Panguna Reopening Inevitable
by PNG Business News - May 09, 2022
Photo credit: RNZ / Johnny Blades
The reopening of the Panguna Mine has become inevitable following an agreement between the landowners and the Autonomous Bougainville Government to reopen the multibillion kina defunct mine.
Following the meeting of the ABG and the Panguna Mine Landowner Clan Chiefs held at Tunuru Catholic Mission, Kieta District on Wednesday 04 May 2O22 and the signing of the Post Summit Resolution between the ABG and the landowners both parties have agreed to reopen the mine.
The ABG and the Panguna landowners have also agreed that the government with the landowners will jointly establish a completely new local Bougainville entity to develop the mine, and not an existing entity that has had history with the Panguna Mine.
The completely new local Bougainville entity once established, will be jointly owned by the Panguna Mine Landowners and ABG on behalf of the people of Bougainville.
The five major clans; Mantaá, Basikang, Barapang, Bakoringku and Kurabang and their 22 sub clans have unanimously agreed to the undertaking in partnership with the Autonomous Bougainville Government.
Bougainville President Ishmael Toroama who signed on behalf of the Autonomous Bougainville Government has congratulated the landowners on their courage to finally put aside their differences and work with the government.
‘’The Panguna Mine was the economic guarantee for Papua New Guinea’s independence in 1975, in the same manner the Panguna will be the economic guarantor for Bougainville’s Independence,’’ declared President Toroama.
‘’In 1988 when the Bougainville Revolutionary Army High Command decided to shut down the Panguna Mine, the Late Francis Ona incentivized the mine as the key to Bougainville’s independence,’’ President Toroama revealed.
‘’Today as we stand on the threshold of creating a new future for Bougainville where we are finally on the path to independence I stand here to thank the landowners of Panguna in making a strong decision on the fate of the mine,’’ President Toroama said.
President Toroama assured the landowners that the Autonomous Bougainville Government will work in partnership with the landowners in creating the locally owned entity to redevelop the mine.
He said the government will not compromise the rights of the landowners but will work towards ensuring a benefit sharing agreement that benefits all of Bougainville.
Article courtesy of ABG
PNG Business News - April 26, 2021
Bougainville President Says Panguna Mine Talks on Hold
President Ishmael Toroama of Bougainville has said that any talks on the infamous Panguna mine will be placed on hold until the government is satisfied that all parties concerned are happy and determined to speak about reopening the mine. When unveiling the Autonomous Bougainville Government's Independence-ready mission to the citizens of Roreinang in the South Nasioi constituency of inland Central Bougainville last Thursday, Mr Toroama made this remark. He stated that it is no secret that the region's taxes only amount to K20 million, which is insufficient to keep it afloat economically. Although President Toroama said Bougainville is looking at ventures that will help it become economically self-sufficient as it works toward independence, he said the country cannot discuss Panguna just yet. The government is looking at the reconstruction of the Manetai Limestone Project in Central Bougainville, as well as bringing in an investor to work on the Tonolei timber project in South Bougainville project before the end of the year. President Toroama also announced that the Kieta Port would begin exporting processed cocoa. He said that he wants people to work hard to grow Bougainvillean products. Mr Toroama also stated that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the area must register in order to pay taxes to the government, which will support Bougainville's tax and revenue bases. He claims that by doing so, the country can demonstrate that it is ready for freedom and can fend for itself. People only hinder the advent of an independent society, he claimed, because they disregard the constitution and are unable to act independently and in favour of the ultimate goal of self-rule. “When you destroy schools, hospitals or communication towers, you are not helping to ready Bougainville for independence. “We must respect government properties, we must work with development partners and we must work hard within our families, our communities and constituencies to make Bougainville Independence ready,” President Toroama said. “We must work on our cocoa blocks. We must grow our small businesses and we must create original products to market to grow our economy. “Since assuming office, I have been cleaning out our government and its agencies. “Government departments are aligning themselves with the government’s six-goal strategy to attain independence for Bougainville, and that is the preparation we are undertaking at the top level. “Only then can we be seen to be ready to be an independent nation.”
