Category Archives: bougainville


Report from the Rio Tinto AGM in London on 15 April 2010

Panguna Mine, Bougainville
Clive Porabou from Bougainville said that the company’s BCL subsidiary had caused massive destruction to land in Bougainville and its operations had led to a war which had cost 20,000 lives. A court case had been brought against the company in the USA. Would the company compensate the people of Bougainville for the destruction it had caused? BCL was now trying to go back in and reopen the mine, which would repeat the whole process. Would Rio Tinto warn them of the dangers of doing so?
Jan du Plessis said that the company had not operated in Bougainville since 1989. When it did operate, it employed 2800 people and contributed 10% of Papua New Guinea’s GDP. In 2001 a peace agreement was signed between the PNG Government and the separatists. The company understands that it cannot recommence operations without proper consultation with the stakeholders.
Tom Albanese said that the company respects the long-term peace process and the actions of the Government of Bougainville, the landholders and the Government of Papua New Guinea.
It is noteworthy that neither the Chairman nor the CEO commented on the lawsuit brought against the company in the USA.

See the full report at

Avatar and Bougainville??

Avatar and Bougainville: A Parallel History? « Tubuans.

Riotinto deserves the pain

riotintoI’ve posted several times before on the many crimes of Riotinto – bunkered down in their London headquarters (formerly 6 St James Square, now 2 Eastbourne Terrace), they plunder the world with near impunity, though Partizans, Minewatch and this bunch of activist-lawyers (below) are keen to dent their stock. Oh, and the Chinese deal went comically wrong which was also entertaining. None of this is sufficient yet, but the long arm of legalese may still raise a few bucks compensation for Bougainville. Have a look at the RTZ brochures/website on a quiet day if you ever feel the need to get incensed about something – they hand them out at the office (reminder 2 Eastbourne Terrace, near paddington). Here is the latest from the lefty-legal firm:

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro: Plaintiffs Celebrate as Rio Tinto Loses

August 3, 2009 6:52 PM EDT

SEATTLE, Aug. 3 /PRNewswire/ — The United States Federal Court again rejected arguments from Rio Tinto (NYSE: RTP) late last week, in a massive human rights claim brought by South Pacific islanders claiming the world’s largest mining company conspired with the government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) in crimes against humanity, racial discrimination and war crimes.

In the most recent ruling, Judge Margaret M. Morrow held that the heinous nature of the allegations led to the court’s conclusion not to impose an “exhaustion requirement” with respect to the claims.

An exhaustion requirement would require the Court to explore the possibility of dismissing the case in the United States, leaving plaintiffs to start the legal process all over again in Papua New Guinea.

“Rio Tinto has tried every possible stalling tactic to prolong the case,” said Steve Berman, lead attorney and managing partner at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro. “Now that the court has rejected Rio’s arguments again, we’re eager to move this case forward so that the people of PNG can receive the justice they deserve.”

The case, originally filed in 2000 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, seeks to represent Bougainville island residents exposed to toxins resulting from Rio Tinto mine operations and those who were injured or killed during the political and social conflict between Rio Tinto and PNG citizens, which began in 1989 and raged until 1999.

Rio Tinto has argued for years that despite the Alien Tort Claims Act explicitly stating that foreign nationals can bring suit in the United States against companies that violate international law, plaintiffs in the Rio Tinto case should not be allowed to do so. Rio Tinto is the parent company of subsidiary U.S. Borax Inc., headquartered in Los Angeles.

“We are anxious to show the world evidence of the company’s participation in these international law violations from former senior level army officers,” said Berman. “We are eager to introduce evidence showing that Rio supplied gunships and supplies and facilitated war crimes in order to keep revenues from their mine flowing.”

According to a declaration by General Singirok, commander of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) at the time of the alleged atrocities in the 1990s,”the PNGDF was Rio Tinto’s personal security force and was ordered to take action by any means necessary.”

“We can only hope that Judge Morrow’s thorough and reasoned opinion will allow victims in this case an opportunity to prove the allegations against Rio for its indefensible human rights violations,” Berman continued.

About Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro

The law firm of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro is based in Seattle with offices in Chicago, Cambridge, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Francisco. Since the firm’s founding in 1993, it has developed a nationally recognized practice in class-action and complex litigation. Among recent successes, HBSS has negotiated a pending $300 million settlement as lead counsel in the DRAM memory antitrust litigation; a $340 million recovery on behalf of Enron employees which is awaiting distribution; a $150 million settlement involving charges of illegally inflated charges for the drug Lupron, and served as co-counsel on the Visa/Mastercard litigation which resulted in a $3 billion settlement, the largest anti-trust settlement to date. HBSS also served as counsel in a $850 million settlement in the Washington Public Power Supply litigation and represented Washington and 12 other states in lawsuits against the tobacco industry that resulted in the largest settlement in the history of litigation. For a complete listing of HBSS cases, visit

    Steve Berman Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro (206) 623-7292
    Mark Firmani Firmani + Associates Inc. (206) 443-9357

SOURCE Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro

Bougainville calling!

