflict in which BCL was made responsible. Therefore, we believe that it would be a friendly sign of the Bougainvillean landowners to invite BCL to come back to work on the island” (Post Courier 8/5/2008).

On the Grand Chief, Sir Michael Somare

“I consider him as a poor, delirious old man who is more and more out of his mind” (ESBC Press Release, 26/6/2011).

On Critics of Rio Tinto

Sam Kauona – Former Commander of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army

“Sam Kauona is one of the alleged murderers of the so called Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA)! He is on the pay-roll of foreign notorious backdoor players! Most of his life he spent as a hardened criminal terrorist by intimidating, robbing and also presumably killing innocent Bougainvillean citizens” (ESBC Website, 27/2/2013).

Clive Porabou – Bougainvillean Environmentalist and filmmaker

Sturm accuses Porabou of being a “fanatic”. He claims: “Clive Porabou – mislead and remote-controlled by anarchic left-wing ecologist groups in London (UK) and Australia – still continues spreading lies and jealousy in the internet and on the ground” (ESBC Press Release, 5/4/2011).

In a further exchange Sturm accused Porabou of being mentally ill:

“Parabou: In this regard, the closing down of Panguna Mine involved blood and the loss of lives of twenty thousand fighters, innocent children, men and women from the Southern tip to the Northern isles of Mekamui/Bougainville.

Sturm:   You know very well that only approximately 1200 people were killed by unrest on Bougainville. The others died because of lack of medicines and normal death in that period. … Stop to publish all that bullshit now or are you mentally sick??” (see ESBC Website, 20/10/2011)

Lawrence Daveona – Chairman of the Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Association

Sturm on Daveona in 2008: “When I met him in May in Port Moresby, I had been deeply impressed by Lawrence Daveona. He is the ideal mediator in this sensitive issue. He has our confidence and our full support as well. Earlier than others Lawrence understood that the only way of bringing enduring peace and prosperity to the island of Bougainville means first of all getting all parties concerned together” (ESBC Website, 7/7/2008).

Sturm on Daveona in 2013: “It is true that for many years the ESBC supported Mr. Daveona’s efforts to resume mining by BCL. Unfortunately I had to stop funding Mr. Daveona because of his increasing inappropriate behaviour towards Bougainville’s President, Dr. John Momis and myself. Sadly there was no more sustainable cooperation possible for the benefit of Bougainvilleans. Today, quite obviously, Mr. Daveona follows his very own agenda and private interest which is proved by his recent statements. He does not have any regard for the people of Bougainville or even the Panguna landowner’s future” (Mine Watch PNG, 29/6/2013).

Dr Kristian Lasslett – Lecturer in Criminology, University of Ulster

Dr Lasslett’s research uncovered evidence confirming Rio Tinto’s infamous role in the Bougainville conflict. Sturm claimed: “It’s really shameful if an expert in criminology completely ignores facts and reality. Your naive adoption of statements and claims from rebel groups on the ground disqualify you as an honest scientist [Dr Lasslett’s claims are based on statements made by BCL Managers and internal BCL records – PNG Mine Watch] …I suppose your work in Ulster [Northern Ireland], a region well known for rebellion and organised crime, troubled your vision…Unfortunately you are also allowed to spread your ideas among you students. You shall not use your academic position as a platform for indoctrination and agitation” (PNG Attitude, 26/4/2012).

Brian Thomson – Journalist, SBS Australia

Thomson produced a powerful piece on Bougainville’s tragic past, including material on Rio Tinto’s role in the hostilities. Sturm responded: “Thomson’s loud presentation dismantles him as a naive and unprofessional 3rd class journalist” (ESBC Website, 26/6/2011). Thomson has won two Walkley Awards and a UN Peace Prize.

On Bougainville’s Future and Mining

In an interview with the Post Courier Sturm suggests Bougainville could become the next United Arab Emirates or even the Cayman Islands, a notorious tax haven:

“He [Sturm] also said that if the treasure in Bougainville was exploited, Bougainville would become one of the most fascinating places in the Pacific region [its not already ?– PNG Mine Watch]. Mr Sturm said Bougainville could be compared to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where it was just an ordinary country before oil was found but today was the most prosperous nation in the world. He said if Bougainville considered venturing into mining activities, revenue earned from this industry would be used to fund other sectors such as tourism which would also benefit the whole region. Mr Sturm said the UAE was the wealthiest region and the money gave the Arabs the liberty to cultivate their ancient traditions [note tradition is alive and well on Bougainville – PNG Mine Watch]. Also, in far future Bougainville might become a fiscal paradise like Cayman Islands, Bahamas or other situated next door to the emerging markets of Asia, he said”. (Post Courier, 6/5/2006)


Filed under Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

White men decide the future of Panguna in ritzy Singapore club


European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper 

Singapore's former German Club, the prestigious Goodwood Park Hotel on Scotts Road

Singapore’s former German Club, the prestigious Goodwood Park Hotel on Scotts Road

Peter R. Taylor, Chairman of Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) met ESBC Presdent Axel G. Sturm on Tuesday in Singapore’s former German Club, the prestigious Goodwood Park Hotel on Scotts Road.

