Tag Archives: Landholders

Porgera police squads accused of burning 150 houses and raping women

The aftermath of the Porgera fire. Photo: Supplied/ McDiyan Robert Yapari

Radio New Zealand | 27 March, 2017

A human rights group in Papua New Guinea is accusing police of burning down 150 houses in a village near the Porgera Gold Mine, during an early morning raid over the weekend.

The Akali Tange Association also alleges up to eight women were gang-raped and six men beaten during the raid.

The group’s executive officer, McDiyan Robert Yapari, said police mobile squads forcefully evicted residents from Wingima village and it is the third time the village has been burnt down.

Mr Yapari said he had been informed by a local policeman that the raid was ordered by Barrick Gold, which co-owns the Porgera Mine.

Earlier this month, the association joined calls for Canada to appoint a mining ombudsman to monitor Canadian mining companies, including Canadian company Barrick Gold, which co-owns Porgera.

It said an ombudsman would finally provide some justice for victims as well as holding mining companies to account.

Barrick did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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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.

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Confusion over FGF and bauxite mining in Fiji

Luke Rawalai | Fiji Times | March 23, 2017

The landowning unit of Fiji’s first bauxite mine in Nawailevu, Bua yesterday clarified this issue that Lands Minister Faiyaz Koya earlier described as “one that will benefit the future generation only”.

In an earlier interview with this newspaper, Mr Koya said only the three generations emerging within the 99-year lease duration of the Nawailevu bauxite mine would be eligible for the Future Generation Fund.

Mr Koya said the funds were meant for the future generations of the three landowning units of Noro, Nalutu and Naicobo in Nawailevu.

However, in their response and speaking on behalf of the landowning units, Vilikesa Kaidawa said the Future Generation Fund derived from the royalties of bauxite mining would also benefit current landowners.

This, he said, included the elders of the three landowning units.

Mr Kaidawa said landowning units had a workshop with representatives from the Land Bank Unit who assured them that current generation would also benefit from the revenue generated from investments of the FGF.

“We had a workshop with the unit on the first week of last month where we were told that the fund would be put in investment institutions to grow the fund of $600,000,” he said.

“Revenues generated from the investments will benefit current members of the LOUs while the $600,000 will be set aside for future generations.

“The workshop was also attended by representatives from investment banks and talks had been held during the workshop on putting up investment projects such as the purchase of a home, hotel and so on to bring in revenue.”

Mr Kaidawa said they had asked for part of the funds to invest and make money.

But the Ministry of Lands has made its stand clear that the FGF would not be released at any time except for the three generations born during the 99-year lease period.

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LNG landowner frustrations rising again in PNG

Hides landowners met several times with the government to discuss outstanding LNG Project payments. Photo: Supplied

Radio New Zealand | 21 March 2017

Papua New Guinea’s major LNG Liquefied Natural Gas or LNG project could be shut down again due to simmering landowner frustrations.

Landowners in the Highlands province of Hela say the government has let them down again by not following through on promised benefits from the multi-billion dollar gas project.

The landowners mounted a protest blockade of the project’s conditioning plant in Hides last August.

In response the government signed an agreement to address landowners’ grievances over lack of benefits and equity arrangements within thirty days

Hides landowner representative Andy Hamaga said government did not honour their promise.

“Unfortunately to date they haven’t done anything. We are looking at options, whether to take them to court, or go with the national arbitration, or go go back again and shut down the whole (LNG Project) operations before the general election,” he said.

At the time of last year’s blockade of the LNG plant, in response the government said the delays in royalty payments to landowners were due to complications over identifying genuine landowners.

The Petroleum and Energy minister Nixon Duban said that it was in the best interests of Hela to ensure that the right beneficiaries would be getting the payments.

“This project is going to be here for a long time,” Mr Duban explained at the time.

“We cannot make a mess and pay the wrong people. And so the onus is on the state to ensure it’s done properly. Whether we take one year or a couple of months, we must ensure it is done properly.”

However, Mr Hamaga said this was misleading.

“The state minister is not giving us the actual information,” he said.

“They were supposed to do this clan vetting and landowner social mapping thing before we signed the big Umbrella Benefit Agreement we have signed in 2009. I think they’re using this one as an excuse.”

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Fiji villagers claim mine spill destroying fishing grounds

Shalend Prasad points at a water outlet from the bauxite mine alleged by members of the public to be waste water from sediment ponds within the mine. Picture: LUKE RAWALAI

Luke Rawalai | Fiji Times | March 20, 2017

PEOPLE in Nasarawaqa, Bua and those living along the Dreketi River claim the decline in marine resources around the area is due to spillage of waste water from the bauxite mining in Naibulu, Dreketi.

Sasake villager Apisalome Tumuri claimed that the spill off from the mine during heavy rain forced marine life out from the area to the deep sea.

The 52-year-old fisherman claims there had been a lot of changes in their fishing ground since mining began in nearby Naibulu, Dreketi.

Mr Tumuri said fish, crabs and bech-de-mer had begun disappearing from their fishing grounds during the past three years. He said in the past, villagers could pick shellfish and fetch mud crabs from nearby mangroves.

He said they now had to go out into the open sea to get these.

Dreketi resident Losana Lomani said the Dreketi River had turned red last week after heavy rain was experienced in the area.

Ms Lomani said they learnt that the muddy water originated from the mining site and that women in the area found it hard to find freshwater mussels in the river.

XINFA Aurum Exploration Fiji Ltd’s senior officer Sang Lei said the muddy water witnessed by villagers was normal rain run-off from land.

Mr Lei said all waste water from the mine was contained in the sediment pond at the mine and that none had seeped into the waterways as claimed.

Responding to queries, permanent secretary for Lands and Mineral Resources Ministry Malakai Finau said it was normal for the sea to turn muddy during heavy rain.

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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.

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Filed under Financial returns, Mine construction, Papua New Guinea

PNG group says mining ombudsman ‘last hope’

Porgera mine. Photo: wikicommons / Richard Farbellini

Radio New Zealand | 13 March, 2017

A human rights group in Papua New Guinea says it would be a great relief if Canada agrees to appoint an ombudsman to monitor PNG’s mining sector.

The Akali Tange Association has written to Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, as part of a wider global campaign calling for the appointment.

The group said Canadian-owned Barrick Gold had employed security guards at Porgera who had committed killings, assault, and rape.

Its executive officer, McDiyan Robert Yapari, said an ombudsman would finally provide some justice for victims as well as holding mining companies to account.

“Now we don’t have any choice but only our prayers – our only hope now lies with the Canadian Prime Minister, if he sets up this Canadian extractive human rights ombudsman – that would be a great relief for us,” said McDiyan Robert Yapari.

Mr Yapari said the situation at Porgera Mine was getting worse and an ombudsman was the community’s last hope.

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