Tag Archives: Raymond Masono

Moratorium on Panguna stays

Bougainville President John Momis

PNG Industry News |  12 February 2018

IT seems that nothing will happen at the Panguna copper-gold mine until after the referendum on independence is held for the island upon which it is situated in Papua New Guinea – Bougainville.

The doors to Bougainville Copper Mines (BCL) and RTG Mining – both anxious to redevelop the mine which has been closed since 1989 – have now been firmly shut by President John Momis.

Momis has told media that the mine would remain closed until after the vote, which is expected to take place on June 15, 2019.

This follows up on a statement issued by Vice President Raymond Masono, who is also Mines Minister, in which he said that the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) had completed the legal process under the Bougainville Mining Act 2015 in relation to BCL’s application to renew its exploration licence over the Panguna mine area “and conclude that it is untenable under current circumstances for the Panguna project to proceed, resulting in a decision not to grant an extension to BCL’s exploration licence.

“Effectively BCL does not have any more tenement (sic) in Bougainville or any legal right over Panguna mineral resources and the legal ownership of the Panguna resources reverts back to the customary landowners of Panguna and the ABG.

“In making that decision to not grant an extension of terms to BCL’s tenement, the ABG has also made a decision to impose a mining reservation (moratorium) over the Panguna mine area for an indefinite period,” Masono said.

Masono added that the public was invited to comment on the Panguna moratorium and this should be submitted to the Department of Mineral and Energy Resources by close of business on March 26, 2018.

“It is in Bougainville’s best interest that the Panguna resources owners be left alone and be dealt with by the ABG alone regarding any future plans for the Panguna project moving forward when the circumstances are conducive and the moratorium is lifted.

“For BCL or RTG or any other investor to directly deal with the landowners regarding the development of the Panguna project will only result in more division and problems among the people and may affect ABG’s drive for peace and unity leading towards the referendum.

“The ABG will not accept nor be influenced by any speculations regarding its decision on the moratorium and redevelopment  of the Panguna project,” Masono concluded.

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Bougainville ban on businessman called heavy handed

The Panguna mine Photo: supplied

Radio New Zealand | 13 December 2017

An Australian mining company says a ban on businessman Renzie Duncan entering Bougainville imposed by Papua New Guinea’s acting chief migration officer is unfair.

Mr Duncan has worked with the Special Mining Lease Osikiang Landowners Association which opposes the autonomous government’s plans for the development of the Panguna mine.

Mr Duncan was banned back in May with the Immigration Authority saying his presence on Bougainville may be detrimental to the government’s efforts relating to mining.

The mining company, RTG, which also works with Osikiang and Renzie Duncan, calls the action overly heavy handed.

RTG chairman Michael Carrick said Mr Duncan had worked with the community around Panguna for about five years and won their support.

“Not because of money provided to them but because he has lived and worked with them for many many years. Renzie and the landowners [SMLOLA] could not have worked more closely with the previous two mining ministers and President Momis. Over 20 meetings to ensure that he was working in accordance with the objectives of the ABG. It was only on the appointment of the new mining minister [Raymond Masono] that that attitude changed.”

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Bougainville landowners to write 2000 signature petition over Panguna mine

Ewen Hosie | Australian Mining | December 11, 2017

Landowners in Bougainville, an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea, have expressed backing for an RTG Mining-led consortium to take over the abandoned Panguna mine instead of Bougainville Copper (BCL). The landowners are expected to present a 2000-signature petition in opposition of BCL.

The long-dormant copper mine, abandoned since 1989 due to local conflicts, is currently under consideration for redevelopment by BCL, which is now partially owned by the Bougainville Government.

The rival consortium, Central Me’ekamui Exploration, said it has the backing of local landowners, including the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (SMLOLA), however, and representatives of RTG Mining said that the BCL’s problems regarding its legacy in the region were “insurmountable”. The mine, while non-operational for three decades, was owned by Rio Tinto until last year.

