Home > Corruption, Papua New Guinea, Politics > Leaked Document Reveals Secret ABG Plan to Reopen Bougainville Mine

Leaked Document Reveals Secret ABG Plan to Reopen Bougainville Mine

A document leaked to Rio Tinto shareholders lobby group, ESBC, by disgraced landowner leader, Lawrence Daveona, allegedly for cash payments, reveal the façade of democracy surrounding the Bougainville mine’s reopening.

Over the last three years ABG officials have told the public that the mine will only be opened if there is a democratic consensus supporting it. Corporate lickspittle, Jemima Garrett, summarises the official ABG tagline, “discussion and consensus-building are central to Bougainvilleans’ traditional way of doing things”.

Documents recently leaked to PNG Exposed reveal the ABG government’s commitment to the Melanesian way is a sham; for several years the ABG has had secret plans in place to reopen the mine, regardless of public opinion or consensus.

According to MEETING MINUTES taken in November 2011, the Panguna Management Consultative Committee (PMCC) was told by ABG officials that the mine was going to be opened regardless of popular sentiment. The Mining Minister, Michael Oni, informed the meeting “that there was no two ways about [it, the] Panguna mine [is] being opened in the not too distant future”. President Momis in agreement added, the mine “must be opened and there is an important need for a Unified Stand by ABG and Panguna Landowners”.

According to the minutes: “Discussions transpired and the general position on the re-opening was obvious and both ABG and the Executive Committee Members of PMCC fully supported and endorsed that Panguna mine must be re-opened”.

So much for public consultation – it appears the decision to reopen the mine was made years ago in closed door meetings by political elites. Recent consultation forums are nothing more than a fig-leaf, or more accurately a cynical sales pitch – complete with threats of PNGDF reoccupation and forced marriage to mainlanders – designed to manufacture consent for a decision already made by those who stand to directly profit.

Indeed, as the meeting minutes reveal women’s groups are the deeply opposed to the mine reopening – and why not it was women who nursed dying children during the conflict, endured rape as a weapon of war, and picked up the pieces after the many village burnings. No wonder then the landowner ‘leaders’ groups supporting Rio Tinto are dominated by men, and no wonder then that ABG leaders such as Minister for Veteran Affairs would tell  women opponents of Rio Tinto that PNG has “hidden plan[s] … that all Bougainville single women will be married by outsiders to own the land”, unless they agree to the mine reopening in time to ‘finance independence’.

And like between 1962-1989 the silent majority – especially the women – whose opinion is irrelevant to political power brokers, will bare all the costs of the mine reopening and the subsequent conflict it generates as the conniving behaviour of the political elite, and its corporate allies, is gradually exposed to a new generation of Bougainvilleans.

Sadly it would seem history is repeating itself, the first time as tragedy and the second time as farce.

  1. August 19, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    ESBC press release 20130819

    The European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper (ESBC) back and support the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and its President John Momis. All their efforts made in the ongoing struggle for positive development on Bougainville deserve high respect. The ABG is the only legitimate representative of Bougainvilleans.
    No individual or groups of individuals can pretend to have a platform of authority. They just represent themselves and the ABG represents the collective will of all Bougainvilleans.
    The so-called “leaked” document from 2011 proves and underlines the ABG’s democratic approach to the matter. The meeting in question gathered most of the stakeholders concerned by a re-opening of the Panguna mine. PNG exposed today’s interpretation of the ABG’s politics is false and misleading. It shows once more again the huge lack of democratic sense in and around Bougainville.

  2. pkay
    August 19, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Is png a fly on the wall? Or a buzzing busy bee trying to sting those getting too close to its hive. I cannot believe what I am reading here because you do not hear this is sort of stuff on the ground in Bougainville about secret plans; closed door meetings of Bougainville elites; going against consensus; even putting words into women’s and babes’ mouths. At best all this is hearsay that someone that doesn’t know what is going on is trying to craft into a credible story and making an incredible stuff-up out of something that bears no truth with the real situation on the Island. At worst it is a flippant and foolhardy attempt at discrediting people based on poor knowledge of how various stakeholders are seeking ways and means toward a common and unified stance.

    Nothing can be further from the truth. There has been nothing secretive about the issues surrounding Panguna. The discussions have been open, transparent and across a wide section of the Island.

  3. pkay
    August 19, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    That was suppose to read: “Is pngexposed a fly on the wall..?” Or a buzzing bee….

  4. August 20, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Is that my old friend fkay (aka Peter Kareona) resurrected as pkay?

    Either way, what you are saying ‘pkay’ is utter nonsense.

    I had the rare honour of addressing many young Bougainvilleans the other day. Articulate, thoughtful and compassionate; but hopelessly in the dark about what has been going on with respect to the mine’s reopening, and in particular, Rio Tinto’s enduring impunity.

