Radio Australia, 8 May 2014
Bougainville Shareholders support corporate review
Updated 8 May 2014, 9:30 AEST
The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility says it is encouraged that most Bougainville Copper shareholders are in favour of appointing an independent jurist to investigate the company’s involvement in counter-insurgency activities during the Bougainville civil war.
The Centre’s resolution, put to the Bougainville Copper annual meeting in Port Moresby was overwhelmingly defeated.
Presenter: Jemima Garrett
Caroline le Couteur, Executive Director of the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility
Possibly the shabbiest thing I have heard since yesterday:
5 hours agoDetails
PNG Exposed, 4 April 2014
Australian academics paid $500,000 over two years for mining work on Bougainville
April 3, 2014
Two Australian academics have been paid almost $500,000 by the Australian government for two years work towards reopening the Panguna mine in Bougainville.
The figures have been revealed by the Australian Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee.
Bougainville has twice rejected Regan’s controversial new Mining Law paid for by Australia
Controversial ABG advisor Anthony Regan has been paid over $270,000 – K680,000 – for his work drafting a controversial new Mining Law and other legislation.
Regan’s draft law has twice been rejected by the people pf Bougainville as being too biased in favor of foreign mining companies including Rio Tinto.
The figure revealed by the Committee as paid to Regan includes reimbursable travel costs and covers the period from June 2011 to November 2013.
A second Australian academic Ciaron O’Faircheallaigh has been paid $215,000 over two years for his work on negotiation “of a mining agreement to govern the Panguna mine”.
In total Australia is funding 22 ‘advisor’ positions in Bougainville – at an annual cost of $2.9 million in 2012/13. Some of the positions are full-time, some part-time and some are currently vacant according to the Committee.
On Wednesday, April 2, 2014, Bougainville Freedom Movement wrote:
PNG Minewatch, 31 March 2014
Panguna Mothers Reject BCL and Mine
Clive Porabou via Facebook
The Meekamui Women of Panguna find it ridiculous to hear that the Bougainville Women in Mining are supporting the reopening of Panguna Mine when they themselves are ignorant of the facts why the mine was closed.
Stella Placid one of the principal female landowner in the mine pit said that BCL [Rio Tinto] is not welcome in Panguna.
“They are responsible for the 20,000 lives who perished during the uprising.
They also used dangerous chemicals to destroy the eco-system on the land and we cannot grow taro or do any fishing in the rivers.
As you can see today; the Jaba river is polluted, our people relocated with a complete disregard for their needs and the needs of future generations and we lost our land”, said Stella Placid.
“Therefore, our concern not to open the mine must be respected by ABG and stop their political rehetorics and develop the agriculture and fishing sector.
The truth is that we the landowners in the mine pit areas are united in our opposition to the reopening of the mine”; said Stella Placid.
Rio Tinto wins end to human rights abuse lawsuit in U.S.Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:47pm EDT* Bougainville residents sued over activity linked to mine* 9th Circuit rules after top U.S. court narrows law’s reachBy Jonathan StempelJune 28 (Reuters) – Benefiting from a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Rio Tinto Plc has won the dismissal of a nearly 13-year-old U.S. lawsuit accusing the Anglo-Australian mining company of complicity in human rights abuses on the South Pacific island of Bougainville.Friday’s ruling by a majority of an 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ends litigation begun in 2000.Roughly 10,000 current and former Bougainville residents had sought to hold Rio Tinto responsible for human rights violations and thousands of deaths linked to polluting a copper and gold mine it once ran.The ruling follows the Supreme Court’s April 17 decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co, where the justices limited the sweep of a 1789 U.S. law that lawyers had used for roughly three decades to fight human rights abuses worldwide.Five justices said the Alien Tort Statute was meant to cover international law violations occurring in the United States, and that violations elsewhere must “touch and concern” U.S. territory “with sufficient force” to displace that presumption.The Bougainville residents alleged that after workers in 1988 began to sabotage the Rio Tinto mine, the company goaded Papua New Guinea’s government to exact retribution and conspired to impose a blockade, leading to thousands of civilian deaths.On April 22, the Supreme Court threw out an earlier 9th Circuit ruling that let the lawsuit proceed, and asked it to revisit the matter in light of Kiobel.Steve Berman, a lawyer for the Bougainville plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.He had asked the 9th Circuit to send the case back to the Los Angeles district court so that his clients could try to proceed with other claims, “sans invocation of the ATS.”Kiobel was also cited this week by a Virginia federal judge who dismissed a lawsuit accusing defense contractor CACI International Inc of conspiring to torture detainees a decade ago at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.The judge in that case said that because the alleged abuse occurred outside the United States, he lacked jurisdiction to consider claims by four former detainees. They plan to appeal.The case is Sarei et al v. Rio Tinto Plc et al, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 02-56256.
