Papua New Guinea: Proposed changes to Bougainville mining law to accommodate Australian investor; facilitate Panguna re-opening

Bougainville's government is considering changing its mining laws to accommodate investment and facilitate re-opening of the long-closed Panguna mine. Proposed changes to the mining legislation would 'remove complicated steps that are unnecessary'.

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Article
11 February 2019

The Remote Island Sitting on $58 Billion of Gold and Copper

Author: Aaron Clark and Dan Murtaugh, Bloomberg

11 February 2019

A mining company claiming interests in copper and gold reserves estimated at $58 billion on the Pacific island of Bougainville said its rights are under threat by efforts to revive the resource sector in the run up to a independence referendum...BCL...is warning investors that legislation proposed by Bougainville’s government will make significant changes to its mining law, including granting powers to a new British Virgin Island-registered company to take mining leases across the island....

The proposed legislation includes an amendment to the country’s Mining Act of 2015, which details rules and regulations as well as rights and compensation principles for landowners and communities...

[also refers to Bougainville Advance Mining]

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Article
8 February 2019

Rights group trying to stop large scale mining on Bougainville

Author: Radio New Zealand

8 February 2019

...a rights group in Bougainville is trying to stop amendments to the island's Mining Act which would give a foreign company exclusive rights to large scale local mining.

James Onartoo, who chairs the Bougainville Hardliners Group, said the island's civil war was caused by foreign control of large scale mining on the island.

...[T]o change the Mining Act to accommodate an Australian investor with whom they plan to start a new company called Bougainville Advance Mining....is in breach of sections 23 and 24 of Bougainville's constitution as well as the Mining Act which provide protection from a repeat of what he called "the ownership of minerals on the island by colonisers."

Mr Onartoo said Bougainville's 350,000 people don't need large scale mining which only stands to benefit foreign entities.

He said the focus should be on sustainable alluvial mining which can be more easily regulated by the autonomous region's government.

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Article
6 February 2019

Bougainville Copper faces yet another fight to reopen a big PNG mine

Author: Angela East, Stockhead

6 February 2019

Bougainville Copper's efforts to bring the past-producing Panguna mine back online is again in jeopardy over hasty moves by the Autonomous Bougainville government to make changes to the mining laws.

...[T]hree new bills were introduced to Parliament, including one that would allow a newly formed company to bypass current red tape and go straight to mining any land that is not subject to an existing exploration licence or mining lease.

...Under the new laws, the newly formed Bougainville Advance Mining Limited would be granted a special mining licence without the company even having to seek landowner approval.

Consent from the traditional landowners is required for the issue of any exploration licence on their customary land, a process which has historically escalated to wide-scale political unrest on the island.

...[T]here is strong public opinion against the government's move to change the 2015 Mining Act.

"...Bougainvilleans are becoming a bit distressed about just what it means and why [the government] spent so much time getting a really robust Mining Act put together and then in a very short time have some amendments come through that could strip away a lot of powers of the landowners and the people that actually own the resources,"....

The three new bills are due to be returned to Parliament...for further discussion.

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Article
4 February 2019

Bougainville to set up local company to reopen mine

Author: Dateline Pacific, Radio New Zealand

4 February 2019

Bougainville's government is planning to re-open the long closed Panguna mine, and operate it with a company that's majority-owned by Bougainville.

This comes after much squabbling over who should get the mining licence....

Bougainville's president, John Momis, says...a company called Bougainville Advance Mining is being set up to be owned by the government of Bougainville and an investor, Caballus Mining, owned by West Australian businessman, Jeff McGlinn.

[A transcript of the interview is linked in the attached item.]

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Article
30 January 2019

Bougainville to change Mining Act for new investor

Author: Radio New Zealand

30 January 2019

The autonomous Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville is about to change its mining law to accommodate an investor from Perth.

The company Caballus Mining, which has no public profile in the industry, has proposed it set up a company to operate mines in Bougainville.

Caballus, working with the Autonomous Bougainville Government, is pushing to change the Mining Act, which the government has hailed since its passage three years ago as the saviour of Bougainville's landowners, giving them control of the minerals on their land.

The company, which is headed by high profile Perth businessman Jeffrey McGlinn, would, together with the government and landowners, set up a company called Bougainville Advance Mining, or BAM.

It said it wanted to shortcut a number of what it calls complicated requirements in the act to fast track vital infrastructure development in Bougainville and boost employment ahead of the referendum on independence from PNG, due in June this year.

After this BAM would commence mining operations at various locations around Bougainville, maintaining, it says, stringent environmental controls.

The government is expected to pass the amendments to the Mining Act this week.

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