PNG Business News - August 02, 2021
ABG Applauds Miner's Decision
Photo Credit: Ilya Gridneff/AAP Rio Tinto and Bougainville Copper Limited's attempt to address remaining legacy concerns from the Panguna mine has been appreciated by the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG). From 1973 until 1989, President Ishmael Toroama claimed that the Panguna mine was exclusively responsible for funding Papua New Guinea's independence and providing its economic basis. Despite the mine's financial rewards, he added, Rio Tinto and BCL's inability to address environmental harm and local population relocation generated conflict between the people of Bougainville and the corporations, including the national government. “Left unintended these issues became one of the major factors that directly contributed to the 10-year Bougainville civil war,” he said. “In the last 30 years since the mine ceased operations, there is still extensive damage of the environment within the special mining lease and lower tailings (area).” According to Toroama, an environmental evaluation will be conducted to determine the entire extent of the mine's harm. He expressed his government's satisfaction that Rio Tinto and BCL were taking responsibility for their conduct, and he thanked the Human Rights Law Centre for giving legal advice and allowing complainants to submit their complaints to the organization for economic cooperation and development. He also thanked the Australia National Contact Point for helping to facilitate the conversation. The president praised Minister of Education Theonila Matbob for her efforts on behalf of the people in pursuing the subject. “It was through her perseverance that we have been able to reach an amicable solution with Rio Tinto and BCL,” he said. Meanwhile, Toroama put to rest rumours that his administration will give Panguna Mine concessions. “The mine will remain closed until such time as all outstanding issues have been addressed,” he said. “My government’s main agenda is to progress development and prepare our people for independence.” Reference: The National (29 July 2021). “ABG welcomes miner’s move”.
PNG Business News - March 11, 2021
Chances of Panguna Mine Re-Opening Improving
The head of one of the Bougainville landowner groups impacted by the Panguna mine says it is up to the landowners to decide whether or not to reopen the mine. The Panguna Mine was at the heart of the ten-year Bougainville civil war, and it was forced to close in 1989 when it was PNG's largest export earner. But, thanks to Panguna Development Company Ltd, which has brought together almost all of the landowner parties, there is renewed talk of reopening the closed mine. An agreement has been reached to help Bougainville Copper Ltd, a former miner, in its search for an exploration license, and to offer landowners shares in the venture. There has also been widespread opposition to resuming mining at Panguna, but Therese Jaintong, chair of the Siokate landowners' party, said it is up to them to decide. "The landowners are empowered by the Bougainville Mining Act. So whatever they say they have the power with the government - all of us talking together. We are coming close to finding some good solutions," she said. According to Jaintong, they decided to put together all interested parties to discuss the mine's future. "We are very genuine that what we want to see is BCL and Rio Tinto and the National Government and the ABG to sit together with us landowners, mine-affected, and we come with some plans to find a solution to this," she said. "There's no use fighting over it and then bringing new issues, new structures, new people - so we are very genuine together." SMLOLA, which had previously backed another developer, is the only mine-affected landowner party that has declined to sign the resolution. Jeff Clason, an organizer with Panguna Development Company Ltd, said that reopening the contentious mine was still the best way for the area to develop a viable economy. He said there was support for reopening, particularly because Bougainville's other options are limited. "In this age and what we are going through, we already voted 98 per cent for independence and if they can come up with another strategy to make Bougainville we'd listen to them," he said. "But they haven't come up with anything mate. As you the bottom line is every country needs money."
PNG Business News - June 05, 2023
PNG PM Marape Participates in PIF Leaders Breakfast Caucas
Photo: PNG PM Marape Participates in PIF Leaders Breakfast Caucas Prior to the Korean-Pacific Islands Leaders (Kor-Pic) Meeting, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Marape joined other PIC Leaders for a breakfast caucus Chaired by Cook Islands Prime Minister and current Pacific Islands Forum Chair Mark Brown, to discuss the agenda and a common position on shared development issues. Prime Minister Marape said climate variation, being the perennial issue including sourcing appropriate development assistance from the Korean Government was high on the agenda. He said the encouragement during the caucus was for all PIC Leaders to discuss their developmental challenges and put forward their ideas on how Korean Development assistance could complement the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy. Following this caucus, Prime Minister Marape, met with Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles. Their discussions were centered around progress of the proposed Bilateral Security Treaty (BST), the recently concluded Defense Cooperation Agreement with the US, Visa issues and the PNG NRL Bid. On the BST, Prime Minister Marape mentioned that it was work in progress and required the PNG side to consult our domestic processes and sovereign laws in relation to certain wordings and provisions. He also conveyed his apologies to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for the delay in formalising this proposed Treaty with Australia. For the DCA with the US, Prime Minister Marape informed that it was centered around improving the PNGDF's capabilities and interoperability including protecting our frontiers and sovereignty. He said it was non-discriminatory and PNG was open to entering into similar arrangements with its bilateral partners. “In fact, the DCA would also complement domestic law enforcement,” Prime Minister Marape said. “The Ship Rider Agreement on the other hand was also vital in combating illegal fishing and transnational crimes.” For Visa issues, Deputy Prime Minister Marles informed that the current Australian Government was fully aware of the situation and following the Ministerial Forum in February this year in Canberra, had established a Joint Ministerial Team to work on bringing the Australian visa processing facility back on shore to PNG. Prime Minister Marape in his response said that all processes from both sides had to be attended to in order for smooth facilitation and for citizens and businesses to continue without much hindrance now and heading into 2050 when PNG celebrates 50 years of nationhood. On Papua New Guinea’s NRL Bid, Prime Minister Marape explained that PNG was still very keen as rugby league was a major unifying factor, bringing our 800 tribes together as one people. In closing Prime Minister Marape assured Deputy Prime Minister Marles that PNG in no way would compromise its excellent existing bilateral relations with Australia and further stressed that PNG was capable of managing its sovereign affairs on its terms, systems and processes.
