Tag Archives: John Momis

Bougainville to continue pursuit of Rio Tinto

It is a bit late now Mr Momis, how long have you been President and done nothing?

Sounds like an election soundbite not a genuine commitment! 

Radio New Zealand | 27 March, 2017

The President of Bougainville, John Momis, says his government is going ahead with legal action against mining giant Rio Tinto over the destruction caused by the Panguna mine.

Rio Tinto was the majority owner of Bougainville Copper Ltd, which ran the mine for 20 years before it was shut down by a civil war, fostered by environmental and social damage attributed to the mine.

Rio Tinto’s shares in BCL were given to the Papua New Guinea and Bougainville governments and the multi-national walked away from further involvement.

Mr Momis, whose government was now the biggest shareholder in BCL, said his administration would still prosecute Rio Tinto over its Panguna legacy.

“We are going to pursue this matter as a moral issue because they caused so much damage and just think they can get away scot free,” he said.


Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

President Momis announces support for the new Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL)

Bougainville News | 16 March 2017

President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government Chief Dr John Momis has announced his support of the new Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) .

The new BCL is step away from the post-colonial and pre-crisis arrangement that had Bougainville at a disadvantage; it is partly owned by the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the National Government, Panguna Landowners and people of Bougainville to develop the defunct Panguna Mine with the landowners for the benefit of Bougainville.

President Momis said the ABG as regulator will work together and support BCL explore alternative Panguna development options that will accommodate the interest of project stakeholders to fast track the development of the Panguna resources.

“Since BCL was invited to formally re-engage in discussions in Bougainville in 2012, the landowners have consistently stated their preference to work with BCL as the developer,” Momis said.

This was recently reaffirmed by the nine (9) Landowner Associations in Buka on 23 February 2017 after the BCL team led by Chairman Rob Burns made presentations to the ABG leaders and the nince landowner association executives and representatives on the new BCL’s development proposal for Panguna.

During that visit the Chairman present to the ABG leaders and the landowners a staed development proposal outlining how different the new Panguna approach will be under the new BCL hich now owned by the ABG, the Panguna landowners, people of Bougainville and the National Government.

Due to the recent majority of shares transferred by the Rio Tinto to ABG and the National Government, the ABG and the landowners now view BCL as not the devil we know but the devil we won.

The ABG and the landowners will now have to take advantage of this scenario and work out a positive strategy for an outcome that will be equitably beneficial for all stakeholders especially the landowners.

The ABG and the landowners have also committed to addressing the immediate challenges to progressing the Panguna project and looks forward to working in partnership with BCL through the project development cycle.

During discussions held this week between the BCL and the ABG, the two parties reaffirmed their commitment in which a way forward can be agreed for the immediate addressing of stage 0- Removing impediments under the BCL proposed staged development proposal presented during 23 – 24 February visit.

In those discussions it was also mentioned for BCL’s consideration to find ways and opportunities in its exploration to project development financing phase to support the ABG’s immediate development agendas as a way of building a long term unwavering development in Panguna.


Filed under Financial returns, Mine construction, Papua New Guinea

‘B’ville independence depends on Panguna’

Sebastian Hakalits | Post Courier | March 03, 2017

THE Bougainville Government’s position on Panguna mine had always been clear – to re-open it, says Bougainville Vice-Presient Raymond Masono.

Mr Masono said that the region would have fiscal self-reliance and also the majority of Bougainvilleans would enjoy a better life again when the mine re-opens.

He said there was opposition to the mine re-opening but they were a minority.

“We need Panguna to finance independence for Bougainville,” he added.

Mr Masono said that the mine would bring quick development and it still had a large known reserve yet to be mined.

Last week in Buka, K5 million was paid to four landowner associations. The cheque payment by Bougainville Copper Limited was done at Kuri Village Resort and was witnessed by Mr Masono, ABG Ministers, senior government officers and staff.

“It is not the devil that we used to know, but it’s now the devil that we own,” Mr Masono said in reference to BCL, adding that it would be foolish go out looking for other developers when BCL was available.

More than K14 million will be paid to the Panguna landowner groups when their outstanding claims with BCL are settled.

Six landowner associations that were established before the Bougainville Crisis (1988-1998) and another three were established after the conflict, bringing the total to nine landowner associations.

More than K14 million will be made to the Panguna landowner groups when Bougainville Copper Limited completes outstanding claims are settled.


Filed under Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

Panguna talks re-open


BCL insists the ABG must support the company in its endeavours to remove any impediments so that it can have easy access to the Panguna mine area.

“New regime to create something special for Bougainville”

Sebastian Hakalits | Post Courier | 1 March 2017

BOUGAINVILLE Copper Limited (BCL), under a new regime, is keen on re-opening the Panguna mine with promises of more equitable sharing of wealth with landowners and the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

Company chairman Robert Burns was in Buka last week and met with Bougainville cabinet ministers and landowner groups to put forward BCL’s proposals for start-up by year 2020.

According to BCL’s proposals on full operations from 2020 and beyond, it will inject US$350 million (K1 billion) a year to the Bougainville Government.

BCL has projected to pay about US$25 million (about K70 million a year) to the nine landowner associations to distribute among themselves.