Green Left Weekly,
Bougainville: Rio Tinto faces war crimes allegations in bid to reopen mineTuesday, February 26, 2013Young freedom fighter from the Bougainville Revolutionary Army in 1994. Photo by Francis O’Neill, via eco-action.org.
British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto is seriously contemplating reopening its Bougainville copper and gold mine, Reuters reported on February 7.
Situated on Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) eastern border with the Solomon Islands, the company’s Bougainville operation was forcefully closed down in November 1988 by traditional landowners who objected to the mine’s environmental and social effects.
A bloody civil war ensued, which took up to 20,000 lives on an island of 175,000 people. The war crimes committed by government security forces in the conflict were horrific.
Bougainvillean nurse, Sister Ruby Mirinka, recalled: “One of the victims was a 24-year-old pregnant woman. Shot dead by the PNG soldiers, her abdomen was then cut open to remove the foetus. The dead foetus was then placed on the chest of the dead mother for all to see — as a warning.”
Rio Tinto stands accused of being complicit in these atrocities. In a US class action launched under the Alien Tort Statute, Bougainvillean landowners maintain that Rio Tinto’s subsidiary, Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL), supplied the military with trucks, fuel, accommodation, storage facilities, mess halls, communications equipment and secretarial services.
These allegations were featured in a hard-hitting Dateline report aired on SBS TV in 2011.
In response, company executives adamantly denied complicity. They claimed Rio Tinto’s equipment was commandeered by the defence force after the mine had been abandoned.
BCL director Sir Rabbie Namaliu told The Australian on July 16, 2011: “To suggest that Rio did it deliberately is factually wrong. When I heard about those claims, I thought the whole thing was rather unfair.”
Namaliu was prime minister of PNG from 1988 to 1992. Amnesty International said PNG forces stationed in Bougainville during this period took part in extra-judicial killings, village burnings and the rape of women.
Namaliu is hardly an uncompromised source.
There are other problems with his account. For example, I interviewed eight senior managers who worked for BCL during 1987-1992. They were confident the company did supply the defence force with the aforementioned equipment.
One manager told me: “We did everything they [PNG security forces] asked of us to make their life more comfortable, and better able to manage through, with transport, communications, provisions, whatever, fuel.
“You know, we gave them everything, because as a far as we saw it we were hoping that they were going to solve the situation, so we could start operating again. So we supported them every way we could.”
Perhaps BCL was unaware of the ends to which this logistic support would be applied? Well, its executives seem fairly cogent on this front too.
One manager recalled: “These guys [PNG security forces] were ignorant thugs with guns. Frightened ignorant thugs with guns. Frightened, ignorant thugs with guns a long way from home.”
Another executive remembered surveying the destruction inflicted upon local villages by government forces during April 1989: “Forty, 50 villages, and the crops [were destroyed]. The villages were varying from five or six houses to 20 or 30 houses.”
Naturally, Rio Tinto wants to take advantage of skyrocketing copper and gold prices by dusting off its old South Pacific jewel. I am sure they are attracting a degree of community support from war-weary Bougainvilleans looking to rebuild their shattered island.
That said, communities on Bougainville have yet to be fully briefed on Rio Tinto’s role in defence force operations during the bloody years of 1988-1990. So it would be difficult to argue that this support is based upon informed consent.
Until Rio Tinto commits to full disclosure, any attempt to reopen the Bougainville mine will be another corporate blight on the deeply scarred people of this Melanesian island.
[Dr Kristian Lasslett is an executive board member of the International State Crime Initiative. The International State Crime Initiative’s multi-media presentation on the Bougainville conflict, which includes BCL memorandums and meeting minutes, can be accessed here.]
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.”
Australia wins Gold! But can the same be said for Rio Tinto?
Australia has won its first gold medal, and the athletes were awarded medals made from gold produced by Rio Tinto, the official supplier to the London Olympics. The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games claims all suppliers have passed the requirements of its ethical sourcing guidelines, but one does not have to dig much at all to see that Rio Tinto should never have been accredited as a supplier to the Games. See http://publishwhatyoupay.org/newsroom/blog/australia-wins-gold-can-same-be-said-rio-tinto.
Rio Tinto – a record fit for the Olympics?
Updated background briefing on the impacts of Olympic medal metal provider Rio Tinto’s mining operations around the world.