Tag Archives: Philip Miriori

RTG Mining raises US$34M to re-develop Panguna mine

PHOTO: Philip Miriori’s Me’ekamui group has entered into a joint venture with RTG mining. (ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

RTG Mining

The Board of RTG Mining Inc. is pleased to announce that the Company has received commitments to raise approximately US$34 million in a private placement to Australian and international institutional and sophisticated investors.

Hartleys Limited, together with Trump Securities LLC, acted as Joint Lead Managers to the Private Placement.

The Private Placement was oversubscribed, reflecting the strong institutional interest in RTG’s proposal with a landowner lead consortium to secure an exploration licence at the high tonnage copper-gold Panguna Project in Bougainville PNG and the development of the high grade copper/gold/magnetite Mabilo Project in the Philippines.

The Private Placement will result in the issue of approximately 311 million Chess Depository Instruments (“Securities”) to be listed on the ASX at an issue price of A$0.14 per Security, representing a 12.5% discount to RTG’s last closing price on the ASX of A$0.16.

Net proceeds of the Private Placement will be used:

  • to advance the interests of RTG in the proposal to secure a role as the development partner with the landowner consortium led by the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (“SMLOLA”), at the old Panguna Mine in Bougainville;
  • to progress the arbitration process to con rm the 100% interest of Mt. Labo Exploration and Development Corporation in the Mabilo Project in the Philippines and consider additional drilling at the site;
  • to pursue new potential business development opportunities; and
  • for working capital and general corporate purposes.

Commenting on the success of the Private Placement, RTG’s President & CEO Justine Magee said:

“We are extremely pleased with the strong support that RTG has received for the Private Placement from a number of new high quality international institutions, as well as from our existing shareholder base.

Following completion of the Placement, RTG will be in a strong financial position with cash and liquid assets of circa US$33.5 million net of fees to brokers, leaving RTG well-funded to progress various business development opportunities and continue to seek to build a social licence to sustainably redevelop the Panguna Project in Bougainville.”

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Landowners and companies in new battle for Panguna mine, which triggered Bougainville Crisis

PHOTO: Panguna landowners are arguing about which company should restart mining. (ABC News: Bethanie Harriman)

 Eric Tlozek | ABC News | 10 February 2018

The race to reopen one of the world’s biggest copper mines, Panguna, is dividing landowners and the wider community in Bougainville.

Key points:

  • Local leader Philip Miriori says activity at the Panguna mine would bring “prosperity” and “better infrastructure” to the community
  • Bougainville’s President says the Government is keen to restart the mine to boost its case for independence
  • Not all landowners around the mine are happy with the stalemate, or with RTG’s push to leapfrog former operator BCL

Panguna was abandoned in 1989, after landowner dissatisfaction with the mine led to the Bougainville Crisis, an armed uprising against the Papua New Guinea Government in which 20,000 people died.

Now mining companies are trying to come back, right as Bougainville prepares to vote on whether it should become an independent nation.

Philip Miriori is a local leader who wants mining to resume.

“The Panguna mine must reopen,” he said.

“That is going to bring prosperity. We need to see our kids go to school. We need better hospitals, better infrastructure.”

Mr Miriori leads a group called the Me’ekamui and has been battling through the courts and mediation to become chairman of the landowner association of the mine pit, the SMLOLA (Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association).

“I think unity for the resource owners is important, before anything else,” he said.

“Without the unity, I don’t think we can achieve anything.”

Mr Miriori’s Me’ekamui group has entered into a joint venture with Perth company RTG Mining, which is making a bold bid to reopen Panguna.

PHOTO: Philip Miriori’s Me’ekamui group has entered into a joint venture with RTG mining. (ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

“What I was interested in with RTG is a social licence [to mine],” Mr Miriori said.

“I don’t want to get anything for myself, I want to see my people benefit.”

But Mr Miriori and other supporters are being paid by RTG, an arrangement the Bougainville Government has criticised.

Mr Miriori said the payments were legitimate salaries, not inducements for people’s support.

“That is always a normal part of anything, nothing is free,” he said.

“The world has changed. People are educated. So there’s no bribery there.”