Taylor flew in from Sydney on inivtation of Mr. Sturm to exchange in-depth information and new ideas on re-opening the Panguna mine.

Axel G. Sturm and Peter R. Taylor having lunch in Singapore.

Axel G. Sturm and Peter R. Taylor having lunch in Singapore. 

Taylor confirmed that “we (BCL) are on track with our plans”: Newly installed General Manager Project Development, Brad Stone will assist our Managing Director Paul Coleman who actually undergoes health treatment in Australia. Taylor describes Stone as well experienced: He started amongst others in Panguna and he is a specialist in Papua New Guinea business. He is supposed to maintain and improve BCL’s good and promising contact to the ABG and PNG governmental institutions.

Axel G. Sturm thanked Peter Taylor for his commitment to come to Singapore and to improve relations with the European Shareholders.


Filed under Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

Bougainville landowner leader, Lawrence Daveona a Double-Agent?


In June PNGexposed published bank reconciliation statements revealing that Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Association leader, Lawrence Daveona, was taking money from Rio Tinto lobbyist, Axel Sturm.

When we published the story the Daveona family denied the allegations and threatened to sue the author. Threats galore were tossed about.

And why would the Daveona’s beat their chests with such fury you ask? Because there was more to the story than even we imagined. Hats off to PNG Industry News who managed to get the full story from Axel Sturm, the man himself.

Sturm admits:

‘Daveona might have received a total of 4000 euros ($A5710) over various payments and in exchange, ESBC received “some information” that was more difficult to gain access to at the time’.

Hang on a minute – so Daveona was actually supplying the enemy, Rio Tinto, with intelligence on landowner communities, using his inside access, so that their subsidiary, BCL, could be position themselves to get the best deal possible during mine negotiations.

Wow! Were this war time Daveona would be what we would call a Double-Agent.

No wonder the Daveonas reacted so violently when we broke the story – we blew Lawrence’s cover.

We wonder what the landowners think about their own leader allegedly being a double-agent for Rio Tinto?

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Bougainville Landowner Leader Beds with Chinese Multinational

As the old saying goes, there are two certainties in life, death and taxes. We can now add a third, Lawrence Daveona’s terrible judgement.

Over the last few years the struggling Chairman of the Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Association (PMALA), has got into bed with a veritable rogue’s gallery of spivs and multinational predators – all this, we are told, is done by Lawrence to help Bougainvillean landowners … what does Daveona do to those he wants to hurt!

On PNGExposed bank reconciliation statements revealed that Daveona accepted money from Rio Tinto lobbyist Axel Sturm.

Based in a foreign tax haven, the German born Sturm is the largest individual shareholder at Bougainville Copper Limited. Daveona – the man mandated to defend landowning communities – felt there was no conflict of interest, taking money from a lobbyist with a huge stake in the company getting the best deal possible from landowners.

And what did Daveona do for Sturm – PNG Industry News reports: “[Sturm] told PNGIndustryNews that Daveona might have received a total of 4000 euros ($A5710) over various payments and in exchange, ESBC received ‘some information’ that was more difficult to gain access to at the time’. In short Daveona was acting as a double-agent – providing the enemy with difficult to access information on landowning communities. A conflict of interest here? Daveona says no!

Indeed, Daveona told PNG Exposed he worked at the Ombudsman Commission, HE KNOWS what a conflict of interest is, and these payments were entirely legitimate. Were we to doubt his authority on this matter, several lines later Daveona emphatically answers allegations of corruption – made when he worked as a Parliamentary Deputy Clerk – by admitting, yes he supplied police with “grog, 2 laptops and a new Vehicle with fuel” in return for conducting a fraud investigation … whats wrong with that?! Ah lets see what the national court says.

In the end – surprise surprise – Sturm and Daveona fell out. Sturm told PNG Mine Watch

“It is true that for many years the ESBC supported Mr. Daveona’s efforts to resume mining by BCL. Unfortunately I had to stop funding Mr. Daveona because of his increasing inappropriate behaviour towards Bougainville’s President, Dr. John Momis and myself [sic]. Sadly there was no more sustainable cooperation possible for the benefit of Bougainvilleans. Today, quite obviously, Mr. Daveona follows his very own agenda and private interest which is proved by his recent statements. He does not have any regard for the people of Bougainville or even the Panguna landowner’s future”.

Poor Lawrence.

