Tag Archives: Peter O’Neill

K50 Million Dividends Paid To Landowners Of Western Province

Post Courier | April 25, 2017

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has presented a cheque of K50 million in dividends to the OK Tedi landowners of Western Province.
Mr O’Neill made this presentation following the heads of agreement signing for the transfer of 33 percent equity interest in OTML to the Western Province group yesterday.
He also clarified at the signing that his government has always had the best interest of the people and it was their initial desire to give back the mine to the people including all funds that belong to them.
He said the story of the mine and the people of Western Province is a sad story because the people have been let down by many developers and previous governments.
He said that was why the current government has taken a bold step in correcting all those mistakes and one step was to have full custody of the mine.
“I have made a commitment in 2013 with a desire to return ownership of the mine therefore the heads of agreement signing is the conclusion of this commitment.
This is the time to develop resources and maximise it and there is no doubt that we still need developers however we still need to fix issues that has been prolonged for a very long time such as having all the funds fixed and returned to the people.
All funds from the sustainable development program are still parked and this government has not approved one project under these funds as they are before the court therefore we have not utilised a toea of those funds,” he said.
“I am satisfied with the agreement that is being signed because, the mine can now be managed by the landowners and this has achieved our desire as government to return ownership back to the people.
“We want to give benefits back to the rightful owners, transfer of CMCA back to people, see conclusion of court cases and give money back to the people as well as turning the mine into a profitable project for the benefit of everyone,” he said.

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O’Neill indicates support for BCL to start operation

O'Neill and Momis pose

O’Neill and Momis (photo Tony Kaybing)

The National aka The Loggers Times | April 20, 2017

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has indicated his support for Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL) to resume its operations on Bougainville.
Bougainville President Chief Dr John Momis said this would provide BCL with the level of assurance they needed to manage sovereign risk and take meaningful steps to start feasibility work.
Momis said that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill agreed that a steering committee would be established with joint representation from the national government, ABG Government, landowners and Bougainville Copper Ltd.
The steering committee would be convened by an independent chairman to ensure that all parties’ interests were heard.
“As president, I am very conscious of the sensitivity of this issue, but I am pleased that the vast majority of landowners have now agreed that Bougainville Copper Ltd should be given the opportunity to rehabilitate the mine,” Momis said.
He said the economic benefits of that could not be denied, but Bougainville should ensure that any future mining operations were respectful to the people, protected their environment and benefits flowed through to the people.

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We must protect our seas

These giant seabed mining machines will do enormous damage

 Editorial | The National aka The Loggers Times | March 20, 2017

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has conveyed another powerful message about the imminent threats of pollution, illegal fishing and climate change to Pacific Island nations, including Papua New Guinea.

And he has called on island nations around the world to come together for global action to protect their communities from marine damage.

O’Neill told leaders attending the Pacific Regional Preparatory High-Level Meeting for the United Nations Conference on Oceans in Suva, Fiji, that they had valid marine resources concerns that must be taken up by the global community.

“Pollution, illegal fishing and climate change destroys ecosystems in island nation maritime areas. We did not cause these problems but these problems cause damage to our communities today and into the future.”

The meeting in Suva on Thursday and Friday focused on building consensus and establishing a way forward to seek the global community’s support and assistance in preventing the destruction of marine resources in the island nations.

This is the third occasion that O’Neill has raised concern about the imminent dangers that the Pacific Island community faces.

In 2015, he warned to global leaders attending the COP21 UN climate change conference in Paris to find a workable solution to save lives and protect island communities.

And last year, he warned leaders attending the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) meeting in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, that the threat posed by illegal fishing on their economic survival was growing.

As chairman of the PIF, O’Neill is spearheading the Pacific Island community’s cause for greater attention by the global community on these pertinent issues.

This is part of his address to leaders at the Suva meeting:

“Our ocean and its vast resources, not only provide nourishment for us, it also provides 20 per cent of the world’s protein and economic returns for our countries from fisheries.

Our ocean is a highway for significant shipping and trade generating significant economic value but with minimal returns to us.