    I had students crying in front of me, yes CRYING because they had NEVER heard about Rio’s extensive involvement in prompting and participating in PNGDF atrocities; moreover they could not believe the documents and executive testimony proving this fact had not been shared with them by their political leaders, or that such a company would be invited back to the island.

    In short, their own history has been denied to them, and you have the gall to say discussions have been “open” and “transparent”.

    Though I should say not all their history is hidden, they of course lived the war, and they lived the brutality through young eyes; I cant imagine that. Students recalled horrors no child should have had to endure – e.g. cousins buried alive by troops screaming for mercy. You might then imagine their surprise when they learnt just how embedded Rio Tinto was in this military apparatus that raped their mothers and murdered their family members. Not to mention the role played by the Australian government; another crucial fact denied to them – not by the pro-Rio lobby, of course, but the mandarins in the Australian government who wish their government’s murky role to remain just that murky.

    Sadly some of the most critical facts have been denied to the very ones who are going to have to live with today’s decisions. So by all means keep up the disinformation, but the only people you are harming are the youth of Bougainville, who deserve so much better.

  5. pkay
    August 21, 2013 at 6:33 am

    Oh, I should have guessed that the fly on the wall or the buzzing busy alien bee back buzzing ominous sting to our history was Kristian; back to his best as a latter day know-all cutting and pasting pieces together and packaging the fodder as truth and telling our leaders and people in Bougainville and PNG to take it all in without question.

    There are times when tales and comments like this find their way to PNGexposed, ones that are easy to read and tell that it is miff and nonsense. You make all these claims and assertions as if yours is an exercise to reveal all information you call facts, including secretive meetings and decisions, atrocities, denials, etc.. You are the best proponent of telling Bougainville history as a fiction, as a new kid on the block that has suddenly made a land fall on the Island and tries to comprehend what on earth has really gone on here. In the rush and pandemonium with an adrenalin of a young academic, the way you have tried tell it all is piece and paste together what is a complex and conflicting human tragedy through your own narrative, a narrative devoid of spirit and soul and the kastom, culture and tradition with which we had to face up to our recent history in finding a path to meaningful peace and reconciliation.

    WE have stopped crying to start rebuilding Bougainville. We accept everyone made mistakes. Our reconciliations mean stopping pointing fingers of blame and accept that along the way we all screwed up.

    In your own society (are you Irish or Aussie, may be the latter because you just don’t get it!) you give and take. In our society the inherent gift in life is in sharing rather than giving and taking. The history of Bougainville coming out its atrocious conflict is about accepting its share of blame and responsibility, addressing and doing something about it and making sure it does not happen again. This is what we have been engaged in at our political leadership level and at community and village levels. And it’s been open and transparent, not hidden in minutes or in officialdom as you claim all the time.

    It is a form of violence to hype up young people and make them cry. Do you want all of Bougainville to cry and drown in its tears? Is this part of your historical fix to right the wrongs of the past? Do you want us to follow you down the path of your bellicose nonsense and disregard all our efforts and gains we have made in 17 to 20 years of peace-making that is still going on? Do you want us to be still stuck in the Bougainville of the past; of PNG of the past; of Panguna of the past? I cannot think of any worse ways of harming the youth than to huddle them in a bunch and preach to them in the most adverse ways and feed them all the adversarial stuff that their place went through. No, ours is a careful community, clan and family restorative process of healing. It is a process that has achieved real results. It makes people realise and appreciate what happened and why it happened. In your case it makes people angry, mad and that is why you have wars that never end.

    IF your beef is with Rio/BCL why don’t you go into direct combat with them? Bougainville has chosen its own way and processes how it is dealing with Rio/BCL and the process is deliberate and serious. If you have a beef with PNG, why don’t you make your own representation and face up to PNG. As far as I am concerned PNG is just as interested and concerned as Bougainville to make its political arrangements (withPNG) succeed no matter what others might say. I ask you, what are you offering us?? What is your contribution apart from the clap trap you post on PNGexposed and elsewhere.

    May be you should make a representation on your own behalf to the International Court of Justice so you can resolve your own war of conscience with yourself and satisfy yourself. And may be prove to your own satisfaction that conspiracy theories are just that: conspiracy theories.

    Mi nogat taem long ol displa ol kaen yangpla karangki na longlong mangki oli ting oli ken kam stretim yumi long Bougainville na PNG. Oli ting save blong ol i moa moa yet!!

  6. pkay
    August 21, 2013 at 7:03 am

    Kristian, if your beef is with Australia why can’t you face up to your own Government in Canberra – may be take them to the International Court at The Hague! Or go contest the coming Federal elections and pontificate in your own Parliament.