Here below is a little bit of madness from our friends in Bourgainville – or rather from the people at the National Business Review, so of course its mad, even if it turns out to be true. Call me.

[I am adding this pic I ripped out of a newspaper in Germany in 1997 because I just love the caption, which is wrongheaded in so many ways - but also references catapults, which I agree is a stone age way of thinking for a telecommunications company - sheesh - was this designed just to rile us up with its cod primitivism?]

And the article has a nice twist at the end on tourism, which I think will be my way in to writing about the islands once again (for the Canadian CASCA conference in May perhaps):

Pacific Periscope:

By Dev Nadkarni

Phones worth their weight in gold

The autonomous Bougainville government is close to striking a deal with a Korean company that will bring a reliable telephone network to this remote island territory off the coast of Papua New Guinea.

Years of strife and violence in its bid to break away from PNG have left the territory without much of a cash economy. Bougainville, though, is rich in minerals and the government has decided to leverage that natural wealth to pay for the new telephone system: It is proposing to give the Korean-owned Airlink rights to mine gold in exchange for phones.

Airlink and the Bougainville Executive Council have been negotiating extensively and a deal will likely be signed in the next few weeks – though details on the extent of the network and the mining licences to compensate for it are sketchy at this stage.

The autonomous government believes the new telecommunication system will help Bougainville exploit its huge tourism potential – particularly in the WW-II nostalgia sector – in the years to come”

Australian Imperialism in Asia Pacific

Closet Cleaner – notes for a talk delivered at the European Social Forum 2004. Some small updates of minimal significance inserted to acknowledge that everything is totally changed now that Australia has a new PM. For sure[2007].

Australian Imperialism in Asia Pacific

Three or four major scenarios rather than a full listing of the national biography of a wannabee regional super power:

“In spite of being a small to medium power, Australian troops have been regularly deployed overseas. This has continued recently in support of U.S./Alliance activities, or in UN operations (in the 1990s, Australian troops were involved in UN operations in Cambodia, Cyprus, Egypt, Middle East, Rwanda and East Timor). In past, of course, Australia fought most of its wars overseas (the Boer War, World War I, most of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War). Now Australia is regularly involved with joint operations and training exercises with Southeast Asian neighbours, though often these are hosted in Australia (see Ball & Kerr 1996). Likewise, Australia is engaged in fairly wide ranging air patrols of sections the Indian and Pacific Oceans, using P-3C Orion aircraft, some still operating out of Butterworth airforce base in Malaysia (Ball & Kerr 1996).” R. James Ferguson 2000 here

- Malaysia – after fighting in the war, many captured at the fall of Saigon, and bloody battles along the Burmese trail, Australian military participation in the Emergency in Malaya post WW11 was an unglamourous anti communist pursuit. Malaya: The Undeclared War, directed by Robert Lemkin in 1998 tells the story of the origins of the Internal Security Act, the original strategic hamlets idea. Now operating globally through the Detentions facility near you. From the richest between the wars colony, Malaysia becomes latterly still the base for economic extraction coupled with Australian military presence – Butterworth (a staging post for Vietnam activity on the part of the last Iroquois helicopter squadron of the RAAF, and with the close alliance with the US “nuclear weapons were also deployed at the Royal Australian Air Force base in Butterworth, Malaysia”, and a training facility for deep jungle warfare techniques, joint operations and ‘manouvres’).
((On nukes: UK based academic Richard Moore, reported in Malaysiakini 03 Jan 2001 – see the report which is lodged here.
On Vietnam and the RAAF, ‘The third and last RAAF operational squadron to serve in Vietnam was No.2 Squadron. It returned to Australia in Jun 71, 13 years after having left Australia from Darwin en route to Butterworth, Malaysia’.Documentation, in somwhat unusual format, is conveniently here.;
The ‘manoeuvres’ comment is a personal observation from spending time drinking with Australian service personnel in the bars of the Penang tourist strip)).
There is much to be said about our imperial dealings with Malaysia, and lets recall its ‘recalcitrant’ previous PM Mahathir, who enjoyed a critical client relationship with Australia, but perhaps the detentions issue will do for a souvenir – today[written 2004], the so-called ‘Pacific’ solution of John Howard (inexplicably elected again in Oct 2004 [postscript – replaced by Rudd 2007, um, hooray]) has Australia’s ever more draconian immigration laws tightening the screws on all those ‘queue jumpers’ and maintaining detention issues on Manus, basically Australia is outsourcing its Detention facilities to client states.

- Something learnt in Malaysia and put to good effect in Vietnam – another major anti communist counter revolutionary action, this time all the way with LBJ, if anyone remembers the ideological support for these actions – not just M*A*S*H (about Korea, but not really, very popular in Australia) just recall the TV show The Sullivans, glorifying the pluck of those Sullivan boys in WW2 covert-ops behind enemy lines (Apocalypse Now but with OZ accents, ostensibly WW2, but also seemingly aimed at the Vietnam conflict. I keep mentioning films because there is also a media imperialism element to all this, not just owned by Murdoch with Star TV, but also ABC Asian Pacific, but also less easily placed documentarists like Denis O’Rourke who made The Good Woman of Bangkok and no doubt all manner of ‘I’ve been to Bali too’ home videos). Whatever the case, in Vietnam the apocalypse meant 3 million dead for the crime of opposing colonialism and wanting to have a say in the running of their own lives. Of course the US rewriting of Vietnamese War history forgets all the more effectively that the North Vietnamese won, and Rambo did not. See the Bradbury film footage of the Nth Viet tank breaking down the gates of the Saigon Imperial Palace, leading victory celebrations.

