Tag Archives: Bougainville

Meetings to determine Panguna’s future

Cedric Patjole | PNG Loop | November 11, 2017

Two meetings have been identified as key events that may determine the timeline to rebuild the Panguna Mine in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

According to Business Advantage, Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) chairman, Rob Burns, says the meetings, to be held in November and December, include a mediation as well as a wardens’ hearing.

The first meeting on November 23 and 24 is the third round of mediation talks to settle a dispute over the chairmanship of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (SMLOLA).

SMLOLA is one of the nine landowner associations in the project area.

A dissident landowner, Philip Miriori, is at the centre of the dispute, along with his cousin Lawrence Daveona, who both lay claim to the chairmanship.

The second event on December 11 and 12 is the wardens’ hearings on the five-year renewal of the mining exploration lease, currently held by BCL.

Under the Bougainville Mining Act 2015, the Autonomous Bougainville Government needs to hold wardens’ hearings as part of the process for a five-year renewal of the lease, before recommendations then go to the Minister.

“I’m optimistic it will be renewed. The landowners have agreed because they want a better life and see this as the way forward,” says Burns.

The timeline for building the mine is estimated to cost K12 to K18 billion, and could take up to 10 years.

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Filed under Exploration, Financial returns, Mine construction, Papua New Guinea

Key meetings to determine timeline for rebuilding Bougainville’s Panguna copper mine

The abandoned Panguna copper mine. Credit: Sydney Morning Herald

‘The landowners have agreed because they want a better life and see this as the way forward.’

True or False?

 Kevin McQuillan | Business Advantage | 8 Nov 2017

Two key events before year’s end are likely to decide the timeline for the rebuilding of the Panguna copper mine on Bougainville Island. The Chairman of Bougainville Copper Limited, Rob Burns, tells Business Advantage PNG two board appointments are part of the company’s strategic development.

The appointment of Bougainvillean and mining specialist, Mel Togolo, and OK Tedi Mining’s Managing Director, Peter Graham, to the board of Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL) last month reflects the company’s desire for more Bougainville representation, and the need for strategic management expertise, according to BCL Chair, Rob Burns.

‘We’ve been talking to the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and are been keen to get Bougainville representation—so first and foremost that was our number one priority,’ Burns tells Business Advantage PNG.

‘We’d like to make more appointments and get greater representation from the Bougainville side.

‘We also wanted to bolster our project development capabilities.

‘Peter Graham’s knowledge of project development and project management is second to none in PNG.’

Lease extension

Two key events this month and next will determine the timeline for rebuilding the mine, which is estimated to cost US$4–6 billion, and could take up to 10 years.

The first is a third round of mediation talks on 23–24 November aimed at settling a dispute over the chairmanship of one of the nine landowner associations in the project area: the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (SMLOLA).

A dissident landowner, Philip Miriori is at the centre of the dispute, along with his cousin Lawrence Daveona. They both lay claim to the chairmanship.

The second event is wardens’ hearings on 11–12 December about the five-year renewal of the mining exploration lease, which is currently held by BCL. Under the Bougainville Mining Act 2015, the ABG needs to hold wardens’ hearings as part of the process for a five-year renewal of the lease. The wardens’ recommendation then goes to the Minister.

‘I’m optimistic it will be renewed. The landowners have agreed because they want a better life and see this as the way forward.’

Mediation

Burns expects there will be fresh elections for the executive positions of the SMLOLA after this month’s mediation talks.

Miriori’s group opposes the involvement of BCL in the rebuilding and operation of the Panguna mine.

The group is backed by a small Perth-based company, RTG Mining.

‘Things are progressing but not as quickly as we would like, and not as quickly as the Bougainville people would like, with the court mediation process to settle the landowner dispute still to run its course,’ says Burns.

‘We want to get on with it, but we are respectful of the need to get landowner and community understanding of what the operation will look like and get their input into how it’s designed and what features it will have.

‘BCL has project knowledge and the intellectual property.’

‘If we get all that right to start with it’s going to make it a far more efficient and effective development process. We believe we’ve got good support.

‘We don’t want some individuals and other consortia continuing to thwart us so we’ll entertain anything. But there’s a thing called trust in all this and until they demonstrate they can be trusted you can’t have a relationship—a sustainable one.’

Burns is sceptical about the role of RTG Mining (which has not yet responded to Business Advantage PNG’s requests for an interview).

‘They’ve got their story and they’ve made representation to Philip Miriori and a presentation to the ABG.

‘That’s been rejected by the ABG, so I believe this is part of their business plan—to eke their way into the redevelopment of the Panguna mine.’

Intellectual property

Burns says he believes BCL are ‘the rightful developers and have the community support to carry the development of the project.’

He argues that BCL has project knowledge and owns the intellectual property, which includes the geological database, where the ore is located and where the waste is.

‘If another party comes in, they’d have to commence a massive drilling program to ascertain basic details.’

Costings

Once the landowner dispute is settled and the lease is determined, Burns says BCL will work on getting more accurate assessments of capital requirements and operating costs.

BCL has US$50 million in liquid assets to do the social, technical, environmental and regulatory studies needed to prove the viability of the mine. That would lead to a full feasibility study, which might cost US$150 million.