But, we are seeing alarming statistics about the health of our ocean; of the poor state of our coral reefs caused by coral bleaching and pollution, of the negative consequences for our marine biodiversity and of the levels of Illegal Unreported and Unregulated fisheries.

So we need to not only make declarations but to accelerate and step up our actions and demand the same of others to restore our ocean’s health, through embracing integrated ocean management approaches and sustainably managing and conserving our coastal, inshore and ocean resources.”

Insofar as Papua New Guinea is concerned, the effects of climate change are already evident in the Carterets Islands, islands in Manus and the outer atolls in coastal provinces that have experienced the rise in the sea level.

While climate change needs a global approach and solution, illegal fishing remains a sticky point for individual island nations.

The PIF meeting last September resolved for greater action in dealing with illegal fishing and related activities.

The increase in illegal fishing and human trafficking, especially by fishermen and companies of Asian origin, in our region is a growing concern.

These illegal activities seriously affect the economic survival of the small island nations, especially when large importers like the European Union and the United States raise questions and threaten to impose trade restrictions.

Efforts by the fisheries authorities of the various, mostly ill-equipped island countries and their collective voice, the Forum Fisheries Agency, have been largely unsuccessful in effectively curbing illegal fishing.

In a way, the PNG National Fisheries Authority (NFA) is far better placed to monitor and report on illegal fishing.

The NFA has, over the years, drawn on the assistance of the maritime element of the PNG Defence Force and the Australian Navy to patrol our waters.

For the smaller island nations, a lot is left to goodwill and hope that sovereign territorial rights will be respected by our neighbours.

Still, we may never get to know the full extent of what is happening on the high seas.

Ongoing incursions into territorial waters are indicative of blatant disrespect for sovereignty. And such a practice does nothing to help mutual relations between countries.

Repercussions of illegal fishing are not only about economic losses for small island nations but there are also greater environmental concerns involving the maintenance of marine species.

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Opposition questions PM on benefits from LNG shipments

Delays in royalty payments are frustrating landowners

Delays in royalty payments are frustrating landowners

Post Courier | March 05, 2017

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has come under fire again from the Opposition on the benefits from LNG’s more than 200 shipments.

Mr O’Neill said bigger benefits were looming for the country in the next LNG projects at Port Moresby’s inaugural petroleum and energy summit.

Opposition Leader Don Polye said the Department of Treasury projected that annual proceeds from the first LNG would be up to K4 billion.

“Our alternative government’s question is who will benefit the most? We know these benefits looming in the petroleum and energy sector.

“This is not the first time we will see them coming in from such an international project.

“Our resource owners have missed out on benefits which are rightfully theirs in the first LNG project,” he said.

Mr Polye said the government had betrayed the people.

“Talking about projects after projects will not solve the real problems. There is nothing from the LNG project reflected in national budgets.

“Budget books show nothing. With such disarray in the management of the resources, pushing for another LNG project is unheard of,” he warned.

Sovereign wealth fund, he said, was established outside of the international best practice Santiago principle.

Mr Polye added that the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative was not fully established within the standard frameworks as well.

“We cannot justify discussing another second or third LNG project. We are afraid their proceeds will also go down the same trend.

“I must boldly tell the nation that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has mismanaged the country’s proceeds from the first LNG project.

The country is in the red. I would like to advice the forum to address these issues,” Mr Polye said.

He warns Total, ExxonMobil and other players that whilst bidding to increase their profitability to serve the interest of shareholders, they have a moral and legal obligation to PNG as well.

“We would like to see responsibility on the part of the developers to create a sustainable economy for PNG.

“When we are in government, we will not only bid for maximum benefits for our resource owners, we will fix SWF and EITI, minimise law and order, restore rule of law and alleviate corruption to make PNG become an attractive investment destination,” Mr Polye said.

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PM declares PNG open for more foreign rape and pillage

petroleum-and-energy-summit

+ Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is far more worried about the profits for foreign resource extractors than he is about the plight of rural people

+ Foreign resource companies don’t “invest in PNG” and hope to get rich as PNG gets richer, they invest in big holes in the ground and get rich by selling what they take out – understanding the difference is crucial to understanding why they get rich and we don’t

+ Our Prime Minister and his cronies are happy to do what the foreign neo-colonialists want because they are all in business with them, our politicians are all businessmen getting rich from our suffering… 

PNG PM assures investors on country’s economy

Freddy Mou | Loop PNG | February 28, 2017

PAPUA New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has assured investors at the inaugural Petroleum and Energy Summit that their investment in the country is safe and will bear more profits in the near future.