- Indonesia 1965, more anti-communist pogroms, see Brian Brown in The Year of Living Dangerously, Suharto first recognised by Australian Govt (See FN timetable at the end), and then in 1978 acceptance of E.Timor invasion by conservative Frazer Govt – continued accommodationism up to East Timor independence in 2000. We can now identify a massively increased NGOs role, especially post Bali bombing in 2002, plus a host of legal and security functions in the wake of the same. East Timor a growth area for initiatives of all sorts, from the military to the ACTU, the issue of oil bubbling away in the Timor Gap, out of reach of actual Timorese, but of significant international concern.

- In terms of Security issues… The Solomons is only the latest in a range of Police operations that stretch bag to the earliest and gloriest of Australia’s colonial adventures, the total colony that is PNG. From blackbirding (a mode of slavery where Kanaks were kidnapped for the sugar plantations of Queensland) through the early takeover in WW1 from the Germans (the Patrol Officer as heroic colonial figure, and the Kokoda track as the high point of Australian PNG cooperation where Australian soldiers were assisted along their stumble through the mud to battle the Japanese – see The Thin Red Line by Terrance Malik for a flavour of this stuff), and on to the mining industry, from the Leahy brothers adventures (First Contact, Connoly and Anderson) to Ok Tedi, the economic imperative of colonialism maintained by all manner of adjunct services such as – today – the Attorney General’s department and the Treasury having special offices dealing with Pacific and PNG affairs, and a host of NGO workers from the usual HIV industry to funded NGO bureaucrats, administrative staff and police training liaison officers.

- All of which is best highlighted by a review of the Bougainville War, with its ongoing ramifications right up to today. Those Iroquois helicopters from Vietnam and Malaysia turn up again, sold on to the PNGDF – but only as so-called de-militarised vehicles, the Gun mounts sawn off, in Bougainville. Pics of guns tied back on with rope would be handy here. PNG history a particularly happy affair for get-rich-quick mates from due South. There are a number of films relevant here, perhaps the Coconut Revolution best known, by Dom Roscoe, with funding from the body Shop, doing the routine of the intrepid reporter and condensing the peoples struggle into the routines of a few photogenic individuals and a new age awe at the ingenuity of guerrilla survivalism (discovery: the coconuts are useful). CRA prospecting 1960s – PNG independence 1975 sells out Bougainville as the CRA money spinner –Independence movement of women – prostitution for mineworkers – profits from the mine for CRA/RTZ continue even after the traditional land owners sabotage the polluting – retreat of RTZ, finally selling up in 2002 – Australian Govt declaration of war – blockage – phosphorous bombs – radio free bougainville – success of BRA – Sandline intervention backfires under PM Julius Chan – NZ negotiated cessation of fighting in 1998 – slow reconciliation process – police deployment by Australia this year – UN Kofi Anan saying last week (Oct 2004) that Bougainville was not ready for elections… [more on Bougainville here]

So what. Well perhaps I’d like to suggest these stories offer a kind of coming of age tale for a sub-imperial superpower. Our very own ‘highest stage’ [see pic]. The anti-communism of the immediate post-war years – against the threat of domino conversions, I wish, gives way to a service industry sponsored support for the never relinquished economic imperatives of imperialism, from the Malay plantation economy, through the Timor oil reserves to the police-training–immigration export economy of anti-terrorist peace keeping. Australia now administrates a fully fledged and articulated colonial sphere of influence. A regional sheriff in the comical guise of John Howard [replacement Rudd, 2007]. I believe it is time to start the Revolutionary Australian Government in Exile, here now, today, in this room. Founded upon … any takers? [Meetings of the Aust Govt in Exile continue as usual at South London Pacific, Kennington, 2007]

