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 News 09.2015


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  Please note: Beginning from January 1st, 2015 the ESBC's Newsroom will NOT be updated daily. 

In future we will only cover major events on Bougainville or relevant news related to the re-opening of Bougainville Copper's Panguna mine!

Thank you for your understanding!






Source: Radio New Zealand International

Bougainville prepares for Panguna Bel Kol

The government in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville says a resumption of mining is the only way the economy can quickly become viable.
It is seen as important that the region can stand on its own feet economically before a vote on possible independence from PNG can be held.
That vote is scheduled before 2020.
Key to resumption of mining is the re-opening of the Panguna mine which has been closed since the start of the civil war in 1989.
But before that can happen a reconciliation process has to take place.
This process, called 'Bel Kol' has been widely endorsed in Bougainville and Don Wiseman asked the chairman of the Panguna Upper Tailings Landowners Association, Michael Pariu (pictured below), to explain its significance.


MICHAEL PARIU: According to our traditional custom here in Bougainville, even in Papua New Guinea, Bel Kol is the first sign where two enemies who have been enemies for some time come together. Before anything else it is more seen as a beginning process of a dialogue, just talking, to come to peace that want to come to peace.

DON WISEMAN: The Autonomous Bougainville Government is trying to organise Bel Kol in the Panguna area because it wants to resolve any residual issues ahead of possible talks on any reopening of the mine. Who would be involved in this Bel Kol process?

MICHAEL PARIU: According to what we have planned here, Bel Kol is actually the Panguna Landowners, those who have been affected by the mining as they came up that way. So the landowners have requested to do a Bel Kol and the ABG Autonomous Government to facilitate this process of Bel Kol. And this Bel Kol is to be between the Landowners of Panguna and BCL Bougainville Copper Ltd, and secondly with the Mekamui factions and BCL, and thirdly women - all women of Bougainville, and BCL and the ex-combatants of Bougainville, and BCL and the ABG, and BCL has to come all along. It is whole Bougainville is to combine together, it is whole Bougainville is to reconcile with Bougainville Copper Ltd - that is the process.

DON WISEMAN: And you have to go through this process before you can go to a point where you can talk about any reopening of the mine?

MICHAEL PARIU: Well that is the process. Once we have done this Bel Kol ceremony rituals then we sit down with the BCL then we can talk over the themes. There are a lot of issues that we can talk with BCL, we land owners, we are happy because BCL has accepted that they are open to come to Bel Kol and then we can start dialogue with them. To discuss issues about the Panguna land owners and affected landowners and all Bougainville all that process has to begin, has to begin after the Bel Kol that is the process.

DON WISEMAN: You are leading one of the Landowning groups in the Panguna area, the Panguna landowners are they supporting this possibility of the reopening of the mine?

MICHAEL PARIU: Landowners of Panguna they requested that after Bel Kol we sit down and we discuss and look at ways to resettle the villages, relocation of the villages, resettlement all these issues and environmental preservation or redevelopment of environment all this. Because all these things will lead up to the mine opening. So that is how the land owners are talking, and that is how the land owners are thinking, and land owners are coming along that way.

DON WISEMAN: Just to clarify then there are a lot of steps that need to be gone through before you would actually be in a position where you would consider that question of a reopening?

MICHAEL PARIU: Yes, it is not so long or too big, but mine opening is the last resort when we talk about all these things, and it's possible. And as and when the land owners are satisfied with this, because it is the start of the negotiations that is how it comes to. And for the simple people of Panguna landowners, they are looking along the line that mine opening would be the last thing and that is the climax that is the thing that will end up all these negotiations after the Bel Kol.

DON WISEMAN: There is a fringe group that has appeared calling themselves the Central Bougainville Hardliners who are opposed to the Bel Kol process. Do they have any sway do they have any weight?

MICHAEL PARIU: Well at the moment according to my understanding, Bougainville wide has supported the Bel Kol and most of the central they have supported the Bel Kol. And the authorities on the ground, the local level government, that is the council of elders in the central area they all support this Bel Kol. Even in the Northern and Southern regions they have supported that Bel Kol is the way forward. I don't have the information on this so called hard liners having weight, back up I don't believe that. Its just a few trouble makers they want to create more problems that is what they are doing.





Source: PNG Attitude



Paul Coleman, renaissance mining executive, dies in Brisbane

John Momis & Paul ColemanKEITH JACKSON

PAUL Coleman OBE – a mining executive who understood the impact of resource extraction on landholders and allowed it to influence his approach to the task – died in Brisbane on Saturday after a lengthy fight with cancer.

Last year, Papua New Guinea made Paul an Officer in the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his service to commerce, the mining sector and charities.

Just a fortnight ago, although very ill, Paul, conscious of his long-standing position as PNG manager for Rio Tinto and as company secretary of Bougainville Copper Limited, made a final visit to PNG.

It was a tough final journey, but he said farewell to his colleagues and friends and to the country he had served with great distinction for many years.

Paul Coleman (left) and John Momis (right) at a meeting in Buka (Aloysius Laukai)In his approach to managing BCL’s return to Bougainville in recent years, a task in which I was able to observe him closely as a consultant to BCL, Paul showed he had learned well the lessons of the past.

He knew how to avoid the pitfalls of mining in sensitive social and environmental situations. He established a secure pathway for those who followed.

Paul was a gradualist in his methods, understanding the need to consult each step of the way and knowing it was better to move slowly with people’s full assent than hastily in defiance of their concerns.

He possessed great sympathy and support for the aspirations of PNG and Bougainville, and ensured that BCL adopted a philanthropic not just a commercial approach to its activities.

In doing this, he built a large network of admirers and friends in PNG and in the autonomous province.

The BCL board of directors, expressing deep sadness at his death, said that Paul “was integral to the restoration of dialogue between the Autonomous Bougainville Government and BCL” and paid tribute to his activities in community and philanthropic activities in PNG.

Paul ColemanIn a statement, the management and staff of Rio Tinto PNG said they were “mourning the loss of our colleague and great friend.”

Paul leaves behind his dear wife Kym.



Source: ESBC




The European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper (ESBC)