    I just think you should stop parroting your own beliefs down other people’s throats on things that you do not have much knowledge or appreciation about or don’t much understand or are at diametrical odds with your own culture.

    I could tell, and so could others locally, what I read in PNGexposed could not have come from any PNGn or Bougainvillean ‘cos a lot of it just sounded not right, nonsensical if you like. All quite atrociously negative.

    What is your contribution in or to Bougainville as against others that you criticise? Precious little apart from the clap trap in my view.

  7. August 21, 2013 at 9:58 am

    ‘Pkay’ can you ever express ideas without engaging in long, dithering personal attacks and slanderous accusations? And like Axel Sturm you seem insistent on knowing my ethnic origin, so you can cast-type me through racist stereotypes. Nice.

    You are totally right, I concede to your logic. History should be denied to the people, Sharing primary data – executive confessions, company documents etc – with intelligent young Bougainvilleans is absolutely a form of violence, who could possible debate that point? And yes you are also right, Bougainvillean university students are clearly easily manipulated stooges who I cast a spell over, they dont have minds or thoughts of their own, let alone an ability to critically analyse information and form their own opinion. Clearly they dont possess these capacities, P-kay you are so right!.

    And I wont contest for a second that you are the collective voice of Bougainville; hence you have the right to say “we” “we” “we”. Just like I am the collective voice of Ireland, or is it Australia.

    Also I concede to your judgement, yes my research is a “conspiracy theory”, nothing more. The executives at Rio, and senior officials at the PNGDF, RPNGC, PNG state and Australian state must have had a good laugh as they bonded together to feed me the conspiracy..

    Peter if you want to read my work – rather than accusing me of being the one behind PNG Exposed – you are welcome too, my name is attached to it. But dont think for the minute I am alone, or that there arent others writing on this, gosh even Bougainvilleans, god forbid they depart from your essentialist proclamation of the universal Bougainvilleans personality type. Indeed, I am entirely unsure how a respect for custom, tradition, balance etc precludes people critiquing a company and government who took so much – environment and life – and gave so little. But I defer to your better judgement on this, in lieu of being given a reasonable explanation.

    Sorry when all I receive is a response – that is not analysis or counter-information – but personal attacks there is no other way of meeting it than with sarcasm.

    Good luck to you ‘pkay’ – keep up the personal attacks. May they flow freely!

  8. RWilson
    August 21, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Sensational and completely misleading.
    Find something else to do or better still come to Bougainville and get in touch with reality.
    This is how fairy tales begin.

  9. K C
    August 21, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    This desire of the ABG to open the mine is no secret, you are not exposing anything. The ABG is acting in a way they believe is in the best interests of their people. They have a clear and transparent agenda in that they see the only viable independence of Bougainville is with Panguna operating…Bougainville will not be a viable state without revenue nor will it be able to provide basic necessities…healthcare, education for its population. The ABG states its agenda and objectives openly. Consistent with this the ABG will try to present its case for opening the mine and will try to convince people of the merits of opening as they genuinely believe the benefits will by far outweigh the costs. What the ABG needs to ensure is (unlike the the prior arrangement that existed that was imposed rather than negotiated) that the benefits flowing to Bougainville and its people are significant and fair.
    Consistent with the traditions of Bougainville they are facilitating very open discussions and accommodate any opposition as best possible but ultimately the government needs to have direction will try move forward on its agenda. Consistent with the history of Bougainville they know that this will not happen without consultation and the support of the people.

  10. pkay
    August 22, 2013 at 6:12 am

    Kristian, you are the one making slanderous accusations against our leaders; against advisors to ABG. I have not made any personal attacks, my comments are about what you say and how so out of touch you are about almost every aspect of your criticisms and commentary on Bougainville. Are you a Devil’s advocate on Bougainville or the Devil incarnate that wants to scuttle and scatter asunder everything we are trying to do and achieve? Are you about helping us or sabotaging us? Your every indication from your remote-controlled running commentaries and criticisms says you cannot not afford to be careful when commenting about a place you have not really been to and about a people that you have not lived with and don’t know much about …and about incidents and incidences you cannot comprehend from the tail ends of your brief visits to PNG and Bougainville. None of this is personal criticism against you. What I am saying is you are out of your depth on Bougainville and PNG if you continue to ridicule our leaders and sabotage our efforts in rebuilding our place and society with the help of others that are making positive contributions.
    Stop telling hairy fairy tales!!

  11. August 23, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Pkay stop twisting the truth. I have never proclaimed to know about in an acute way, or be a particular ‘expert’ on Bougainville – and I have told this to you repeatedly; nor have I have ever commented on or written about Bougainvillean leaders other than in a contextual way (though I have suggested the ABG needs to be more effective in defending the rights of victims of gross human rights abuses). What I have written directly on is the character of corporations and states, in a bid to better understand why they kill and destroy on grand scales. This has necessitated that I reference President Momis – how could I not – he was a member of Cabinet when the Namaliu government, with Australian + Rio assistance, sent in the PNGDF to burn homes, round people up put them in detention camps and executive innocents (I have made clear he opposed extreme force while in Cabinet); but he nor any other Bougainvillean leader has been my focus.