FN: Pre 1788: Visits of Buginese fishermen to north Australian coasts to collect sea cucumber or trepang.
1941-42: Australia and allies regard Netherlands East Indies as a vital part of its defence line.
1942: Japanese forces secure control of most of Indonesia
1942-1945: Netherlands East Indies administration located in Brisbane
1945: Australian troops as part of allied forces aid return of Dutch control of Netherlands East Indies
1947-1949: Australia one of the first nations to recognise the Republic of Indonesia. Australia asked to represent Australia’s interests in the UN during negotiations with the Dutch (these policies were largely established under the leadership of Dr. H.V. Evatt, then Minister of External Affairs. At this time, Australian trade unions also embargoed Dutch cargoes and personnel.
1950: Australia co-sponsored Indonesia’s entry to the UN (also supported by India)
1950: First Australian ambassador presents credentials to President Sukarno
1963-1966: Australia supports Malaysia against Indonesia in ‘Konfrontasi’, with some Australian forces used in Sarawak (Borneo).
1975: Indonesia invades East Timor which becomes it 27th province in 1976. Five Australian journalists die during invasion.
1978: De facto recognition of Indonesian control of East Timor by Australia’s Foreign Minister, Andrew Peacock.
1979: Australia gives de jure (formal, legal) recognition of Indonesian control of East Timor
December 1989-February 1991 Timor Gap Treaty between Australia and Indonesia established (establishes boundary of sea resource usage, i.e. oil reserves that Portugal claims should belong to an independent East Timor. This has led to disputes before the International Court of Justice)
November 1991: Dili massacre in East Timor by Indonesian military forces. Australia issues mild protests.
1992: Trade between two countries reaches $A3 billion (Indonesia 10th larges export market for Australia)
1992-1994: Prime Minister Paul Keating visits Indonesia three times
September 1999: INTERFET military mission to East Timor to be led by Australia
… Through 2000-2001, though Australia has reduced its military involvement in East Timor, it is clear that the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) will need to extend its mandate into next year to stabilise the island. Furthermore, Australia will remain one of the main suppliers of aid for years to come as East Timor slowly builds a viable economy. From Ferguson see here

Rumour – evil Rio Tinto Sucked into vortex of evil – the dark side eats its own kind.

Rio shares surge amid BHP takeover rumour

The Age May 7, 2007 – 5:24PM

Shares in Rio Tinto Ltd surged above $90 for the first time today amid speculation that BHP Billiton Ltd could take out its rival in a $122 billion-plus deal.

The stock closed up more than five per cent after Citigroup analysts fuelled takeover talk about the company.

Citigroup said while Rio Tinto’s strong cashflow could make it an attractive target for private equity firms, BHP Billiton was a more likely bidder given the synergies that could be generated.

“Rio Tinto’s strong cashflow and nominal gearing may bring it into the crosshairs of private equity, but we think BHP Billiton is a much more likely bidder given synergies and nationalistic control issue of Australian assets,” Citigroup said.

“Applying even a modest bid premium means that any party will need to finance $US100 billion ($A121.99 billion)-plus through debt and equity.

“The deal is highly earnings accretive using conservative assumptions, with the major obstacle being concentration iron ore/coking coal market share and lack of BHP CEO-elect.”

Rio Tinto shares surged $4.53 or 5.22 per cent to end a closing high of $91.38 while BHP Billiton put on 96 cents or 3.14 per cent to $31.56.

Rio Tinto’s closing price gives the company a market value of $105.92 billion.

A union between BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto would create the world’s largest producer of coking coal, thermal coal, copper and position the company as the equal largest iron ore producer with Brazilian giant CVRD.

“The greatest gains would be achievable in the iron ore assets in the Pilbara through optimising product specifications, mining fleet, rail distances to the port, etc,” Citigroup said.

“Considering the scale and importance of these businesses to both companies, it is hard not to see $US500 million ($A609.94 million)-plus in synergies and cost savings in this area alone.”

The brokerage said cost savings and synergies would also be achieved at the Australian coal assets, Canadian diamond mines, product marketing, logistics and global procurement.

Apart from competition concerns, Citigroup listed the lack of an anointed chief executive to replace Chip Goodyear as a major near-term impediment to any bid.

The brokerage said the disposal of non-core assets could overcome the competition concerns.

Citigroup ruled out any interest in Rio Tinto from the major oil companies and suggested private equity would need to team up with an existing industry player like Xstrata to formulate a potential bid.

“From a pure market capitalisation perspective, the major oil companies like BP and Royal Dutch Shell have the size and balance sheet capability to entertain such a transaction, but we do not believe they are interested in returning to investing in the Metals & mining sector after exiting the space in the 1980s and 1990s,” Citigroup said.

“Strategic and diversification drivers could prompt other corporates to bid, but ultimately BHPB can pay the most given it has the most synergies to extract.”

The Queen’s duck

When someone mentions the English Queen, I’m afraid I always think ‘unaccountable and irredeemably wicked shareholder of major corporations of the likes of Riotinto‘ (though that is spurious rumour of course). Well this week, while Riotinto reels under the PartiZans activist intervention at its annual shareholders meeting, and while the Queen’s grandson Billy dumps his consort (already I forget her name – [Capital Kate I think]), I found this on the Community Radio 3CR radio compere Suzanna’s news round-up. The wooden and pale imitator of celluloid glam Helen Mirror is still doing her bit for commodity sales. This time ducks (made in China I expect – which is fine – [sing the song]):

“Rubber Duckie shares Royal bath
The Queen is reported to share her bath with a yellow rubber duck that wears a crown
According to The Sun, the toy was spotted by a decorator as he refurbished Her Majesty’s Buckingham Palace living quarters
The newspaper also says a spokesman for the Queen would not comment on the duck
The paper reports the unnamed decorator saying: “I was repainting the Queen’s bathroom walls in the same colour she’s had for the last 50 years when I glanced down at the bath. “I nearly fell off my step-ladder when I saw the yellow rubber duck with an inflatable crown on its head
“I suppose she was given it by her grandchildren as a joke.” It was revealed recently the Queen has a mobile phone and a Big Mouth Billy Bass novelty singing fish
Now sales are soaring”

At least that has the merit of being a little funny, whereas unaccountable Royals and their filthy riches, even as they do duty as faded tourist attractions and tabloid fodder in the low season, are not always so amusing.