The Bougainville Government has accused the consortium of bribing landowners.

“The Autonomous Bougainville Government will not entertain companies who use the back door or break and enter through the window using self-centred individuals who think they have a monopoly over the people’s resources or represent their interests,” said mining minister Raymond Masono.

The mine’s relaunch remains a keystone of Bougainville’s upcoming independence plans; Bougainville’s regional cabinet is expected to finalise Panguna’s exploration licence next year.

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Bougainville Vice President warns Panguna Landowners

The abandoned Panguna mine pit, as it is today. Photo by Catherine Wilson.

DO NOT MEDDLE WITH PANGUNA SAYS MASONO

By Aloysius Laukai | New Dawn | 6 December 2017

ABG Vice President and Minister for Mining, RAYMOND MASONO is calling on Panguna leaders, PHILIP MIRIORI and LAWRENCE DAVEONA to know that the Panguna mine is no ordinary mine.

He said that the Panguna mine has a bad history that has crippled the economy of PNG and Bougainville and with many lives lost fighting for it.

The Vice President said that the Panguna mine no longer belongs to the landowners because Bougainvilleans blood were spilt over that particular mine.

He said that whilst the resources in Panguna and other parts of Bougainville might belong to the people, the ABG has a responsibility to protect its people from unscrupulous companies whose sole interest is to exploit our people for their own economic interests.

The Vice President said that we have seen how Bougainvilleans were exploited by foreigners since colonial days and the ABG does not want a repeat of the past.

He said that he was surprised that certain individuals can so easily sell their birth right for as little as FOURTY THOUSAND KINA a month to a foreign company when foreign exploitation was one of the issues against which our people fought and died.

Also the ABG rejects companies that think they can bribe their way into the people’s resources by giving certain individuals money to gain landowner consent.

PANGUNA WILL BE DEVELOPED SAYS VICE PRESIDENT

The ABG Vice President and Mining Minister, RAYMOND MASONO says that the PANGUNA MINE in Central Bougainville will be re-developed under the Bougainville Mining Act 2015 and by a developer or developers who respect the Autonomous Bougainville Government and its laws.

In a press statement, MR. MASONO said that the developer must also come through the main door.

MR. MASONO made these remarks when commenting on a statement by RTG of a deal supposedly made between MR. PHILIP MIRIORI and LAWRENCE DAVEONA to support RTG to develop the PANGUNA mine.

He said that it seems ironic that two people who were fighting over the leadership of the Osikayang Landowners Association in court, a mediation case which is still the subject of a court decision can suddenly reconcile to support a company that does not respect the legitimate government and its mining laws.

The Vice President said that the ABG, the landowners and the people of Bougainville will not entertain companies who use the back door or break and enter through the window using self-centred individuals who think that they have a monopoly over the people’s resources or represent their interests.

He said that the landowners will decide who the preferred developer would be through a transparent process undertaken by the ABG Department of Minerals and Energy Resources currently underway.

MR. MASONO said that the process has not yet been exhausted and any deals supposedly made between landowner leaders,companies,or the National Government and in particular RTG are premature at this stage.

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Former BRA Commander Denies Signing a Resolution to Reopen Panguna Mine

Chris Baria |  Bougainvilleans United Against Mining* | 23 August 2017

Former BRA commander opposed to the reopening of Panguna mine, James Onartoo has denied claims by the media and by the ABG Vice President, Raymond Masono that he and his group had signed a resolution with pro mining BRA Commanders, Ishmael Toroama, Sam Kauona and Glyn Tovirika paving way for the reopening of Panguna.

Mr Onartoo said that while he represented the silent majority who believe that mining was not the answer to Bougainville’s future, he had no authority to sign anything that will take away people’s resources and their rights to their land.

