The National aka The Loggers Times | May 19, 2017
FACTIONS of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army have signed an agreement to work together as the province looks ahead to the 2019 referendum.
Hundreds of people yesterday witnessed a reconciliation event at the Arawa Independence Oval in Buka.
The BRA factions signed a memorandum of joint commitment to work together toward the Bougainville referendum.
On Monday, a reconciliation ceremony was also held at the Roreinang United Church Mission ground. It was where the A company broke away from the rest of the army to form Me’ekamui in 1997.
On Tuesday, there was another reconciliation ceremony held in Panguna. The events were witnessed by officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the people of Bougainville.
ABG Minister for the Department of Peace Agreement and Implementation Albert Punghau said the unification of the BRA factions was vital for the region if it wanted to achieve the referendum.
Former BRA Chief of Defence Ishmael Toroama said it was a day to be united and to remember “loved ones we lost”.
“This is the day when the Government declared the state of emergency.
“Today we stand and remember our loved ones during the civil war in Bougainville.
“We remember that we fought to take care of our people and our resources,” Toroama said.
Tag Archives: Bougainville
The National aka The Loggers Times | May 19, 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.
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.”
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]:
- 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?
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.
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 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 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.
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
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.