Tag Archives: PNG development

New Bougainville vice-president faces BFM criticism over mining policy

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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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Landholders say more LNG protests are imminent

Delays in royalty payments are frustrating landowners

Delays in royalty payments are frustrating landowners

Jeffrey Elapa | Post Courier | February 23,2017

MORE landowner protests are imminent as the Government continues to neglect them and delay payments that they rightfully deserve.

In addition to the protest plan by the PNG LNG plant site landowners, the upstream landowners also plan to protest and shut down the PNG LNG project after continuous delay by the Government in releasing their funds.

The concern was brought to the Minister for Petroleum and Energy Nixon Duban yesterday but he did not respond.

Hides PDL 7 landowners Umbrella Association chairman Chris Payabe said it is really frustrating for the Government to continue to delay all payments, including the recent payment of K35 million for the Hides landowners.

He said the K35 million is a commitment made to the landowners in order for them to open the gate to the PNG LNG condensation plant and other vital projects by the disgruntled landowners. He said through a MOA signed by the State, MRDC and Kumul Petroleum Holdings with the landowners in Hides, the payment was to be made within two weeks, but since August 18 last year the landowners are still waiting as the Government continues to play its delay tactics.

He said the court order O/S 196 is related to the payment of IDG for 2013 and not related to any other funding and the Government should not mislead the people.

“The plaintiffs to the matter Robert Mai and the respondent the Hela Provincial Government through its legal officer had cleared the payment of the K35m as it does not relate to the IDGs, or any other issues such as the Agore lands issues and payments, therefore we want our payment to be made to us instead of giving excuses.

“We also want ExxonMobil to talk to the State as they are the ones party to the project as their failure would have serious repercussions on the projects as we are ready to stop the project. ExxonMobil should not take a back stage but should negotiate with the state to have our payments settled,” he said.

Mr Payabe said they also want the K6.8 million payments from the Department of Petroleum and Energy while other important commitments are still pending.

“The state should not give us any more excuses but tell us if they are going to pay us or not. If they have money or not so we know the reason for the delay as there is no court matter stopping the payment of the K35 million and the K6.8 million payments,” he said.

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Protesters angry about unpaid royalties picket LNG plant near Port Moresby

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‘Pay our royalties!!!’ is the call from protesters picketing PNG LNG.

Eric Tlozek | ABC News | 20 February 2017

Villagers in Papua New Guinea are blockading the country’s biggest resources project because the government has not paid them long overdue royalties.

Hundreds of people who live near the PNG liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant outside Port Moresby have gathered around the main gate in an attempt to block access.

The PNG Government is yet to pay royalties from the $25 billion project, because of disputes about the identification of landowners from the gas fields and pipeline in the country’s highlands.

An attempt at alternative dispute resolution has stalled and the matter remains in court.

But a spokesman for the Port Moresby landowners, Chief Nao Nao, said that should not stop the government paying people from other areas.

PHOTO: Police were nearby but the action is being described as a "peaceful protest". (ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

PHOTO: Police were nearby but the action is being described as a “peaceful protest”. (ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

“The people are very frustrated today,” he said.

“They are unhappy with when they haven’t been receiving this royalty until today. So they are all here to show their pleas to the government: can you make an effort to pay us?”

Another spokesman for the protesters, Solo Damena, said the Port Moresby group believed they were being taken for granted because they had not threatened violence, unlike other aggrieved landowners.

The fact is, they’re really, really upset,” he said.

“We’re not going to move until we get paid.”

This is the second major protest affecting the LNG project.

Landowners from the gas fields in Hela Province blockaded the entrance to the conditioning plant at Hides in August 2016 over the non-payment of royalties and fears they would miss out on promised equity in the project.

PHOTO: The protesters want no ifs, ands or buts about their royalties. (ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

PHOTO: The protesters want no ifs, ands or buts about their royalties. (ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

Papua New Guinea’s LNG’s operator ExxonMobil issued a statement saying the protest had not affected operations at the plant.

“ExxonMobil PNG is monitoring the peaceful protest outside the LNG plant in Central Province and continuing to engage with the relevant landowner groups,” the statement said.

“Our primary concern is the safety of our staff and the community. While this is a matter between the landowners and the government, we are continuing to do everything we can to facilitate communication between all parties.

“We respect the right of individuals to peacefully protest, but we also encourage continued dialogue between landowners and the government to resolve their outstanding issues.

“We hope that landowners and the government can resolve this situation promptly and in an amicable manner.”

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Large-scale mining not PNG culture driving the spread of HIV/Aids

A recent mining boom has financially advantaged local and travelling men, who are driving an increase of sexual concurrency, transactional sex and inflation of bride price payments.

A recent mining boom has financially advantaged local and travelling men, who are driving an increase of sexual concurrency, transactional sex and inflation of bride price payments.