    And you say “I have not made any personal attacks” – no pkay, never – you have never used personal attacks as a substitute for analysis or fact based argument. Here are some examples of your “not personal attacks” you have made about me:

    “this young Turk, still wet around the ears”

    “You are the best proponent of telling Bougainville history as a fiction” (ok not a personal attack per se, but a hallmark of your criticisms is that they never once quote my research, identify a flaw, and offer readers evidence supporting your attack – we are just expect to accept your attacks as gospel)

    “In your own society (are you Irish or Aussie, may be the latter because you just don’t get it!) you give and take”.

    “We are very wary of conspiracy theorists and introverts, especially those that come to Bougainville and hold themselves out as experts on local matters and issues they cannot possibly comprehend very well. Lasslett is the worst of them ! Some of his assertions are laughable.”

    Oh and what did I say in response to the last comment ahhhh, “A friend passed on your thoughtful comments. I am not on an expert on Bougainville, and have never proclaimed to be; I have however done almost a decades research into the Bougainville conflict looking specifically at the criminal actions of Rio Tinto and their state allies, principally the Australian and Papua New Guinea governments.”

    Yet you continue to go around the social media proclaiming me “the devil incarnate” who claims himself to be an expert on Bougainville.

    The emperor has no clothes.

  12. pkay
    August 24, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Kristian, you will keep inviting these same and similar observations and criticisms on your commentaries on Bougainville, Panguna and on Bougainville and PNG leaders because you will never know or appreciate what really happened so your beliefs and assumptions which you seem to hold onto steadfastly are questionable and out of context -and in many cases outrageously so. Others elsewhere might believe or feed on the stuff you write based on your own decade of research. Are you sure you were not researching in Sierra Leone or Central African Republic or Zimbabwe and not Bougainville and PNG??? Bougainville and PNG are not any fool’s Mecca or Paradise that you can flock to and start writing instantly about and commentate to suit one’s research fancies for personal academic attainment.

    You impress me as someone that would have demanded Momis and Namaliu to take their shoes off at Ulster or Dublin airport security because you would be so convinced they had shoe bombs. Just as they did to Prime Minister Somare at Brisbane terminal fearing he was a shoe bomber.

    I can categorically tell you that the decade long research about Bougainville (not on or in Bougainville!) that you claim you did and based on which you may have been awarded your phD would not have been passed by any peer that made the effort and spent the time to work, live and research and knew substantially more about Bougainville and PNG and about the people. I do not have to read any of your research if what you assume and pass in the blogs we read is anything to go by. I don’t have to drink poison to know it’s poison.

    Why don’t you talk to the PNG leaders and Bougainville political leaders including those you name like Momis, Namaliu and everyone in Namaliu’s Cabinet at the time you mention to get better enlightened and educated on the background and context which you don’t have any clue about. And why you are still at it you might wish to talk to every other Prime Minister of PNG and all Bougainville MPs at the time. The naivety and insensitivity you show is foolish. Your sense of hindsight is ridiculous and misplaced.

    You are not revealing anything or exposing anything or filling any missing gaps – just misleading yourself from all angles without even entering the Bougainville Maze.

    If your beef is with operations and behaviour of corporations you should also go to them and get them at the source in your country and in London and wherever they are listed on stock exchanges. You are a happy beneficiary of the proceeds of these corporations. If you are appalled you should stop them at their source. Bougainville has done it at home, there’s no need for you to come and lecture to us if you are impotent to do anything in your own back yard.

  13. Sara Haarpo
    August 28, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    My brothers and sisters we should not fight like this. We all want whats best for the locals, Bouganvillie, and Papua New Guinea as a whole.

    We all pray Bouganvillie will one day stand on its own feet and be proud and strong – with safe and clean and professional operations.

    But the problem remins people pretending to sever the people – but are only there to beifit themselves with side deals. the new government is right to stop corruption and double check major deals and MOU’s (think Micha and ZTE Satalite issue).

    But now Bouganville Chairman, Lawrence Daveona, is now trying to raise money to reopen the copper mine on his own with a new ‘private’ joint venture deal with an Australian Bankrupt business Man – named Patrick Salera – through his Chinese contacts at China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation and China Great Wall.

    We need to stop fighting each other on here and look after our brother and sisters from such corrupt, self-serving business deals.

  1. August 20, 2013 at 5:18 pm
  2. December 27, 2014 at 4:41 am
  3. February 27, 2015 at 1:00 pm

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