Posts Categorized: Bougainville Copper Limited

Mine ‘catalytic’ to sustainable development says Momis

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Bougainville has its road map for the year ahead as the President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), Dr John Momis, announced the 2014 budget.

In a new year address to Pariliament Dr Momis introduced the budget as one for “consolidating sustainable development though high impact investment” and the reopening of the Panguna mine could be central to this.

“My government believes that an operating Panguna mine will be catalytic to Bougainville’s economic development, generating much needed revenue to support other sectors of our economy,” Dr Momis said.

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The story of BCL

Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL), which is incorporated in Papua New Guinea (that is, it is a PNG company) produced copper concentrate containing gold and silver from its Panguna mine for 17 years from 1972 until operations ceased due to civil strife in May 1989.

Mine production was suspended on 15 May 1989.

Early in 1990, it became necessary to evacuate all remaining company personnel from Bougainville.

After the withdrawal of company personnel from Bougainville was completed on 24 March, 1990, there was no care and maintenance of the mine assets and, as a result, considerable deterioration occurred over the last 23 years.

In 1999 BCL announced a change in strategic direction. As well as maintaining readiness to redevelop the mine, the company developed an investment portfolio of cash and equities.

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BCL kicks in for Youth Foundation

By Ishmael Palipal and Ben Jackson

The 2012 campaign was met with positive feedback throughout Bougainville.
The 2012 campaign was met with positive feedback throughout Bougainville.

Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) has chipped in K1,000 as Bougainvillean students of Divine Word University launch their annual tour of the autonomous region.

The awareness program, which is carried out by the Bougainville Youth Foundation (BYF), aims to raise education levels, awareness and discussion on the issues facing Bougainville, especially in the most remote areas of the province.

As in previous years, BYF members will travel to their home regions (North, South, Central and Atolls) and deliver the one-day program to local schools and communities.

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JPNCC brings mining transparency

On Wednesday 6 November the Joint Panguna Negotiation Coordination Committee (JPNCC) reconvened for its sixth meeting, this time held in Buka.

The JPNCC was established with the responsibility for obtaining information relevant to making transparent and educated decisions on the future of mining at Panguna.

This is a multi-faceted process that requires the examination of technical, social and environmental information.

Once all the necessary information has been researched and discussed the JPNCC will also be required to make recommendations as to an appropriate process for negotiations around the reopening of a mine at Panguna.

The JPNCC consists of representatives from the United Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Association (UPMALA), the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), the Government of Papua New Guinea and Bougainville Copper Limited.

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Transcript: Interview with Dame Carol

In this exclusive interview with Bougainville 24, Dame Carol Kidu discusses Bougainville, her appointment to the board of BCL and the unique role of resource development in Melanesia.

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B24: Are there parts of your previous career you believe will be particularly useful in your role with BCL?

My career as a member of Parliament in Papua New Guinea for 15 years, (as a Minister for 9 years; a Shadow Minister for 2 years; a Committee Chairperson for 3 years and leader of the Opposition for 1 year), has developed knowledge, skills and capabilities that should be of intrinsic value for me as a Board member of BCL.

Perhaps a paramount skill needed for any Board member is the capability to negotiate opinions and contentious issues but accept and respect the confidentiality of a consensus decision.  This skill, which can cause personal discomfit, was needed as member of the National Executive Committee (NEC).

My Ministerial background in community development and human rights and responsibilities provides the possibility for me to provide strategic advice for both the Board and the Foundation to align company community engagement and development programmes with government social policies and legal frameworks thus assisting to strengthen the institutions of government.

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Dame Carol on-board to help BCL

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The election of Dame Carol Kidu to the Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) board in April 2013 was a clear indication of the company’s intent to learn from its past mistakes and push forward with a new approach to resource development in the Autonomous Province.

“The major consideration should be learning from the past to create a better future for all stakeholders using inclusive strategies,” said Dame Carol, who was appointed to the Board of BCL earlier this year.

“It is important for BCL and the people of Bougainville to acknowledge that the old Panguna existed in a very different era.

“We need to analyse the mistakes of that era, rectify them where possible and learn from them when creating the new Panguna.”

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Decisions to be made on Panguna

Many gathered for the signing of the Bougainville Peace Agreement - UNDP,org
Many gathered for the signing of the Bougainville Peace Agreement – UNDP,org

Two important streams of information are flowing side by side across Bougainville at this time.

Both streams seem destined to merge in the near future, as the people of the Autonomous Region furnish themselves with facts and make practical decisions affecting their future.

The first information stream concerns the Bougainville Peace Agreement, first achieved many years ago but the details of which are now a little blurred in the memory of many Bougainvilleans.

Sharpening up the focus on the essential elements of the Agreement has become a priority task for both the Autonomous Government and NCOBA, the National Government’s co-ordinating agency for Bougainville Affairs.

Encouraging people to re-discuss  and better understand the historic agreement is necessary because the most vital of all its provisions is that a referendum be held, allowing all Bougainvilleans to vote on the choice to depart from Papua New Guinea and embark on a new life as an independent state, or remain as an autonomous entity.

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Bougainville Copper Foundation has a heart for the ‘lost generation’

To upgrade a largely rural province to the status of an economically developed, self-sufficient economy requires the contribution of a great many people: men and women with training and experience in accounting, computer skills, industrial trades, teaching, business acumen and leadership.

Although a great number of Bougainvilleans have strong skills, many are dispersed across Papua New Guinea and elsewhere in the world.

Unfortunately, because of the years lost in the crisis, there is a considerable skills gap existing today, in the age groups who find themselves between the young students who again have places in school, and the older more experienced workers who are nearing retirement.

Some people refer to them as a “lost generation”, men and women dislodged from school by the crisis, missing out on primary or secondary education and now feeling too old to re-enter the school system, to catch up on the lost years of learning.

When the Panguna mine was first setting up around 1970, Bougainville was similarly lacking in developed job skills.

To remedy this situation, BCL developed PNG’s first large-scale training and job skilling program to fit the local population for employment at the mine and its associated industries.

The results were remarkable, as was the impact not only on Bougainville but also on the development of the emerging Papua New Guinea.

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Broadcast upgrade is on the way

New radio broadcast equipment designed to carry essential information on social, political and economic issues to remote areas of the region is on its way to Bougainville.

The Autonomous Bougainville Government has invested in a partnership with the Bougainville Copper Foundation to install a powerful satellite uplink capable of spreading FM radio signals more widely over the region.

Two new transmitters will be installed, one at Arawa and the other at Buin, to rebroadcast programs to home receivers and mobile phones with FM capacity.

The cost of the new equipment, being installed by TE PNG, is more than K700,000.

The transmitters will carry multiple programs, beginning with the extension to all areas of the Buka-based Radio New Dawn and the NBC’s Radio Sankamap and Karai Service.

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The nuts & bolts of a return to mining

By Leonard Fong Roka

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A high-level team from the Bougainville government’s mining department has told a conference in Madang how the autonomous province is preparing itself for the resumption of mining.

The Autonomous Bougainville Government’s Department of Mining was represented by a team of four led by mining engineer Joseph Pangkau, Director of the Development & Coordination Division.

The team detailed the state of play with mining in Bougainville.

They talked of how mining had previously created conflict and spoke of the suffering of Panguna landowners that led to the conflict, the Bougainville economy, the political future of the province and how the ABG wishes to re-open the mine – a costly exercise.

Mr Pangkau said the Department of Mining was created under the Bougainville Peace Agreement, the Bougainville Constitution and the PNG Constitution.

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