During the officially opening of the two-day Summit today, Mr O’Neill confidently said the country’s economy is doing well.

He said PNG had faced challenges in past years due to the drop in commodity prices.

However, he said the decrease in commodity prices did not change the main goals of the government to provide free education and health care to the people.

“With a very careful management of our economy, we did not lose grip of it and we never cut essential services to our people,” Mr O’Neill said.

He added that the government always maintained its policies since taking office in 2012.

“With the steady end on the economy, our country continues to weather the storm by continuing to maintain a positive GDP growth and a sound outlook for the next two years.”

Mr O’Neill told investors that the country’s economy is on the right track and not out in the dark, as claimed by critics.

More than 450 investors from major LNG buying countries are attending.

The summit will end with a visit to the PNG LNG plant site by the investors.

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Ok Tedi Trust funds frozen by court case: OTML

oneill_vesus_morauta

Gynnie Kero | The National | January 17, 2017

TRUST funds for Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) villages in the South Fly district of Western are still frozen by a court case, according to Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML).
But despite that, OTML continued to contribute money into the trust every year, deputy chief executive officer and general manager employee and external relations Musje Werror said.
As at December last year, the company paid more than K9.8 billion in benefits to the people of Western since 1982.
He revealed that 50 per cent of these funds were currently tied up in court.
Addressing people at a village in South Fly last Friday, Werror said the village was among others in the district whose projects would be delayed.
The Sepe/Auti village in South Fly was the final village in the CMCA corridor to sign the CMCA Extension Agreement (CMCAEA) last Friday.
“Your benefits start today (last Friday) after signing of the agreement.
“But your name (Sepe/ Auti) is among all South Fly villages, project delivery will be delayed. Until the (court) case is over, we cannot draw down from the trust,” he said.
Werror also told the locals that the compensation package for the 158 CMCA communities in Western was reviewed over the years.
“In 2001, the compensation package at that time was K175 million.
“That was revised in the 2006 memorandum of agreement (MOA) to close to K1.2 billion and now the CMCA extension agreement nearly K600 million.”
Werror urged Sepe/ Auti locals to cooperate with the miner and the Ok Tedi Development Foundation and the provincial government if they wanted to see real change in the village.
“To achieve sustainable development is not easy but it can and will happen if we all work together. I encourage the people of Sepe/Auti through your leaders to work closely with OTML, OTDF and the Fly River Provincial Government (FRPG),” he said.
“There will be disagreements along the way but we must never lose focus of our dream and our desire to develop our village, our region and our province.”
Ok Tedi Mining Ltd also presented two outboard motors and sporting equipment worth K70,000 to the village last Friday.
It is understood that two 23-foot dinghies would be delivered to Sepe/Auti later.

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Papua New Guinea troops to protect huge Exxon-Mobil gas project

png-army

John Braddock  | World Socialist Web Site | 19 December 2016

The Papua New Guinea (PNG) government announced on Friday that it will deploy military personnel to stop “violence” near the country’s biggest resources installation, the Exxon-Mobil Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project.

Troops will be sent to Hela Province in the highlands where the authorities claim dozens of people have died in tribal conflict in recent months. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the military call-out would last six months, beyond national elections due next year. The government is asking Exxon-Mobil and Oil Search—the two main companies involved in the LNG project—for “logistical support” for the operation.

O’Neill said the military would work with police to conduct security operations. He stated: “These problems have the potential to impact on the upcoming election as well as the operation of important projects in the area…. Police will have full powers to ensure law and order and to deal with people who seek to cause trouble.”

According to the PNG Post-Courier, the deployment will address the “continuous and sporadic tribal fights fueled by the use of heavy firearms.” Finance Minister James Marape, whose electorate is affected, had pushed for an official state of emergency to be declared. This would provide extended powers to the police and the military to suppress what Marape called the “gun-toting cowboys of Hela.” The declaration was not made only because of the time required for parliamentary approval.

