Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Rio Tinto Considers Exiting Papua New Guinea Copper Mine

SYDNEY— Rio Tinto  has maintained control of its closed Bougainville copper mine through independence clashes in Papua New Guinea.
But as the mine today edges toward restarting after a quarter-century and copper prices are strong, Rio might head for the exit.
The Anglo-Australian company on Monday said it was reviewing its options for its controlling stake in Bougainville Copper Ltd., after the government passed new laws that could strip the company of its lease on its Panguna mine.
When Panguna—one of the world's biggest copper deposits—started operations in 1972, Papua New Guinea saw the project in Bougainville as a path to riches. The impoverished country then was still under Australian control and had little industry beyond fishing the schools of tuna that swam near its shores.
But islanders soon became envious that revenue that was flowing to government coffers in Port Moresby rather than to Bougainville schools, health clinics and local incomes. Those frustrations, combined with worries over the mine's poor environmental record, burst into violence in 1989 when militants forced the mine to shut down.
Just before it closed, the mine was producing around 166,000 metric tons of copper and 450,000 troy ounces of gold a year. That is enough copper for 7.3 million typical American-made cars.
A secessionist rebellion that led to thousands of deaths ended with a cease-fire in 1998 but the mine remained closed.
This year, however, there were signs that the mine was on the path to being rebuilt as rising demand from China for copper in apartment buildings and electric grids pushed prices higher.
The Panguna Copper mine, seen in a 2012 photo, closed in 1989 as a result of sabotage by the Bougainville Revolutionary Army. Alamy

Mining executives, landowners and the Bougainville and national governments have been working toward a reconciliation ceremony known as a bel kol—"best translated as a cooling of the heart, or a lowering of the emotional temperature," said Peter Taylor, the chairman of Bougainville Copper for more than a decade.
But mining laws were passed this month that will transfer mining regulation to Bougainville's autonomous government from Papua New Guinea's national government.
Under the legislation, Bougainville Copper—in which Papua New Guinea's government holds a 19% interest—would lose its mining lease for Panguna. It would be exchanged for an exploration license. Rio Tinto would have to reapply for the lease.
"Rio Tinto has decided now is an appropriate time to review all options for its 54% stake in Bougainville Copper," said the company, which is reviewing the implications of the mining bill. Private shareholders own 27% of Bougainville Copper.
Some economists questioned the mine's viability if Rio walked away.
"Rio Tinto is large enough to have done their sums, looking at the costs of benefits, so I don't know if we will see a new player on the scene," said Satish Chand, a finance professor at the University of New South Wales.
Chinese buyers, however, have expressed interest in copper deposits, looking to feed a voracious appetite for the industrial metal in the world's No. 2 economy. Guangdong Rising Assets Management Co. has been considering a takeover of PanAust Ltd. an Australian company that is about to acquire Glencore PLC's majority stake in Papua New Guinea's Frieda River copper deposit.
Bougainville Copper has estimated it would take between five and seven years to reopen the Panguna mine, should the company win approvals and secure financing.
A 2012 study forecast that US$5.2 billion was needed to get the site back into production. The study estimated there was at least another five million tons of copper and 19 million ounces of gold to be mined at the site, which would sustain operations for more than two decades.
Many landowners oppose reopening the mine, however, and have been demanding more compensation for past environmental damage along the nearby Jaba River.
"At the moment, a lot of income is earned through exports of cocoa, and the government will need to look at the impact the mine and so-called Dutch Disease may have on agriculture," said Prof. Chand, referring to an economic theory regarding the negative consequences from the development of natural resources.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Uni-tech activist students have been reading about whats gone on at UPNG the past months.  Sad to see that the UPNG student protest against government corruption was destroyed by intimidation and sellout.

We faced similar problems during uni-tech saga and won only because of stubborness. Most of us believed we were doing the right thing for God and country so we should not give up under any circumstances.

As writer Maya Angelo once said:  “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”  That’s good advice for UPNG students who believe in using student power to speak out for justice and honesty in our country.  Find new ways to keep fighting for what you believe in no matter how many Bobby Yupi obstacles are thrown your way.

