Tag Archives: mining

Trouble at mill [mine]

 

 

Aust warned to stay out of B’ville affairs

Source: 
The National, Wednesday 27th February, 2013

FORMER Bougainville Revolutionary Army commander Sam Kaona has warned Australia not to meddle in Bougainville affairs.
He said the first policy draft on mining in Bougainville was no different from the colonial policy that caused the crisis.
“The Australians have taken control of mining policy in Buka and the first policy draft by ABG legal unit headed by Tony Regan is no different from the previous policy,” Kaona, who is chairman of the recently formed Bougainville Resources Owners Representative Council, said.
He added that the proposed policy, sponsored by AusAID and drafted by Regan, risked Bougainville’s first constitutional crisis.
“Since the constitution is the supreme law of Bougainville, section 23 of the Bougainville constitution, which restores ownership of resources on Bougainville to the customary landowners, is the only option that is constitutionally legal.
“So any attempt to impose any other resource ownership system would be invalid and ineffective – they are risking a constitutional crisis.”
Resources rights activist Simon Ekanda shared similar sentiments.
“Bougainville mining policy does not belong to Regan, BCL (Bougainville Copper Ltd) or the Australians, it belongs to the resource owners and the people of Bougainville.
“This is to be a Bougainville mining policy written by Bougainvilleans in Bougainville for the Bougainville resource owners and people.
“Section 23 of the Bougainville constitution returning the resource ownership to the customary landowners is to be the foundation of that policy.
“Let me be absolutely clear – there will be no compromise on this.
“The Panguna landowners must determine that their interests will be best served by securing a special mining lease over their resource and then to entertain qualified mining companies with the view to putting Panguna back into production.
He also cautioned ABG President John Momis to be careful with the new mining policy.
“Both PNG and Bougainvilleans have died and it is unwise if Momis allows colonial administrators to rewrite Bougainville mining laws.”

Panguna

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 http://londonminingnetwork.org/2010/04/report-on-the-london-agm-of-rio-tinto-15-april-2010/

Avatar and Bougainville??

Avatar and Bougainville: A Parallel History? « Tubuans.

http://www.criticaltimes.com.au/news/international/avatars-secret-history-lesson-on-our-doorstep/

http://www.face21cn.cn/renleixue/anthropology/article-Avatar-pop-culture-anthropology-ethic.html

http://savageminds.org/2009/12/24/avatar/

http://itsgettinghotinhere.org/2010/02/23/james-cameron-the-oscars-and-the-real-life-avatar/

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 www.hbsslaw.com.

    Contacts:
    Steve Berman Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro (206) 623-7292    Steve@hbsslaw.com
    Mark Firmani Firmani + Associates Inc. (206) 443-9357    Mark@firmani.com

SOURCE Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro

No Pit Closures

Reposted from 31 August 2005 because it still survives.

This old poster is on a notice board outside the old council houses across the road from my flat
- its survived 20 years or so I guess -
Support the Miners/No Pit Closures.
Note the ‘Miners’ part of the flyer has been erased, I guess this is poignant in a way. Reports of a reopened colliery in Yorkshire got some news airtime last year – not just a historic ‘museum’ type gesture but reported as such, the mine opening is significant in a way that all those films like Brassed Off just weren’t.And support the Hollywood writers strike – though some of them could do with some time down pit as well.

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]

Bougainville

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

Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

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?).

Queen’s speech or reading news – you decide.


People will have noticed (but will they, its a bolgospheric doubt we must often have) there are a bunch of alternative news sites linked in the left column of my tawdry souvenirs site. But for the really keen reader, here below are a few more good links from the great great journal Left Curve out of Oakland. These are more or less US/UK specific, but important nevertheless. So, when the Queen’s speech gets you down, click the links… but why is there still a Queen at all? Parasite. At least in Australia we were stupid enough to vote her in – the alternative was snivelling scuzz bag John Howard choosing a head of state for us (join the Government-in-exile, SouthLondonPacific bar Kennington for politburo meetings). We voted for her (democrazy rocks), but in England the Queen is there by default. Nobody voted her in here, but the bills she and her gilded spawn run up have been paid for 50+ years, and she is a major shareholder in dodgy profiteering death-mine-murder-kill outfits like Riotinto. Time for Regime Change in these unfair isles. Of course this should occur along with the impeachment of Blair – and after last night’s Olive Till ‘debate’, the seemingly very nice but ultimately not-that-much-to-say Stephen Frears should also be impeached. If not for Beautiful Laundrette having including a love story about a fascist (Johnny), then certainly for not committing treason-by-popular-demand by having Helen Mirrin abdicate. Three cheers for Olive Till though, and for MA student Carrie-Anne who was the highlight of the night when she thanked Olive’s son for the bursary cheque – not a dry eye in the house. OK, emotive bit over, now to read the news:

afterdowningstreet.org
alternet.org
aljazeerah
antiwar.com
axis of logic
autonomedia
counterpunch
commondreams
cyberspaceorbit
dissident voice
Ed Strong Blog
flashpoints
globalresearch.ca
indymedia
informationclearinghouse
islamonline
PsyOpNews
Thomas Paine’s Corner
workingforchange
whatreallyhappened
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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.
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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.
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Rio Tinto Crocodile Co…


From the look of Daniel I knew that he had been away too long.
- Hi Mate, how are…
His cutting off grunt and wave of shaky hand confirmed it. Daniel worked on a remote Crocodile sanctuary. An absurd undercover research predicament, where he had reptiled his way into the biggest and most hypocritical of RTZ’s good citizen corporate relations fiascos: a crocodile sanctuary to protect the darling little snappers, in exactly the region where twenty years earlier the company had bulldozed local, Aboriginal, landowner’s homes into the sea. Never Smile was going to be the title of the book he would write about it.
- tourists come and gawk at the crocs, asleep with their mouths open. It’s their cooling system.
- what the tourist?
- ha ha
- There’s no chance any of them would make the links and turn round and go home. Its not in the brochures and no-one reminds them that this is stolen bloodied land. They don’t even register that the whole sanctuary is an advert, a make-up disguise. I manage to tell a few as they leave, but who knows.
- RTZ love this stuff. They laugh at us in their suits.

There was along history here. We met long ago at a demo which became an occupation – one of the first to be co-ordinated by activists with mobile phones – of the CRA offices in Collins Street. 37 stories up in the sky, it was wild in the streets for a few hours. Later we worked closely together on militarism and he came to stay for a few days when I lived in Manchester.
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[for more on some really vicious crocs, see any Riotinto mining report, but better to visit our friends at PaRTiZans who will warn you of their dangers.
For the picture, I thank the crazed people of Normanton, Queensland... "In Normanton's main street there is a "statue" to a crocodile ... caught in 1957 at 28 foot 4 inches it was then the largest in the world that had been caught". http://www.btucker.albatross.co.uk/Queensland.htm]
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Sokari


Great one cuz! Looks specrtacular, and makes a point about oil. j.
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