The security and viability of the ExxonMobil operation is a key concern in Washington. In November 2010, then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited PNG and noted that the US Export-Import Bank was helping finance the ExxonMobil project. Speaking to a Congressional committee in 2011, she declared: “Let’s put aside the moral, humanitarian, do-good side of what we believe in, and let’s just talk, you know, straight realpolitik. We are in a competition with China … ExxonMobil is producing it [natural gas]. China is in there every day in every way trying to figure out how it’s going to come in behind us, come in under us.”

Exxon-Mobil’s former chairman, Rex Tillerson, has been nominated as US secretary of state by President-elect Donald Trump. If ratified by the Senate, Tillerson would be directing Washington’s foreign policy, including in countries where ExxonMobil has commercial interests. O’Neill has welcomed Tillerson’s nomination, describing him as a “very good and genuine friend” of PNG.

The explosive situation in Hela Province points to deepening social tensions and anti-establishment sentiment as a result of the government’s sweeping austerity measures. In October, five Electoral Commission officials were attacked while on their way to replace an election manager in the Southern Highlands. Last month, two men were shot dead when the Hela provincial governor’s convoy, which included two members of parliament, was stopped by armed men. Police responded by burning houses and gardens in a purported attempt to flush out those responsible.

The National lamented in May that Hela had become a “troublesome province.” Its development and prosperity had “looked secured by the multi-billion kina LNG project.” Despite the money pouring into the district, the paper complained, not a week went by “without police reports of tribal fights, murders, sorcery-related killings and other lawless activities.”

None of the promised benefits from the LNG projects to improve ordinary people’s living standards has been realised. ExxonMobil invested heavily in PNG chiefly to profit from low labour and start-up costs. The company began shipping exports to Asian markets two years ago, delivering a boost to the country’s output. This year, however, the deepening global economic crisis has produced a precipitous drop in LNG prices to $US6.45 per million British thermal units (Btu) from a peak of $19.70 in 2014.

Traditional landowners are now threatening to physically attack the LNG plant over the government’s failure to pay promised royalties and equity in the project. The landowners are owed $1 billion kina ($A400 million) in royalties.

In August landowners blockaded the ExxonMobil plant in protest at the lack of payments, disrupting the flow of gas. The government deployed 60 police as the dispute threatened to erupt into another major crisis. This followed the violent suppression of an eight-week student strike calling for O’Neill’s resignation over corruption charges and a series of unofficial strikes by sections of workers.

The government finally promised to meet its outstanding financial commitments to the landowners, but is now claiming the money has been held up by court proceedings and delays in landowner identification. Australian National University student Michael Main, who is studying in the area, told ABC News that people are getting sick of waiting for the payments.

“There’s tremendous resentment and frustration directed almost exclusively towards politicians,” he said.

The landowners are also threatening to create “chaos” if the government does not honour another deal to give them equity. The government-owned company Kumul Petroleum Holdings has withdrawn an offer to finance the landowners’ purchase of 4.27 percent of the LNG project. The landowners need to find more than $US1 billion to buy the equity before their option expires at the end of 2016.

The turmoil in Hela is symptomatic of the country’s worsening economic and social crisis. The government’s 2017 budget, handed down in November, contained a 3.5 percent spending cut and a two-year pay freeze for public servants. Under new housing-benefits tax proposals, workers living in company-provided housing could lose more than half of their fortnightly salary from next year.

The assault on living standards has fuelled a series of struggles by students and sections of the working class, including doctors, nurses, pilots and dock workers. Two thousand health support workers voted overwhelming in November to strike for three weeks over pay and working conditions. Last week, bus drivers in Port Moresby struck over the death of a driver who was allegedly beaten by police officers. The ruling elite is relying on the trade unions to suppress this movement and shut down strikes.

O’Neill has responded to the escalating social disaster and emerging opposition with preparations for further repression. After a National Security Advisory Council meeting in July, a new National Security Joint Task Force, including police and military personnel, was established to “quell increasing internal security threats.” The deployment of troops to protect the ExxonMobil LNG site is another step in this agenda.

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