During early Uni-tech saga we had our own Bobby Yupi by the name of 2013 SRC President Livingstone Hosea.  He started out like Yupi with inspirational talk and saying we should boycott because it was the right thing to do for the good of uni-tech and PNG.  Then only a week into the boycott he goes 180 degrees opposite and says we should return to class because it was most important for us to worry about our studies and let politicians decide everything else. 

He then tried to stop debate on the issue and get students to forget such a man existed.  His spies looked for what students still supported Schram and the boycott.  Radical students responded by continually bringing Schram’s name back to center stage.

Inventor of the light bulb and movies Thomas Edison once said: “Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

That’s why our brothers and sisters at UPNG must understand that to win you must continue your struggle even when things look darkest.  

After Livingstone Hosea graduated and left, student radicals made sure that the new SRC president Eddie Nagual wouldn’t go corrupt like the last one. He was strongly advised to follow the will of the students and not cross over to the side of evil like Livingstone.  No SRC officer would be allowed to meet in secret with government people, there would always have to be witnesses. 

When Eddie Nagual launched the 2014 boycott and did not sell out, we had to face government and administration intimidation just like UPNG students.  Kelly Naru lead the way for most governers to threaten to take away our scholarships. OHE Minister Gore threatened to kick all boycotting students out of school and close down the school year. ONeill government threatened to send in the task force to force us back to class. 

These threats frightened many students into having doubts about carrying on the boycott.

However Sir Winston Churchill once said:  “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”   That is excellent advise for any UPNG students who believe in their hearts that we must set an example for the whole country and fight hard for Christian principals of truth and justice. UPNG students don’t ever give in to the Yupis, Mellams, Kavanamurs, and ONeills of the world.   If you let the evil side win, all the good people will later pay the high price of suffering under more corruption, worse education etc.

Our last 2 weeks of boycott at uni-tech were worse yet.  Government knew that if they stopped our boycott before we won our objectives they would win. Four ministers tried to force the SRC and Eddie Nagual to give up. Richard Maru and Ben Micah were strongest in threatening Eddie.

American president Abraham Lincoln once said:  “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.”  Eddie Nagual followed that advice. After the ministers finished giving there threats, Eddie replied with No Shram, No School. He did not surrender despite the threats.

Stubborn conviction of Eddie and many other students won the day.  Government finally figured out that they could not defeat a united force who were fighting for the highest Christian principles of fairness and justice to stamp out corruption at uni-tech.

The story is not finished. Towards the end of the boycott, forces of evil at the local level tried their luck:   

* Around 30 boys including SRC Treasurer Samuel Simon were brought to Lae Inter Hotel one night by Morobe Provincial government staff.  They were given cash, beer and food at the Hotel. The command was for the students to go back and destroy student support for the boycott. The boys with Samuel Simon came back to campus bringing alcohol and secretly went in the early hour of the morning to first year and second year dorms to urge them back to class. They threatened there would be consequences if the boycott continued.

* Towards the end of the week, head of National Staff Association Mr Justin Kehatsin met with SRC leaders. He used a trick to try to get SRC leaders to agree that the new Schram wasn’t like the old Schram and we students were fighting to bring back a kind of Schram that no longer existed.

* The academic board of teachers tried to convince our female SRC Vice President to push students to vote for ending the boycott prematurely. She was shocked that our own teachers seemed to be turning against us and losing their sense of right and wrong.

These last minute tricks and deceptions coming from the side of evil fit into a  famous statement by one Mr Dale Carnegie: “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”

In other words, the side of evil started to copy the good people’s strategy of never giving up. Maybe if they had kept this up government would have won but by then we were getting more support from people outside uni and even newspapers were supporting. Everyone could see that government was wrong to oppose peaceful students who were righteously pushing for application of Christian truth and justice principals in letting Schram come back to his job.   We still would have lost if we had ever started compromising or negotiating.

We also won saga because enough student radicals, including Eddie, were  dedicating themselves day and night to get out facts and information to staff and students while most students did nothing.  All the awareness made us knowledgeable about the issue and ready to defeat the tricks that the government tried against us.