“I am one of the many who don’t support BCL or mining in Panguna or anywhere in Bougainville but I cannot claim to have the authority to sign a resolution or an agreement on their behalf, to reopen the mine at Panguna. The reports that you have seen in the Post Courier and in the statement by ABG Vice President are untrue,” he said

Mr. Onartoo also said that he and his group which includes, women, landowners and the ex- combatants of South and Central Bougainville remain firm that Panguna must not be reopened. He pointed out that ABG is weak and lacks laws and systems to effectively regulate and to deal with a large scale mine. He said that without these mechanisms in place mining will cause more harm than good to the region.

“Mr. Masono’s claims that only a minority opposed reopening of Panguna mine is totally untrue because, the silent majority are with us and our call for “no mining” in Bougainville is gaining popularity. More and more people are beginning to realize that mining can easily strip Bougainville of it’s independence by taking control of ABG and is already causing divisons among us the ex-combatants and landowners,” Mr Onartoo said.

Mr. Onartoo appealed to BRA commanders and ABG Vice Present not to mislead the people of Bougainville regarding sensitive issues such as mining. He said that leaders must act responsively give factual information to avoid confusion that disunity.

Meanwhile, ABG efforts to reopen Panguna were dealt another blow last week when ex- combatants and officers of Panguna Mine Negotiations (PMNO) under the influence of alcohol threatened a community volunteer worker, Theonila Matbob and her family. The threats were made over the hosting of a referendum awareness program with the help of visiting Melanesian indigenous rights advocacy group, MILDA. The program was move to Arawa following the encounter with pro mining elements in Panguna.

* Bougainvilleans United Against Mining

This group is comprised of South and Central Bougainville ex-combatants, women, landowners and members of the civil society who are opposed to mining. This the group which was involved with the women in successfully stopping the MOA signing to reopen the Panguna mine

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Bougainville group adamantly against renewed mining

Radio New Zealand |  23 August 2017

A group calling itself ‘Bougainvilleans United Against Mining’ has re-stated its opposition to a resumption of mining at Panguna.

The government in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province wants the huge copper and gold mine re-opened to give the economy a lift ahead of the independence referendum to be held in 2019.

Bougainville’s Mining Minister Raymond Masono this week applauded a joint resolution by ex-combatants to back the re-opening, but one of those praised by the minister, a former Bougainville Revolutionary Army commander, James Onartoo, said he and his group do not support it.

Mr Onartoo said their group, which includes many women, landowners and ex-combatants, will not support Panguna being re-opened, or mining anywhere on Bougainville.

Members of the group joined a blockade that stopped the Autonomous Bouginaville Government (ABG) from signing a memorandum of agreement with landowners at Panguna two months ago.

Mr Onartoo says the ABG is weak and lacks the laws and systems to effectively regulate and deal with a large scale mine.

He says without these mechanisms in place a resumption of mining will cause more harm than good.

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Panguna mine protesters “not landowners”

Sebastian Hakalits | Post Courier | 22 June, 2017 

The Vice President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government Raymond Masono has expressed disgust at the action of those calling themselves hardliners that recently prevented the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).

The signing scheduled for June 16 2017 was to be done between the ABG and the Panguna Mine Affected Landowners (PMAL) and other stakeholders to the Panguna Mine.

Mr Masono said the signing would have started the process of removing impediments to reopening the Panguna Mine but the ABG team was prevented from travelling to Panguna for the signing by the group opposed to the reopening of the mine and Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL’s) return to redevelop the mine.

He said Bougainville is probably one of a few places in this country where individuals or groups disagreeing with a particular government policy can stop a legitimate government from carrying out its mandated duties for the common good of its citizens.

Mr Masono said this does not auger well for good governance, the rule of law and respect for lawful authority, that are important benchmarks in the ratification outcome of the referendum by the national government and the international community who are watching our every actions.

“What kind of signal are we sending to the United Nations and the rest of the international community with regards to Bougainville’s unity prior to the conduct of the referendum, as well as ratification by PNG and the support of the UN and the international community of the outcome,” Mr Masono asked.

The Vice President said it must also be understood that those opposed to the reopening of Panguna and the return of BCL are not landowners.

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