But not to be outdone it appears Daveona has found an even more dubious outfit to wed landowning communities to – whether they like it or not – the Chinese multinational China Great Wall Industry Corporation (GWIC). According to the Post-Courier, Daveona has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with GWIC. According to reports on Facebook Daveona and his executive colleagues were pissed – “[they were] drunk all night through to day break, at the meeting with the Chinese and the MP for Central Bougainville, a few rough ones misbehaved at the Lynchar guesthouse, paid from the public purse by the MP for Central Bougainville”.

Foreign carpetbaggers getting the locals drunk so they sign contracts, that puts the neo back in colonial.

And GWIC has a very colourful past – some of its achievements include breaking UN sanctions on Iran, and engaging in espionage in the US.

Even Prime Minister O’Neil worked out something was not quite right with these guys when they came sniffing at his door. The Australian writes: “O’Neill’s request for a review [of a MOU signed by his Minister with GWIC] follows concerns raised in the US congress and a corruption case in Singapore”.

But what does O’Neill know, Daveona is a much more cunning character!

The Post-Courier tells us that GWIC has been anxiously waiting ten years to come to Bougainville and help the people; they just couldn’t wait any longer! Because that, of course, is what multinationals do, wait around, thinking up ways to help people.

And what exactly is it that this charitable multinational weapons manufacturer wants to do on Bougainville – make profit you ask? No no no, they have come to help teach Bougainvilleans ‘world class’ techniques for mine waste disposal.

This is quite a change in occupation; who would have thought that when not engaged in espionage, sanction-breaking and missile manufacturing that GWIC would go around the world helping indigenous landowners protect their environments.

On the Bougainville Forum a few misguided individuals have suggested – god forbid – that perhaps this Chinese player is planning to buy Rio Tinto out.

What evidence do these cranks have?

Ahh GWIC do it regularly in other countries, ahh China is a growing industrial power hungry as hell for resources, ahhh China has earmarked PNG as a country ripe for looting – i.e it has corrupt leaders, a toothless media, and a demoralised, divided population, just perfect!

But what do we know – Daveona no doubt has a cunning plan! For a century big-money and multinationals have gone around the world looting and pillaging, not once has anyone brought them to heal through superior commercial acumen – which is not to say indigenous people have not successfully employed other means. But that’s because they have never before come up against Lawrence Daveona – the man who wines and dines with Axel Sturm, plies beer to police and allegedly signs MOUs after a night out on the grog with his colleagues.

Watch out China, watch out Rio Tinto, Daveona has your number and is about to squeeze you so mercilessly that your billions of dollars showers upon the people of Bougainville; soon the multinationals will leave Bougainville rueing the day they crossed swords with Lawrence Daveona!! And shortly after flying pigs will do a military style salute overhead.


Filed under Corruption, Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

Mining shareholders dismiss Panguna compensation suggestions

Radio New Zealand

As a possible re-opening of the Panguna copper and gold mine in the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville looms one vested interest group is signalling its not happy with talk of compensation being sought.

At a series of fora around the province the Autonomous Bougainville Government has been explaining its mining legislation and seeking the reaction of Bougainvilleans to a re-opening of the mine, which 25 years ago sparked the civil war.

A re-start of the mine is considered vital for sparking the moribund Bougainville economy, especially as it counts down to a vote on possible independence, likely within three years.

There is significant support for a re-opening but with provisos that compensation be paid and rehabilitation undertaken.

The president John Momis says these issues have already been broached with the company, Bougainville Copper Ltd, whose executives will not be surprised by the conditions.

The head of a group representing minority shareholders, Axel Sturm from the European Shareholders of BCL, says they support a relaunched mining company building roads and hospitals but dismiss suggestions it should pay compensation. He spoke to Don Wiseman.

AXEL STURM: We shareholders – as I understand, Rio Tinto, also, is a major shareholder – we are OK to invest another US$5 billion into the mine. And I think that is more than enough compensation for a situation that was not caused by Bougainville Copper.

DON WISEMAN: Whatever has happened has happened. The condition that the people of Bougainville are putting on it is that there is compensation paid before you move to Stage 2, which might be the reconstruction. So my question is whether you would support that, and you sound to me like you’re not happy with that idea.

AS: No, I’m not happy with the idea to give recompensation in the form of money. Rebuilding former structures – that is clear that we would back that – but we would not back to give the Bougainvilleans money so they go away to Australia or elsewhere in the world and spend the money there, instead of staying on the island and working for the future of the island.

DW: That would be your condition? If they got compensation money it would have to be spent on Bougainville?

AS: No, compensation money [would be] in the form of investment on Bougainville. That may be hospitals, schools, roads or whatever, but not in the form of money to single persons who then go away from Bougainville. That we will not back. We are backing everything which is for the benefit of Bougainville, but not for the benefit of single persons on Bougainville. And it’s always the same situation in the past, that single persons try to get advantage, and others – poorer people – stay poor. That’s a problem.

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