Australians of course voted her to stay in power (it was rigged – the only other choice was a Howard appointee – ie, Georgie B2’s appointee…) but here in England she is in power by habit and by default. Still in power.

glossy anthropology

In the introduction to their edited volume Frontiers of Capital: Ethnographic Reflections on the New Economy”, Greg Downey and Melissa Fisher speculate a little on corporate compromise on the part of social scientists:

They write:

“During the past decade an unprecedented number of cultural anthropologists have been hired by companies to work as consultants in consumer design, and workplace research”

And then they ask:

“How can we begin to account for the migration of anthropologists out of academia into business? Has the increasing demise of tenure-track jobs in the discipline forced academics to look elsewhere for employment?” (2006:18)

Strike me down if this hasn’t been going on far far longer than the last ten years. Few jobs, lousy pay, and a lack of political direction in what’s often been a deeply conservative discipline. I had a go at exposing corporate buy-outs of anthropologists in the late 1980s. The mining company Rio Tinto Zinc has a long and dubious history of recruiting anthropologists to its schemes: among several examples, their hire of graduates in the discipline to act as information-gatherers spying on pro-Bougainville campaigners at La Trobe University; and lets not forget the dirty subsidiary money they off-loaded via Monash’s Khan in 1991 for work on the ‘creation of community’ around a mine-site in Kalimantan (‘community’ here seemingly a rephrasing of what was in fact a Suharto-regime transmigration programme); and not just rio tinto, later in the mid-1990s there was the involvement of a certain Jerome Rousseau with the Bakun Hydro-Electric scheme [see Left Curve vol 23]. But a cosy relationship between anthropology and capital was already old news even then, and there was a dubious phrase coined to expose, or contain, the deals: remember ‘handmaidens of colonialism’ anyone? That old argument was rehearsed over and over, but now seems to be forgotten again as anthropologists rush to become the hand-holders of neo-liberalism.

The corporate anthropology Downey and Fisher have in mind is the take up of ethnographic research as culture machine for marketing, product testing, sales profiling and the like, but capital interest in having anthropologists broker access to the entire planet goes further than newfangled market research strategies (but see Saatchi and Saatchi’s strange culture vulture effort here). I’m dismayed to hear of mining companies still making efforts to recruit the best and brightest to their ‘social responsibility’ spin-mongering.

I remember that Riotinto were particularly concerned to proclaim their environmental credentials a few years ago – crowing about how they were protecting rainforest frogs and had set up a crocodile park. Keeping in mind their many years of plunder of Aboriginal land, rights, livelihoods, responsibility for the Bougainville war etc etc (see Roger Moody’s book Plunder or any issue of Partizans) such corporate do-gooder deeds are particularly despicable, even in a world that spins to their tune more and more. At least the price of copper is falling – though I bet the Riotinto Board still got massive end of year bonuses.

[The pictures in this post are all taken from the brochures that Riotinto produce to alibi their profiteering - I've been collecting these quite a while and there are many more howlers. Frogs, bad jokes about the dispossessed, Rachel as mining-boy's-own fantasy. See sidebar topics for more. Just have to call this glossy anthropology - it takes the shine off the pursuit of knowledge]


Occasionally I update on Bougainville stuff (here and here and here) but the latest I have is this (and someone certainly should dissertate on the topic…):

This interview first ran around 0549 GMT

By James Attwood


SYDNEY (Dow Jones)–Papua New Guinea’s government expects to agree terms with Bougainville authorities next year to lift a moratorium on mining in the battle-scarred island and resume operations the following year.

Give us two years and mining will restart in the Panguna mine,” PNG mining minister Sam Akoitai told Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday.

Anglo Australian miner Rio Tinto Plc. (RTP) shut the massive Panguna copper and gold mine in May 1989 after repeated attacks on infrastructure and workers by secessionist rebels.

Speaking on the sidelines of a PNG mining conference in Sydney, Akoitai said both the Bougainville autonomous government and foreign investors are keen to resume activities in the minerals-rich South Pacific island once fiscal arrangements are agreed.

“Bougainville is a place where every man and woman will swim across to,” he said, when asked about the current level of investor interest.

“I’ve been approached by many many companies who are interested in doing exploration in Bougainville and also companies interested in talking about Panguna,” he said.

“But my approach would be I’d rather work with the devil I know than getting somebody new to come in and start again,” he said, referring to Rio Tinto subsidiary Bougainville Copper Ltd. (BOC.AU)

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with Bougainville Copper for nine years and think they’re doing a very good job.”

Besides holding the position of PNG national mining minister, Akoitai is also the parliamentary member for Central Bougainville.

Panguna produced about 180,000 tons of copper a year to rank as the world’s third-largest copper mine. It remains closed despite a 1998 cease-fire and the formation of an autonomous island government.

Any decision on resuming mining at the dismantled operation is estimated to cost around US$1 billion.