During saga most students knew that we were David fighting Goliath but we didn’t realise til near the end just how big this Goliath was.  We had no idea that our main opponent was the Prime Minister himself trying to protect his corrupt friends (Saulep, Stagg). We didn’t know at first that Minister Gore’s strong threats originally came from the mouth of the OHE head, Dr David Kavanamur, good friend of Misty Baloiloi, the VC who nearly destroyed uni-tech.  We didnt know that it was Acting VC himself Prof John Pumwa who proposed the Sevua report as a sneaky way to finish Schram so that Pumwa could become permanent VC. It seems the admin’s talk about being on the students side were all lies.

Even if we had known these scary truths in the beginning I think we would have carried on.   Roosevelt once said  “Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don't have the strength.”

Five weeks of threats after threats during the boycott took away our strength but not our conviction to keep going. We had developed courage from our challenging experience.

As former PM Margaret Thatcher of UK once said, “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it”.   God bless the UPNG student radicals. Stay on the Christian side and continue to find ways to speak out against evil corruption, mismanagement, cover up and other lies that you see going on at UPNG and PNG.

Uni-tech Student Rebel

Monday, August 18, 2014

PAN AUST Ltd says it will own 80% of Frieda mine by the 24th of August 2014 – I beg to Differ

The Frieda Mine project is PNGs largest currently reported copper, Gold and silver resource. An update resource estimate has increased the Frieda River endowment to a total of 25.6 billion pounds of copper, 18.2 million ounces of gold and 49million ounces of silver. With copper prices currently at US$3.00 per lb this represents a value of approx US$75Billion and of which  investment totalling  US$6 Billion is required to realize.

This value is placed on copper alone not counting the value on the Gold and Silver.  This is the resource that Pan Aust Ltd says it will pay US$125 million to own. Pan Aust has paid US$25 million as deposit and will pay another US$50 million by the end of 2015 after it has taken control of the mine and developed the mine and then use the resource of the mine to pay that  US$50 million to Xstrata Glencore and to further pay another US$50 million in smelting Fees  through smelters owned the Glencore.

 On the 11th of August Pan Aust announced to the Australian Stock Exchange that the Condition Precedent on the deed of sale entered into on the 30th of September 2013  between itself and Gelcore has been satisfied allowing the sale to proceed. The condition precedent referred to is the approval from the PNG Government to allow  Frieda to be sold to pan Aust Ltd.

I have spoken to the Prime Minister, the Minister for State Enterprises and the Minister for Mines and the Treasury Minister  on the announcement by Pan Aust  Ltd and as  far as I can ascertain the Cabinet as not sanction the sale of the Frieda Deposit to Pan Aust Ltd. On the contrary the Government of PNG is seriously looking and purchasing the Shares in Frieda from Glencore and by Law as a  Partner in the project  it  has  the First right of refusal to exercise in the matter and no offer has been made to the PNG Government by Glencore Xstrata  to purchase its share in the Frieda River Mine.

 I believe Pan Aust Ltd and Glencore  Xstrata have acted outside  the  requirement of the laws in PNG and that the  State should immediately institute proceedings in our courts to stop the sale from proceeding and for the state to offer the same amount of money on the same terms  to Glencore  Xstrata  and to  take  back  control over Frieda and to ensure that the resources of Frieda are from being cheaply sold off and that the State exercise its option to hold maximum equity in the Project and to develop it for  the good of all our people and thereby  obtaining maximum return in the exploitation of  our resources.

I am concern and sadden by the fact that Pan Aust Ltd and Highlands pacific have attempted to exploited a period of our history where agencies of  the Government and the Prime Minister are busy fighting each other  in the courts  to mount a  major commercial coup in taking control over a major resource  in the country. It is very important for Heads of Government departments to keep an eye out and to have their pulse on the economic front to ensure that in our period of instability Foreign interest do not steal our resources or to further undermine the State.

Gabriel Ramoi
Port Moresby- 17th August 2014