RTG’s bid and Philip Miriori’s push for leadership of the landowner association has disrupted a sustained effort by the mine’s former operator, Bougainville Copper Limited, or BCL, to return to Panguna.

BCL is part-owned by the Bougainville Government and had an exploration licence and first right of refusal over the site.

But the Bougainville Government has now rejected BCL’s application to extend that licence, and put an indefinite moratorium on any mining at Panguna.

PHOTO: The Panguna mine is one of the world’s biggest copper mines. (AAP Image: Ilya Gridneff)

Bougainville’s President, John Momis, said the issue of mining had become too sensitive.

“A lot of people are against mining, any mining at all, and mostly against BCL, because of its past,” he said.

Landowners at loggerheads as referendum looms

Mr Momis said the Government does not want conflict at the mine to distract from a scheduled referendum next year on whether Bougainville should secede from Papua New Guinea.

He said the Government may have been overly keen to restart the mine, because it wanted the revenue to boost its case for independence.

“Panguna is a very, very difficult issue for all the things that happened in the past,” Mr Momis said.

“So maybe we were pushing things too hard because of our desire to meet our fiscal self-reliance target.”

Not all the landowners around the mine are happy with the stalemate, or with RTG’s push to leapfrog BCL.

Jeffrey Clason’s mother is one of the mine landowners, and he said many people want BCL to resume mining.

“I think the majority of the landowners are still with BCL and I think as the Mining Act says, they’re the last people to say yes or no, it’s their land,” he said.

“So, for the landowners, BCL is still welcome.”

PHOTO: Bougainvillean Bernadine Kama says she does not want mining to restart at Panguna at all. (ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

Some Bougainvilleans, like Bernadine Kama — who comes from a village near the mine, don’t want mining to restart at Panguna at all.

“We’ve already seen the damage and destruction done to our land,” she said.

The Bougainville Government said it will come up with a new strategy for Panguna, and will continue consultation with landowners about whether it should be mined, and who should mine it.

But in the meantime, Bougainville Copper Limited is pursuing court action against the Government, which is not only a major shareholder, but also the mining regulator.

So the battle for Panguna is getting more complicated, right as the region prepares for a contentious referendum on its political future.

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No Road to Damascus Conversion for President Momis

President Momis is still pressing ahead with Panguna reopening despite turning his back on BCL

As predicted, the Momis government has not had a Road to Damascus conversion, where they promise to honour the wishes and customs of landowning communities. All banks should be scrutinising very closely the accounts of senior ABG officials, and their relatives, for large unexplained deposits which may help explain BCL’s abrupt eviction – it might also be the quickest route to finding out who the ‘new’ proposed operator is for Panguna, who has the consent of ‘all’ the landowning community. Of course, whoever it is, they will be a low flying organisation, with offshore bank accounts and companies. 

So here is how its going to work. BCL is now kicked out. The politicians have shown they listen to the voice of the people (yeah right). A new operator will be announced. There will be a ‘groundswell’ of local support for this operators (lies, of course). The usual local faces will be put forwards as the voice of the people – Mirorio, Daveona, etc. They aren’t. No other voices will be allowed to be heard. There will need to be a big financial backer. Because of the conflict, and the fact the ABG has suddenly cut and run from BCL, after promising them the world since 2010, it will only come from high-risk investors. Probably China. Whatever agreement is reached, percentages will be paid to politicians, and subcontracts promised to their family and friends. If the Chinese are the funders, expect a large influx of Chinese labour, and tax breaks galore.

But there will be resistance. Big time. The struggle continues.