Before any decision can be taken, however, stakeholders must complete a review of new fiscal and operating terms for exploration and mining on the island, Akoitai said.

The long-delayed review process is expected to begin in the first quarter of next year and take “months” to complete, he said, adding the benefits for Bougainville would have to be significantly better than current terms.

“It’s an issue close to me. I’m from Bougainville and I also represent the electorate where the mine is. I would want the review process to be concluded quickly so we can decide the future of mining in Bougainville.”

“The whole reason the government in Bougainville asked for this review process to began is so we can sort out the outstanding issues and then perhaps start mining from a clean sheet.”

Benefits for the local community would have to be in line with new benchmarks of modern mines, he said, without elaborating.

Akoitai said Australia’s Ord River Resources Ltd. (ORD.AU) and Gallipoli Mining Pty Ltd are among companies to make recent approaches to authorities on the possibility of exploring in Bougainville.

-By James Attwood, Dow Jones Newswires; 612-8235-2957;

(What are the pictures? The first one obviously a minesite – we like ‘em big. The second is the cover of the 1988 Bougainville Copper annual report – the next page of that report proudly pictures the mine, but the cover affirms Riotinto’s green credentials, eh? The pic is the glam board of money grubbin directors – is that Michel Foucault with them? What the fuck is he doing there?).

Riotinto in court strife

Of course picking on arms trader Spicer over Bougainville as I have done previously, perhaps overlooks the real gangsters in this scenario – the mining company, pretend ‘community friendly’, plunderer of Islands, destroyer of worlds – RioTinto Zinc. It was they that ripped the hole in the planet that was the Panguna mine on Bougainville, and their posting of 3.8 Billion in net income during the rise of copper prices this year only reminds us that its the legalised fat cats that sit in head office 6 St James Square London – and shareholders like Queen Lizzie and her nefarious gang – that were the real target of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army uprising and war throughout the 1990s. Austrailian military support and the PNGDF were just the front for the company’s interests.

Lawyers seem to be making a decent effort to corner some of the gangsters though. News from the US circuit court offers something to smirk about. Light up your fat-cat stodgies now! May they go the way of Enron. Thanks Vikki John, check Partizans.

“Islanders Win Court Appeal – Reuters August 7 2006.

By Steve James

NEW YORK, Aug 7 (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court on Monday reinstated a human rights claim brought by Bougainville islanders in Papua New Guinea against international mining giant Rio Tinto Plc (RIO.L: Quote, Profile, Research).
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled the case may be heard in the United States. A U.S. District Court had dismissed the suit, siding with the State Department that the case could not be heard in U.S. courts.
There was no immediate comment from Rio Tinto and a State Department official said it had no comment until it looked into the ruling.
The suit claims that London-based Rio Tinto conspired with the government of Papua New Guinea to quell civil resistance to an environmentally devastating copper mining operation, actions that led to the deaths of thousands.
The State Department argued the case could interfere with the peace process on Bougainville, which is the largest of the North Solomon islands and is part of Papua New Guinea, off the northeast coast of Australia.
The ruling remands the case to U.S. District Court in San Francisco, and says Rio Tinto could be held liable for actions by the PNG government if the company’s involvement is proven.
The suit was filed in 2000 and seeks to represent Bougainvilleans exposed to toxins resulting from the Panguna copper mine, people who lost property due to environmental contamination, and people injured or killed during the Bougainville conflict between 1989 and 1999.
Under the Alien Tort Claims Act, foreign nationals can bring suit in the United States against companies that violate international law. Rio Tinto’s subsidiary, U.S. Borax Inc., has headquarters in Los Angeles.
The Panguna mine and the political events that erupted since the mine was established are at the core of the case. Between 1969 and 1972, the Australian Colonial Administration leased land on the island to Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL), a subsidiary of Rio Tinto. The suit claims that landowners unsuccessfully resisted intrusion onto their land, and many Bougainvilleans were forced to move or flee the island.
According to the suit, Rio Tinto destroyed villages, razed the rain forest, sliced off a hillside and established the world’s largest open-pit mine. The mine excavated 300,000 tons of ore and water every day between 1972 and 1988.
The suit alleges that Rio Tinto improperly dumped waste rock and tailings, emitting chemical and air pollutants. The waste destroyed local fish stock, it alleges.
The Bougainville people — especially children — began dying more frequently from upper respiratory infections, asthma and tuberculosis, the suit states.
According to the complaint, in 1990, villagers started an uprising which closed the mine, and in response, Rio Tinto and the Papua New Guinea government brought troops in to reopen it. The complaint alleges that Rio Tinto provided transport for the troops and played a role in instituting a military blockade of the island that lasted for almost 10 years.”

double-think Australian mining PNG mining Indonesian (alleged) terror mining Riotinto and Tim Spicer in Iraq just loving it. (and Israeli Blitzkrieg)

