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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Author: Jubilee Australia
11 February 2019
...[T]he Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG)...has announced its intention to amend Bougainvilles mining laws.
...'These are radical changes and appear to be nothing more than a reckless land grab,' said Dr Luke Fletcher, Executive Director of Jubilee Australia. 'First, this would hand over control of the majority of the island to the President and his foreign partner, Mr McGlinn.
'Second, the President would have the power to unilaterally distribute leases without any consultation or permission from landowners. As a result, landowners will be cut out of the process. These amendments undermine the principal of Free, Prior and Informed Consent, said Dr Fletcher. 'Doing so is both anathema to Melanesian culture and vitally important in the Bougainville context.'
'It is not clear to us that this legislation is even constitutional,' said Dr Fletcher. 'It is a startling and dangerous move. Given the disastrous history of the Panguna mine in Bougainville, which has caused irreparable environmental damage to the Jaba river and was the major cause of the Pacific region's worst ever civil war, forcing through such enormous changes with very little consultation is a reckless and desperate ploy.'
...'As our recent study of the question demonstrates, we are highly dubious that mines like Panguna could ever raise enough revenues to satisfy both foreign investors and the people of Bougainville,' said Dr Fletcher.
'It is certainly impossible that the mine will raise any revenues before the independence vote. It will take years for the building/repair of infrastructure, the completion of environmental studies and other importance processes that need to take place before the mine can generate revenue.'
Author: Radio Free Asia
15 February 2019
Proposed changes to Bougainville's Mining Act have been referred to a parliamentary committee for further discussion.
The Autonomous Bougainville Government's proposed the changes which have met with widespread opposition as the region prepares for a referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea.
...The Bougainville Advance Mining Holdings Trust Authorisation Bill, the Bougainville Advance Mining Holdings Limited Authorisation Bill, and a bill to amend the Bougainville Mining Act 2015, have all gone through first readings.
However, after community concern over the proposed amendments, the bills were referred to the Legislative Review Committee.
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]
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.
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.
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.]
- Related stories: Papua New Guinea: Proposed changes to Bougainville mining law to accommodate Australian investor; facilitate Panguna re-opening
- Related companies: Caballus Mining
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.