PNG Business News - June 05, 2023
ADB Helps Launch Vocational Education Project in PNG
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) today launched a cofinanced project to improve the country’s technical and vocational education and training (TVET) program. PNG's Deputy Prime Minister John Rosso delivered a keynote address at the launch event at Port Moresby Technical College. PNG’s Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, and Sports Don Polye, ADB Country Director for Papua New Guinea David Hill, and Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor Paul Lehmann all spoke at the event. The Improved Technical and Vocational Education and Training for Employment Project financed by ADB and the governments of Australia and PNG will strengthen the country’s TVET program and help prepare students to be more competitive and responsive to employment and industry demands. “We hope this project will become a model for all vocational education and skills training in TVET colleges in the country,” said Mr. Rosso. “The beneficiaries of this project—young, skilled workers, including women and men—represent PNG’s future, and through this project, the future of vocational education in PNG looks bright.” This project aims to boost the numbers of skilled workers in the construction and agriculture sectors where demand is high. “We will work with our partners to help advance reforms in the vocational education and skills training space in PNG,” said Mr.Hill. “These sought-after skills in priority sectors will help grow PNG’s economy.” The TVET sector of PNG’s education system comprises public, religious, or private institutions, including technical and business colleges offering postsecondary courses and vocational training. “The Australian government is pleased to be supporting the Government of Papua New Guinea to achieve its reform goals in technical and vocational education and training to increase the number and quality of skilled workers,” said Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor Paul Lehmann. “My vision for the TVET for Employment Project is that it will perform as an innovation and technology business incubator across PNG,” said Mr. Polye. “The project is the embodiment of a new approach—building a culture of quality education and innovation in a renewed and revitalized TVET sector.” The Improved Technical and Vocational Education and Training for Employment Project is funded through a $50 million concessional loan from ADB and a $10.6 million grant from Australia. The Government of PNG is also contributing $5.7 million. ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.
PNG Business News - June 05, 2023
PNG Forges an Innovation-fueled Partnership with South Korea in Digital Transformation
Papua New Guinea was amongst seven other Pacific Island countries to sign a partnership statement of intent with the Republic of Korea to further cooperation and partnership in digital transformation. Information and Communications Technology Minister Timothy Masiu, who also was appointed co- chair of the just concluded Korea -Pacific Islands Digital Ministerial Conference in Seoul, South Korea, signed the statement together with the meeting chairman Korean Minister for Science and ICT Dr Lee Jong-Ho. The others who signed the partnership intent are Tonga, Nauru, Samoa, Palau, Cook Islands and Kiribati. Australia and the World Bank also attended the meeting as supporting partners. The Statement of Intent states; The partnership recognize digitalization has transformed not only daily lives but also shapes innovation in all sectors including politics, economy, society, culture and environment. Recognize and note that digital technology offers great potential to address various social economic challenges that come with rapid transformation of society. Agree on continued partnership in digital transformation inclusive of sustainable development will be the key to future prosperity of the people of Korea and the pacific. Agree on sharing digital vision of policies will pave way for strong partnership to digital co-prosperity. Mr Masiu expressed deep satisfaction that Korea , the global leading innovation country, has agreed to partner with Pacific countries including Papua New Guinea in digital transformation that will greatly enhance communication in a vast area like the Pacific and more so, strengthen supporting technology to better access to health, education and business. He told the conference that Papua New Guinea has begun the digital transformation with Parliament passing the Digital Government Act 2022 and relevant policies, and welcomed the partnership with the Republic of Korea, which he says, will go a long way in progressing the digital transformation agenda for PNG and the region. Mr Masiu had bilateral meeting with his South Korean counterpart, further seeking a stronger country to country relations in digital transformation and support to the National Broadcasting Corporation proposing a partnership between the NBC and the Korean Broadcasting Services. The Minister has formally invited the Korean Minister for Science and ICT to visit Papua New Guinea for the Pacific ICT meeting in August 2023 or to accompany the South Korean President who has been invited by Prime Minister James Marape to visit PNG. Mr Marape was in Seoul also this week for the Korea- Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting. Minister Dr Lee Jong-Ho acknowledges the leadership of Papua New Guinea in digital transformation and reaffirmed its support to PNG and the other Pacific Island countries.