OK, here is a convoluted double-think. News just in. The Papua New Guinea army commander that ousted that mercenary pom and stiff-lipped bastard Tim Spicer and Sandline International from PNG when they came to intervene in the Bougainville war in 1997, must now be jealous that the same bastard Lord of War (Spicer) is suddenly resurgent and making mega millions selling arms in Iraq. So he – PNG commander (actually now retired Major General) Singirok – is complaining that the Australia Government’s cutting of the PNG military budget is making it more likely that (alleged) Indonesian terrorists from Jemaah Islamiah will enter PNG and threaten Australian mining interests, making the miners a target. This is truly choice. Remembering that the reason Singarok was able to get rid of the mercenaries of Sandline was because his own PNGDF troops rebelled at not being paid for months and months while being on the back foot in the Bougainville war (despite considerable covert and overt Australian military support), made worse by the fact that the then PNG PM purchased outside mercenary help, which in turn drove the demoralised and unpaid rebellious soldiers to near mutiny. Spicer and his mercenary cronies didn’t even have time to pack their bags, leaving all sorts of weaponry on the Port Moresby tarmac. On the back of this, ten years later the Australian effort is to reduce the PNGDF via payouts to halve the size of the force – that in itself quite twisted double think – pay your enemies to have less troops (in another zone, you can’t help but think the Israeli Blitzkrieg in Lebanon might go easier if they did the same eh, evil nasties). All of this convolution in terms of ‘defence support’ and mining interests is, I guess unsurprisingly, a consequence of tactical deployment of funds to bolster international econonmic interests (Australian, British and US mining) via the flexing of Australian military aspiration/asdventurism in the area, becoming regional cop and invading Solomons, East Timor etc… So Singirok’s delightful double-think threat is that because of the (alleged) targetting of Australian miners in PNG (awww, diddums) from (alleged) Indonesian terrorists, his own defence force (PNGDF) should be re-tooled so as to have capacity to protect said Australian miners. Lost track yet? – the mining operations are the biggest cash cow for international mining companies yet imagined, perhaps with the exception of arms sales. An audit of contemporary colonialism will clearly require more than average accountants. Rio tinto corporate executives must be licking their filthy chops.

You can read the article about Singirok in today’s Australian newspaper here.

double think Australia-PNG etc etc

Here is an amazing article from the Australian newspaper today, also (double think) discussed on Trinketization:

Australia has ‘opened PNG door to JI’

By Lloyd Jones in Port Moresby

July 19, 2006

INDONESIAN terrorists have an open door into PNG to target Australians and their mining and energy interests thanks to Canberra’s push to slash the size of PNG’s military, says the force’s former commander.

Retired Major-General Jerry Singirok, who in 1997 defied PNG’s government and ousted Sandline mercenaries deployed to crush Bougainville secessionists, said the downsizing of the PNG military from more than 5000 troops to 2000 had crippled it.
Security on the border with the Indonesian province of Papua was already severely compromised with few or no PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) soldiers in place where full companies should patrol, he said.
The Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah (JI) posed a huge threat to Australia and PNG when the porous 760km border allowed illegal and suspicious migrants to cross with ease, Maj-Gen Singirok said.
“They would certainly target Australia’s major investments in Papua New Guinea.
“As we have seen with the calls by Osama Bin Laden and his cohorts, they group Australia together with America and England as their enemy.”
Major resource targets such as the Hides gas project, the proposed gas pipeline to Australia, the Ok Tedi and Porgera gold and copper mines, and oil installations in the Gulf of Papua were potential targets, he said.
“Any terrorist with intention (to do harm) would obviously strike where there’s no defence, no security systems in place.
“If they cannot hit Australia on its home soil, they’re going to hit Australia where it hurts.
“There’s billions of dollars of Australian investment in PNG and there’s a relatively significant population of Australians.”
The downsizing of the PNGDF, with soldier payouts funded by Australia, was “humiliating” and “a major security blunder” that compromised PNG, Australian and regional security, he said.
Maj-Gen Singirok said Australia constantly accused the PNGDF of being a destabilising factor though the force had never threatened to take over the government.
“My challenge to Australia is it should not see us a destabilising force, it should strengthen us, give us equal training and the same standards as the Australian Defence Force because we can be a major force of deterrence in the region.”
An Australian-backed program to destroy around 3000 surplus PNGDF weapons also compromised the force’s capability, Maj-Gen Singirok said.,20867,19840036-1702,00.html