The details of the BCL forward plans for Panguna were made at a presentation by the company recently.

BCL operated the Panguna mine for 18 years as a subsidiary company of Rio Tinto until it was shut down by the infamous Bougainville crisis from 1988 to 1999.

But the company was under a new regime after Rio Tinto left and during the process, off-loaded its majority of 53 per cent shares, of which a majority of 36 per cent belongs to Bougainvilleans, to the ABG.

The National Government owns 19 per cent, Panguna landowners 17 per cent and the rest other shareholders in Europe.

Mr Burns said in his presentation that BCL would engage with the ABG and landowners to fast-track and remove the impending issues to “create something very special for Bougainville”.

He said the company was ready and very much interested and committed to access Panguna and carry out the activities of feasibility and environmental studies before re-developing the mine. But he insisted that the ABG must support the company in its endeavours to remove any impediments so that it can have easy access to the Panguna mine area.

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

New Bougainville vice-president faces BFM criticism over mining policy


New ABG Vice-President Masono being sworn in by Chief Magistrate Bruce Tasikul while Chief Secretary to ABG Joseph Nobetau looks on. Image: Bougainville News

Asia Pacific Report | 26 February 2017

Raymond Masono has been appointed new Vice-President of Bougainville and has immediately faced criticism from the Bougainville Freedom Movement.

Bougainville News reported Masono was from the Carteret Islands and is a first term MP in the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the Member for the Atolls Constituency and Minister for Public Service.

Prior to his entry into politics, Masono had a ‘distinguished career’ in the Bougainville Public Service and held several senior positions, including Acting Chief Administrator, Deputy Chief Administrator Policy and Director for Panguna Negotiations.

“I want to express my sincere gratitude on behalf of the Atolls people for the President’s confidence in appointing me as his new Vice-President,” Masono said at the swearing in.

“I accept this appointment with great humility, for me personally it is a great honour to serve as the Vice-President of one of the founding fathers of this nation and I want to assure the President and the people of Bougainville of my undivided loyalty and continued support to the President and ABG,” Masono said.

However, the Bougainville Freedom Movement (BFM) put out a statement condemning the appointment as not helping Bougainville’s independence from mining companies. It said:

“The young and easily influenced [former] Vice-President Patrick Nisira made it clear in March 2016  that the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) knew that the decision on the future of the mining moratorium on Bougainville was a major concern and ‘that there should be wide public debate on the issues involved’.

‘Don’t have the funds’

“This was reiterated again, as stated by Patrick Nisira in his public leture on 28 April 2016 in Canberra.

“Yet in his next breath, Patrick Nisira advised: “But we don’t have the funds necessary for an extensive public awareness and consultation programme.”

“Now, his replacement, Raymond Masono, Director of the Office of Panguna Negotiations, Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), who originates from the Atolls, gave a lecture at  the University of Queensland’s “Institute for Sustainable Mining” on 16 December 2014.

“Under the influence of the University of Queensland’s “Institute for Sustainable Mining”, Mr Raymond Masono made it quite clear that, “Alternative Benefit Sharing Modality for a Redeveloped Panguna Mine in Bougainville, PNG”.

“Benefits from a redeveloped Panguna mine must contribute to the overall social and economic development of the all Bougainvillians, not just the mine affected landowners.

“This requires the design and implementation of a benefit sharing modality that ensures everyone shares in the nation’s wealth. The Office of Panguna Mine Negotiations has been established to coordinate the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and Panguna mine affected Landowners preparations to negotiate the possible reopening of Panguna Mine in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

“President Momis, it certainly would be better that you represent your people rather than mining companies don’t you think?, asked the BFM.”

Patrick Nisira will remain as the Member of the Halia constituency until he formally resigns from the Bougainville House of Representatives to contest this year’s general election.

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Bougainville’s Momis dismisses Panguna opposition


MOMIS: Lawrence Daveona doesn’t represent the landowners of the SML [Special Mining Lease]. He speaks for himself

Dateline Pacific | Radio NZ | 26 September 2016

Bougainville’s president says the claims of a dissident landowner leader are irrelevant as the PNG province aims to get majority control of Bougainville Copper Ltd.

BCL had operated the Panguna mine and the chair of the Panguna Osikaiang Landowners Association, Lawrence Daveona, says his group are the rightful owners of the mine site and the company itself.

This comes after Rio Tinto gave away its 53 percent shareholding and walked away, claiming it was under no obligation to do anything about the damage caused by the mine.

Panguna had been the catalyst of the province’s destructive civil war.

Bougainville’s President John Momis wants the majority shareholding although the Papua New Guinea government has given its Rio shares to the landowners.

Mr Momis told Don Wiseman most of the landowner groups from around mine, Mr Daveona excepted,  back his government’s push.

JOHN MOMIS: The landowners, more or less unanimously, except for Lawrence Daveona, who doesn’t seem to agree with anything, and he’s totally outnumbered. There’s only one person – there’re two people, who are against the landowners decision to say that the 17 percent the national government wants to give to the landowners, should go to the ABG, which is the legitimate government, because they believe in the new mining law of Bougainville in respect of the shares and benefits of the landowners are much much better than in the PNG mining law. Yeah the landowners are supporting the ABG and they are saying they are satisfied that the shares should be divested to the ABG.