‘Good culture, bad culture’: polygyny, cultural change and structural drivers of HIV in Papua New Guinea

Patti Shih, Heather Worth, Joanne Travaglia & Angela Kelly-Hanku | 16 February 2017

Culture is often problematised as a key structural driver of HIV transmission in Papua New Guinea. Official HIV programmes, as well as church teachings, tend to focus on customary marital practices of polygyny and bride price payments as ‘harmful traditions’. This focus can oversimplify the effects of current and historical nuances of cultural, political and economic change on sexual concurrency and gender inequality.

Community-based healthcare workers in Southern Highlands Province explain that customary marital practices are now highly reconfigured from their traditional forms. A recent mining boom has financially advantaged local and travelling men, who are driving an increase of sexual concurrency, transactional sex and inflation of bride price payments.

Healthcare workers suggest that the erosion of important social relationships and kinship obligations by the expanding cash economy has caused an intensification of individual male power while enhancing the vulnerability of women. Yet without the means to challenge the effects of uneven economic development, healthcare workers are left to target ‘culture’ as the central influence on individual behaviours.

A commitment to address structural inequality by political leadership and in HIV prevention programmes and a careful contextualisation of cultural change is needed.

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SME mining creating jobs for youths in Bulolo

alluvial watut

Post Courier | February 14, 2017

A SMALL to medium enterprise (SME) in Bulolo, Morobe Province is having a positive impact on youths in this area.

TRocks Construction Ltd  owned by Berldon Timah is a four-month old small scale alluvial mining company. Mr Timah said to date the company has created jobs for 48 workers who have been rostered on two shifts. He said business has been good but more could be achieved particularly for the youths in these rural areas through government intervention.

Apart from this venture, Mr Timah has established a small foundation in the area which provides help for the local schools, not just in this area but to neighboring Eastern Highlands Province as well. Timah says of the revenue generated from his projects 10 per cent goes towards the foundation’s activities.

Meanwhile, the foundation, with support from Mr Timah’s company has provided help by assisting disadvantaged communities with road projects and other basic services.

The foundation has also funded school infrastructure and supplies in the Eastern Highlands and Morobe Provinces.

Mr Timah said all his work was not to gain glory but to help give back to the community.

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Tribal fighting is the biggest threat to the LNG project: Potape

Photo: AFP

Post Courier | February 14, 2017

TWO separate killings have been reported in Komo station in front of security force personnel on call-out operations in Hela Province.

Deputy Governor Thomas Potape when confirming the latest killing said tribal fighting is the biggest threat to the LNG Project.

Mr Potape who is also the president of the Komo local level government said despite more than seven security force vehicle presence, a community leader was killed right at the Komo Government Station on Sunday.

He said another community leader was killed at the same station last week.

“I have all the names of all suspects in Komo LLG, the biggest threat to LNG is the tribal fighting in Komo. I am prepared to assist security forces to move into Komo.”

Mr Potape said he was in Komo for the last two weeks and the killing occurred during the call-out even when seven to nine security force vehicles were there, it did not stop the killing.

“Komo has a record in killing police, army and councilors. I have 24 councils, one was killed, they held up myself, Governor, Minister for Higher Education, police vehicles. They do not have respect for Government and the rule of law.

He said four main areas have been identified and security personnel should move in numbers to protect assets like the Komo International airport and Condensation Plant for PDL1 and 7.

He said the other three identified hot-spots are Pai Kelia, Tari town and Tagali.

“Security forces should target these four trouble hot-spots. All records are with police.

Get all these information and announce the suspect’s name in public, which village, districts and council Ward he is from. Who is his Council President? Name them and move in and the community will assist hand them in.”

“I don’t want government to spend more money without any result. I will support moves to arrest all those suspects and tribal warlords in Komo. There is so much killing. I am ashamed.”

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Government allocates additional K2m for Hela LNG Operation

Police and soldiers in Papua New Guinea wait to board a flight to the Hela Province highlands. (ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

Police and soldiers wait to board a flight to Hela Province  (ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

NBC | One Papua New Guinea | 4 February 2017

The National Government has allocated another K2 million for the special law and order call-out operations in Hela province.

Governor, Francis Potape, revealed to NBC News that the K2 million adds to an initial K11 million allocation for the operation.

Mr. Potape says, the additional funding is to cater for local police who were overlooked in the initial funding.

“The callout operations is going good so far.

“We had 200 manpower, 150 are policemen and 40 or 50 soldiers.

“So bulk of the security forces are in Tari but we have a team in Koroba and also in Komo and Magarima.

“We had 3 gun surrenders. Some highpowered guns have been returned. Those are not the guns that we are expecting. We want more guns to come out. We wanted it to be faster but its bit slow.

“So the provincial government in consultation with the security forces we’ve set a deadline for each LLG’s, and all the guns and all the warlords from the LLG’s must surrender your weapons on that day. And it will start on the 13th.13th of February in Hulia and 14th for South Koroba and 15 so we have 13 LLG’s so everything starts on the 13th”.

Weapons surrendered during the call out will be destroyed on the 27th February while the first phase of the call out is expected to end on the 28th.

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