Shareholders join Rio protest

Shareholders join Rio protest
From: AAP
May 04, 2006

SHAREHOLDERS have joined protesters outside the annual general meeting of mining giant Rio Tinto in Melbourne, concerned about the company’s mining practices in Papua New Guinea.
Organised by the Mineral Policy Institute (MPI) and Free West Papua campaign, the protest – outside the Sofitel hotel in busy Collins Street – was against alleged corruption and human rights abuses at the giant Freeport mine in Indonesia’s Papua province.
MPI said the Freeport mine was engaging in similar irresponsible conduct to that at the Rio Tinto-owned mine in Bougainville, which led to a 10-year civil war.
It follows the release of a report by the Indonesian Environment Forum which alleged that Rio Tinto was releasing copper tailings from its Freeport mine into a nearby river.
Shareholder John Poppins said he was concerned about the report and was there to support the protest as well as voice his opinion at the AGM.
“I have a growing level of concern as I grow older in the way in which my dividends are earned, and the impacts on the other people, particularly in countries where the law is not as strong as it is here,” Mr Poppins said.
Mr Poppins said he was concerned about the report which was released this week by the Indonesian Environment Forum.
“Deeply, yes. It seems in my youth I invested all my savings in the bad guys,” he said.
“There are really only two alternatives: you can sell in disgust or you can hold on to the shares and start to question the company.”
Some shareholders had given their proxy votes to Papuan and environmental activists, allowing them to attend the meeting.
Herman Wanggai, one of the Papuan asylum seekers recently given visas to stay in Australia, was at the protest and said there was one thing he wanted to ask at the AGM.
“The question I ask is why are we suffering for the rich resources?” Mr Arumisore said.
Moses Havini, who described himself as the international representative for Bougainville, said Rio Tinto should be held accountable for what it was doing to the environment in Papua.
“There seems to be two rules: one for Rio Tinto in other countries; and the other one is in other countries such as Bougainville and Papua New Guinea where it is fine to pump mine tailings directly into the water systems and the sea,” Mr Havini said.
Rio Tinto has invested $2.2 billion in the mine.,10166,19022917-31037,00.html
= = = = = =

From Riotinto to Iraq – Tim’s big (£) adventures.

Some folks will know of my interest in the Pacific Island called Bougainville – a place where the company Rio Tinto (based at 6 St James Square London) dug the biggest hole in the southern hemisphere (to mine copper, employing anthropologists as advisers on native administration) and who profitted massively until the Bougainville Revolutionary Army turfed them out. The BRA then fought a ten year war against the combined might of the Papua New Guinie Defence Force (PNGDF), the Australian Govermnent (supplying Iroquois choppers and other hardware, supplies, training) and with the participation of (mufti) Australian Military personnel and various mercenary groups. The current situation is complicated but ‘better’ – though there are noises about reopening the mine.

Meanwhile, the plunderer’s interest moved elsewhere, and so BASTARD of the week (month, year?) is announced today in the form of Tim Spicer, mercenary. He’s the pom who organised the failed intersession on the PNG Govt side by the private army of Sandline International (they didn’t even get to Bougainville before their bumbling cowboy attitude got them bundled out of the area, similar bungling in Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea cements their reputation). Now it seems Spicer’s business intersts are looking up these days as he’s made a £62 Million business out of arms deals in Iraq. Lord of War bastard indeed. Murder death kill. Surveillance, counter-insurgency information gathering, communications, ‘intelligence’ and vehicle tracking. Read about it in the words of Tracey Boles of The Times, but keep in mind how this stuff links up – and how the connections between RTZ (copper mining, uranium) and western intersts in the Gulf (oil, geo-politics) and the filthy lucre of the arms trade (guns, supplies, surveillance) manifest in the loathesome person of gunslinger Spicer. The company you keep.

Trouble crewing in Bougainville?

The National, 15 Nov 05

PX flight ‘diverted over threat’


AIR Niugini is believed to have diverted a domestic flight bound for Buka on Saturday after learning that Me’ekamui soldiers planned to hijack the Fokker 28.

The plane had left Rabual earlier in the day and was supposed to fly to Buka before proceeding to Port Moresby.

It is understood that it flew to Port Moresby, along with its Buka-bound passengers.“We have information that the Air Nuigini management has stopped flights out of Buka since Saturday,” Bougainville police commander Asst Comm Joseph Bemu told The National.Buka Air Niugini airport manager Peter Pais declined to comment and referred The National to the head office in Port Moresby.

Air Niugini corporate affairs manager Eva Arni denied any knowledge of the incident.Mr Bemu said the police received a fax from Arawa last week warning of the plan to hijack an F28 from Buka airport to divert it to the old Aropa airport near Kieta.“We do not know the reason for this threat but we have stepped up security measures,” he said.He said he had assured Air Niugini that the airport was safe. “It’s now up to the airline’s management,” he said.Before Saturday’s incident, Air Niugini flew to Buka every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Mr Bemu also said that eight Fijians were in the Tonu area in South Bougainville
“Two Australians who were advisers to the late Francis Ona are among them,” he said.
“We cannot go in there to check it out because they are in the No-Go Zone area.
“We have spoken to Fijian Embassy officials in Port Moresby and they have expressed concern. ” Sources told The National that the Me’ekamui planned to hijack a plane to fly the Fijians out of Bougainville. It is believed that the Fijians flew in from the Solomon Islands in a helicopter chartered by Noah Musingku, who ran an outlawed money scheme.

This message has been scanned for viruses and\r\ndangerous content by\r\nMailScanner, and is\r\nbelieved to be clean.\r\n\r\n\r\n”,0]

[I particularly like the virus scanner's evaluation of this as 'dangerous content' - it is clean - I got it from Vicki John, who does a great job keeping us informed of Bougainville news by email. Yet some of this news is dangerous for sure. That there is discussion at all of reopening the money-spinning RTZ Panguna copper mine is amazing given the pain the whole war inflicted on the Island. Greetings to friends in the (check this out) PaRTiZans campaign group]


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