‘There are people approaching us all the time about getting involved and how we might undertake that financing for the feasibility study, and for the major construction and rebuild that would follow.

‘We have a clean sheet of paper and that’s why I’m leaning on people like Peter Graham to assist us with strategic thinking.’

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Panguna LOs still against BCL

Meredith Kuusa | PNG Loop | October 27, 2017

The chairman of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowner Association has expressed annoyance by the recent Shareholder Release by Bougainville Copper Limited.

Phillip Miriori says BCL is profoundly misleading and shows complete disrespect for the facts, the SMLOLA and the views of many of its members who are standing up for their rights and say, “No to BCL Forever”.

He said the SMLOLA petition against the return of BCL now represents around 2,000 members and continues to increase.

“BCL’s ex Rio management has refused to meet with the Board of the SMLOLA or its chairman,” claims Miriori.

“That does not qualify as ‘respectful community engagement programs’.

“They have not stepped foot in Panguna in over 28 years yet they say, they continue to make progress on implementing our staged development plan for a new Panguna.”

Miriori gave a number of reasons why BCL was not welcome on Bougainville.

“It is just another clear example of the continuing colonial arrogance of BCL and the disrespectful treatment of landowners, with the constant attempt by BCL to mislead and misinform.

“They have not changed,” said Miriori.

Miriori recollected the following:

  • President Momis himself under ffiadavit has stood up for his people and said BCL caused the civil war that led to the death of around 20,000 of our fellow Bougainvilleans;
  • We were treated as irrelevant in the past and that is continuing, calling us an “impediment” they will simply go around – we, the SMLOLA, now own the minerals and have the ultimate say on who will redevelop Panguna;
  • BCL was the mining permit holder all those years ago, and it was under their operation that we were left with this horrific environmental damage which President Momis himself has suggested caused billions of dollars of destruction. To this day, BCL has not taken responsibility for or compensated us in any manner – not one kina.

On Monday, Bougainville Copper Limited announced the appointments of Mel Togolo and Peter Graham to BCL’s board of directors.

BCL chairman Robert Burns said the company was delighted that both gentlemen had agreed to join the board given the extensive experience and unique perspectives each would bring during an important period of development for the company.

“Mel and Peter are highly regarded in PNG and have intimate knowledge of the resources industry both here and abroad which they have gained through what can only be described as long and distinguished careers,” Burns said.

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Large-scale Mines and Local Politics: Between New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea

Download the chapters in PDF format

  1. Large-Scale Mines and Local‑Level Politics (PDF, 0.2MB) – Colin Filer and Pierre-Yves Le Meur 
  2. From Anticipation to Practice: Social and Economic Management of a Nickel Plant’s Establishment in New Caledonia’s North Province (PDF, 0.8MB) – Jean-Michel Sourisseau, Sonia Grochain and David Poithily 
  3. Social and Environmental Transformations in the Neighbourhood of a Nickel Mining Project: A Case Study from Northern New Caledonia (PDF, 1.7MB) – Matthias Kowasch 
  4. The Boakaine Mine in New Caledonia: A Local Development Issue? (PDF, 0.1MB) – Christine Demmer 
  5. Conflict and Agreement: The Politics of Nickel in Thio, New Caledonia (PDF, 0.1MB) – Pierre-Yves Le Meur 
  6. Contesting the Goro Nickel Mining Project, New Caledonia: Indigenous Rights, Sustainable Development and the Land Issue (PDF, 0.2MB) – Claire Levacher 
  7. Dissecting Corporate Community Development in the Large-Scale Melanesian Mining Sector (PDF, 0.4MB) – Glenn Banks, Dora Kuir-Ayius, David Kombako and Bill F. Sagir 
  8. Negotiating Community Support for Closure or Continuation of the Ok Tedi Mine in Papua New Guinea (PDF, 0.3MB) – Colin Filer and Phillipa Jenkins 
  9. Disconnected Development Worlds: Responsibility towards Local Communities in Papua New Guinea (PDF, 0.3MB) – John Burton and Joyce Onguglo 
  10. Gender Mainstreaming and Local Politics: Women, Women’s Associations and Mining in Lihir (PDF, 0.1MB) – Susan R. Hemer 
  11. Migrants, Labourers and Landowners at the Lihir Gold Mine, Papua New Guinea (PDF, 1.4MB) – Nicholas A. Bainton 
  12. Bougainville: Origins of the Conflict, and Debating the Future of Large-Scale Mining (PDF, 0.2MB) – Anthony J. Regan 
  13. Between New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea (PDF, 0.1MB) – Colin Filer and Pierre-Yves Le Meur 

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

The People of Bougainville have been Profoundly Misled – Official Records Show Rio Tinto Still Controls BCL

Press Release from Special Mine Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association Inc. (“SMLOLA”)
19 October 2017

  • According to IPA records; Rio Tinto still controls BCL.
  • ABG has no shares in BCL.
  • No Prior Written Consent by ABG.
  • BCL’s registered office is still Rio Tinto’s HQ in Melbourne.