DON WISEMAN: Yet Lawrence Daveona, he represents a critical group doesn’t he, right around the mine itself, and if you haven’t got these people onboard then isn’t any prospect of that mine opening and resolving this issue, isn’t that, well, it is not going to go anywhere is it?   

JM: Well Lawrence Daveona doesn’t represent the landowners of the SML [Special Mining Lease]. He speaks for himself. The landowners of the SML fully support the other landowners in their stance that the shares should and must be given to the ABG, which, in accordance with its mining law provisions, effects equitable distribution to the people, the landowners affected by the Panguna mine.

DW: Alright. So when do you think all of this is going to be resolved. When do you think the ABG will effectively become a majority owner of BCL?

JM: That will depend on how willing the national government is to dealing with the ABG. And if not, our position is clear, and I have stated this consistently in the past, that should they refuse, we will invoke the provision in our mining law to disqualify them, disqualify the national government from operating in Bougainville. Then we will go for international tender to ask any other developer who may be interested.

DW: After all of this angst over mining you must be thinking that if the critical thing is getting an economy going, that you walk right away from it and focus on other areas, like farming and tourism.

JM: Well we are doing that although not much is being said. Our strategy, we have adopted a multi-dimensional approach now. We are going to look at investment in agriculture, in tourism, and downstream processing, whilst we address the Panguna mine issue. There are other mines of course we could be looking at, but as a government we cannot let the landowners of Panguna, who have been exploited by Rio and the PNG Government, and decided to dump them. Walk away from them. As a government we have a responsibility to protect and promote nothing but the interests of the landowners. We are duty bound, in a way, to still fight for the landowners, while we look at other options of generating revenue for a government which is being starved by the national government of even its own legitimate, constitutionally guaranteed entitlements.

DW: In terms of the legacy issues, for the environmental and social destruction, there is a very real chance that nothing is going to come from Rio, so how confident are you that you are ever going to actually have the resources to be able to do anything about that?

JM: Well we may not persuade them, because I think they [Rio] are so morally bankrupt. They are so power drunk that they don’t want to come and address [what are] legitimate issues as far as the government and the people of Bougainville are concerned. Rio make billions, so did the PNG Government. So both Rio Tinto and the PNG Government have a real obligation to address the legacy issues. But be that as it may we are going to embark on an international campaign against Rio and make it known to the world what Rio did to Bougainville from a mine that they made billions out of.


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

Panguna mine LO group propose steps

panguna mine pit

Sebastian Hakalits | Post Courier | 21 September 2016

THE Osikaiang Landowners Association Executives has always stood firm on advice that is based on well researched information as they have professional Bougainvilleans advising them.

Unlike all other eight associations that have been established under the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s endeavor to re-open Panguna mine, the SML Osikaiang LO’s suggested process to follow with the PNG and ABG governments with respect to BCL Shares saga.

The SML Executive further stated that their ABG government and the President have taken and have been making so much noise about Bougainville Copper Limited Shares that have been transferred to both the ABG and the National Government.

The landowners speaking through a statement by Chairman Mr. Lawrence Daveona stated that though they supported the Prime Minister and the National Executive Council decision to give 17.4% shares to the Panguna Landowners and the people of Bougainville they revealed that there are a number of issues that need to be discussed and cleared on the process required by both ABG and the PNG Government.

The SML Osikaiang Landowners Association’s views are that at the expiry of the BCA Act (as the case is at present- NO License to BCL) the ownership of Panguna resource is rightly in the hands of SML Osikaiang Landowners under the Nasioi Customary law and that the PNG Government cannot claim any rights over Panguna Mine Resources as a result of Panguna landowners dispute and the Bougainville crisis issue.

The landowners also said one of their other views was that the ABG and President Chief Dr. Momis cannot claim unilaterally that they have rights over Panguna Mine Resources.

Furthermore they said it was unlawful for the ABG to have given BCL ‘Exploration License’ over SML under the ‘ABG Transitional Bill’ on the 8th of August 2014 as it contravenes Section 23 of the ABG Constitution.

The landowners said the ABG Parliament enactment of the ABG Mining Act 2015 does not give our ABG Government and President Momis any right whatsoever to again claim unilaterally our Panguna SML Osikaiang Landowners birth right ownership over Panguna Mine Resources.

This is because they claim that they represent SML Osikaiang Landowners of Panguna Mine in any discussions with the National Government which is unacceptable will not be entertained with anything to do with Panguna Mine resources ownership.

The landowners further stated that the SML Osikaiang Landowners Association Inc. is a legally registered Organization under the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) and has its own executive and technical advisors who must at all times represent its people as being a separate and independent legal entity.

SML’s executive must pursue its people’s interest in discussions with our ABG Government, the National Government and any Foreign Investor.

The ABG President and the Mining Minister must accept the independent legality of SML Osikaiang Landowners Association Inc. and its executive and as such not confuse our independent stand by including our people’s interest with those of other eight Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Associations.

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Filed under Papua New Guinea