Meet To Re-Open Panguna Mine Successfully

Sebastian Hakalits | Post Courier | January 28, 2018

A recent meeting between the chairman of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (SMLOLA) Philip Miriori and the President of ABG Dr John Momis in Buka in January was described as a success.
It was jointly agreed that the technical team of the SMLOLA would re-engage with the ABG Mining Department to develop a plan.
Mr Miriori said following the recent rejection of Bougainville Copper Limited’s plans to redevelop Panguna by the Bougainville Executive Council, and president Momis’s press release of December 22, 2017 that he wants to work more closely with the landowners to find an acceptable redevelopment proposal for Panguna that will be widely supported by Bougainvilleans and unite the landowners. “We were very appreciative of President Momis’s offer to meet to start this process,” Miriori said.
Mining Minister and vice president of Bougainville, Raymond Masono was also present at the meeting along with Finance Minister Robin Wilson and ABG Police Minister William Masiu.
Mr Miriori said they had a successful meeting with President Momis and ‘‘the other ministers and I confirm it is my intention as the chairman of the SMLOLA to engage meaningfully with the ABG and National Government in finding a way forward for the future prosperity of all Bougainvilleans.’’
‘‘Mr Momis was very respectful of my position and was appreciative of the reconciliation we have been able to achieve on the leadership issues.
He said we all understand that the redevelopment of Panguna, if done with the support of the community, could enable Bougainville to thrive and enhance the Independence Referendum plans, which the ABG committed to in the recent joint supervisory body meeting in Port Moresby.
Mr Miriori said this week he and his brother Lawrence Daveona, the former Chairman will commence their awareness campaign throughout the Panguna area to update their members on their meeting with President and will report back to Momis before the end of the month with their findings.
He said meanwhile, their technical team will be meeting with the ABG Department of Minerals and Energy this week.
“We believe this could be the turning point for our Bougainville and look forward to working with the ABG as one team to progress the redevelopment plans at Panguna,” said Miriori.

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ABG concerned reopening Panguna ‘might ignite another war’

President of the autonomous Bougainville government, John Momis. Photo: RNZI

Mining Panguna requires ‘social license’

Radio New Zealand | January 5, 2018

The president of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) says mining companies must win the trust of landowners if they want to operate the Panguna mine.

Last month, President John Momis placed an indefinite moratorium on mining at Panguna after landowners opposed the return of miner Bougainville Copper Limited, or BCL.

The landowners said BCL would not take responsibility for the environmental and social impacts of its previous operation.

BCL ran Panguna until the outbreak of civil war in 1989 in which grievances caused by the mine were central to the 10 year conflict that cost over 20,000 lives.

Mr Momis said to avoid further conflict, Panguna could only be opened with the landowners’ consent.

“Because of our concern that it might ignite another war, we decided, on the recommendation of the Bougainville Mining Council, to impose an indefinite moratorium on mining on Panguna,” he said.

“The mine can recommence, but we have to ensure that whichever company gets the license must be acceptable to the people. In other words it must win the social license.”

The vast Panguna copper and gold mine once generated nearly half of Papua New Guinea’s annual export revenue.

In 2016, mining giant Rio Tinto transferred its controlling stake in BCL to both the PNG government and the ABG, winning support from Mr Momis for BCL to return to Panguna.

But opposition to BCL from the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association was reiterated this week by its chair Philip Miriori, who said it was time for Bougainville to attract a mining partner that would respect the people and make sure they all benefit.

Australian mining company RTG claimed to have the landowners’ backing last month when its chairman Michael Carrick told RNZ Pacific his company was a better option than BCL.

Mr Momis said it was not clear if an Australian company could provide landowners the same benefits as one partly owned by the ABG.

“That may be so but that is not the view of the people of Bougainville. We have a referendum coming up which is important for the ultimate determination of our future and we can’t allow BCL’s involvement in Panguna that may lead to bloodshed,” he said.

“We can’t open the mine in the face of such huge opposition from the people. According to our law, the landowners own the resource, not the government. Until companies win the social license from the landowners they are barking up the wrong tree.”

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Panguna landowners applaud ABG

Local residents hold banners and placards during a protest at the former Bougainville Copper Limited’s Panguna mine. | Photo: Reuters

Meredith Kuusa | Loop PNG | January 4, 2018

A landowner’s association has expressed appreciation towards the efforts of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) in giving Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) every opportunity to step up and win landowner support.

The Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (SMLOLA) said as evidenced by the recent warden’s hearing, the landowners for the first time were given the opportunity to speak their mind.

“The hearing clearly showed that BCL does not have the support of the community at large, even after a two- year exploration licence and a further period of nearly 18 months were given,” said SMLOA chairman Philip Miriori.