The Chairman of the SMLOLA, Phillip Miriori said today that,

“Rio Tinto advised the Australian Stock Exchange on 30 June 2016, that it had transferred its 53.8% of BCL shares to a trust company for distribution to the governments of PNG and ABG, resulting in each holding 36.4% of BCL – yet they are still listed as the shareholders – what are the real facts here, is Rio actually gone or not? Once again, we are not being given all the facts yet we are being asked to consent tosupport the return of BCL. What does that actually mean, who will our partner actually be if the ABG gets their way?”

“The purported Rio Tinto transfer of 53.8% of BCL shares to the trust company did not have the legally required “prior written consent” from the ABG. In fact, as far as we have been told, the ABG was not informed in advance of the transfer. Certainly, the landowners that now own the minerals were never consulted. Most importantly, have they actually been transferred – is Rio gone or is there just a temporary step to cover up the involvement of Rio later?”

“All Bougainvilleans need to know the truth – is this just a sham? If, as the IPA records show, Rio Tinto still controls BCL with its 53.8% shareholding, we have been profoundly misled”.

“Again, we are being treated as pawns in this game: the old guard from Rio and BCL are still playing against us all and the people of Papua New Guinea. The colonialists’ time is over. They must compensate us for the wrongs of the past and leave gracefully.”

“On top of that, there is not one Bougainvillean on the Board of BCL – it is all PNG. How can this be? There are just too many unanswered questions as to who we are dealing with.”

“We were told that the Rio Chairman of BCL, Peter Taylor, would resign after “he provides services during this transition period”. Why is Taylor still listed as a consultant on BCL’s Presentation for the development of Panguna? Seems that the only answer is Rio Tinto is attempting to run the show while pretending to have left Bougainville and its responsibilities. Rest assured, I will do my best to hold them to account for the irreparable damage done by them and for which they now try to shirk all responsibility”.

“And to top it off, the Australian registered office of BCL remains Rio Tinto’s HQ in Melbourne”.

“I demand the truth finally – how can you try and force BCL on the landowners when there are so many serious questions on who BCL is, who the development partner would be? ”

“How could the ABG expect us to give the mine back to BCL. If the shares in BCL do at some point get transferred to the ABG, PNG or the landowners, how do we then sue them as we will be suing ourselves. If we let this farce continue, we will clearly be giving up our rights to compensation for the past atrocities. I will do my best to never let this happen.”

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Rio Tinto shares in BCL not transferred to either ABG or PNG govt

On 30 June 2016 Rio Tinto announced it had transferred its 53.8 per cent shareholding in Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) to an independent trustee.

But, no share transfer documents appear in the records of the Investment Promotion Authority in Port Moresby and, 16 months after the announcement, Rio Tinto is still listed as holding 214,887,996 or 53.5% of the shares in BCL.

In its original announcement, Rio also said, Equity Trustees Limited would manage the distribution of the shares between the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea (PNG).

According to Rio, under a trust deed, the ABG had the opportunity to receive 68 per cent of Rio Tinto’s shareholding in BCL (being 36.4% of all BCL’s shares) from the independent trustee for no consideration and PNG was entitled to the remaining 32 per cent (equal to 17.4 per cent of BCL’s shares).

Rio also added, under the Trust Deed, should either beneficiary of the trust not apply for the transfer of the BCL shares attributable to them within two months, then those shares will be made available to the other party.

According to IPA records, neither the ABG or PNG government has received any transfer of the shares and neither currently has any shareholding in BCL.

Entity_Extract-BOUGAINVILLE_COPPER_LIMITED-1-1895

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ABG claims of financial independence if mine reopens ridiculed

Nasioi Writer responds to Member for Kokoda, Rodney Osioco’s claims the Bougainville government will be financially self reliant if BCL is allowed to reopen the Panguna mine.

Mr. Osioco I can probably forgive you for being so naive and sentimental. Where and when is this extractive industry madness going to end. Your little baby government cannot even account for funding it gets from National Government which ends up in your private accounts as we are being told. Is this how you are going to manage the millions you get from mining and pay tit bits to the landowners who to this day have never been compensated adequately for loss of everything from environment, rivers, and land which is the source of their livelihood?

We are fed up with ABG preaching that agriculture, tourism is not enough to run the economy of Bougainville. Coming from a government that is wasteful with buying fleets and of cars and staying at expensive hotels, I find this hard to believe.

I wonder how much these politicians carrying out awareness are being paid? Isn’t this work suppose to be given to others to do? Maski giaman nabaut kisim allowance na mekim awareness.

The introduction of mining into our midst is causing so much confusion and division among the people who should be united to vote in the forth coming referendum. ABG’s push for mining with BCL at it’s helm is now being challenged by another player RTG which supposedly has the cash and elaborate plans to deal with issues ahead. I don’t support mining in any form or shape because already these companies are sprinkling cash this way and that. This is where corruption takes root if is not already eating away at ABG.

Opposition to Mining is mounting and I think it is time Hon. Osioco and his colleagues started to look at alternatives otherwise we are going to face another catastrophe at the hands of mining companies.

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Filed under Corruption, Financial returns, Papua New Guinea