“We feel the ABG has been more than fair to BCL. However, BCL have not even taken responsibility for the past or offered us any compensation, just lots of broken promises.

“The professionalism of the hearing has brought much hope to our people, where many feel they were being listened to for the first time.”

Miriori acknowledged President John Momis for his prompt response to the warden’s hearing, making the result known on a timely basis to allow for all landowners to come up with a new proposal.

The opposition to BCL was on many fronts. Repeatedly outlined by members, they include:

Legacy issues – both environmental and social impacts

  • BCL not offering compensation for legacy issues
  • The insurmountable liabilities that arise directly from these legacy issues
  • Legal advice that the BCL 2 year exploration licence actually expired 15 months ago on 7th September 2016 but LOs allowed the warden’s hearing process to continue
  • The decade long $6 billion BCL development plan
  • The absence of any meaningful community assistance over the 30 years, in particular over the 2-year term of the BCL exploration licence

Miriori said there is broad support within the Panguna community to re-establish the Panguna mine as most understand that Bougainville requires economic development urgently.

“We simply cannot continue to rely entirely on the PNG Government for handouts,” Miriori said.

“We have done a lot of work in the community over the last couple of years and despite the horrific past, we have been able to show the members that with the right people – people who respect both the environment and the importance of a social license, people with a track record we have seen for ourselves – the mine can be a success for everyone.”

Following the warden’s meeting last month, President Momis announced an indefinite moratorium on exploration and mining in Panguna.

He said the Bougainville Executive Council made a “thoughtful and considered” decision to impose an indefinite reservation moratorium in the best interest of the landowners and the people of Bougainville.

“The voice of the Panguna landowners was clearly heard during the mining warden hearing that decided in a narrow split between those supporting the mine reopening by Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) and the opponents,” said President Momis.

He stated that to develop the mine by any other developer would be “untenable” under current circumstances.

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Bougainville landowners say no return for miner BCL

Bougainville’s Panguna Copper mine

Radio New Zealand | 4 January 2018

The Bougainville landowners association that controls the former copper mine at Panguna says it is pleased the mining company Bougainville Copper Limited, or BCL, will never be welcomed back.

The company operated the mine until the outbreak of civil war in 1989.

BCL, which is part owned by the Autonomous Bougainville Government, had been vying with the Australian company RTG to reopen the mine until last month when the government placed an indefinite moratorium on mining at Panguna.

In a statement, the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association said BCL failed to win community support as it would not take responsibility for the environmental and social impacts of its previous operation, or offer any compensation.

The association’s chair Philp Miriori said it was time for Bougainville to attract a mining partner that would respect the people and make sure they all benefit.

He said there was broad support within the Panguna community to re-establish the mine as it was understood that Bougainville urgently required economic development and could not rely on the Papua New Guinea government for handouts.

“President (John) Momis has said he will now meet with the Panguna Landowners and develop an alternative plan for Panguna and we welcome the opportunity to work with the ABG,” said Mr Miriori.

“We have invested a great deal of time in this agenda over the last couple of years and believe now the road is clear to deliver a solution where all can win and we do not need to look backwards but can focus on the future.”

Last month, RTG claimed to have the association’s backing.

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BCL Panguna extension denied

PNG Industry News |  03 January 2018 

THE Bougainville Executive Council has confirmed that Bougainville Copper Ltd’s application for extension of the term of its expired mining licence at the Panguna copper mine has not received necessary landowners’ consent.

Autonomous Bougainville Government President John Momis said his government would consult with the Panguna landowners on an appropriate arrangement or the best alternative model for the development of the mine.

Until the consultation process is complete, the ABG will impose a moratorium over the grant of new licences for Panguna. 

Under the Bougainville Mining Act, a moratorium can only be implemented if there is no existing exploration licence.

Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association chairman Philip Miriori thanked Momis and the ABG for respecting the association’s opposition to BCL.

“The Panguna community broadly wants the mine to reopen,” he said. 

“We welcome very much the statement of the president that the ABG will consult with the Panguna landowners to determine the best alternative model for the development of Panguna.” 

RTG Mining Inc, the Australian mining company proposing a restart for the abandoned mine, also thanked the ABG for supporting Panguna landowners.

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