Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Raicoast communities signed petition against Deep Sea Tailings Disposal

 The Raicoast communities (both inland and coastal) met on the 14th of April 2010 and signed a petition to the Governor of the Madang province of Papua New Guinea opposing the governments approval of the deep sea tailings disposal (placement) by the Chinese Ramu Nickel and Cobalt  mine. The community forum which was held at the Bongu village convened on same golden day  when their lawyer Tiffany Nonggorr was in court receiving the judgment for the injunction that was ruled in the landowners favour.  Here is the link to a video posted on youtube.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq8-apBMy28

The deep sea tailings disposal plan if allowed to go ahead will have both the Chinese Ramu Nickel and Cobalt mine and the Marengo's Yandra mine disposing massive amounts of mine waste into the sea of the coast of Raicoast. There is a high probability of negative impacts these waste will have on the marine ecosystem and the livelihoods of the coastal communities.

To support the Raicoast communities, you can also sign a petition online:
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/basamukbay/

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Seabed Mining Opposed

Source: 
By YEHIURA HRIEHWAZI
PROPOSED seabed mining at PNG’s Solwara 1 project and elsewhere in the Pacific is headed on a collision course with some leading scientists and oceanographers studying the ocean floor.
Nautilus Minerals is pioneering the technology to extract precious minerals from ocean floors in what has been described as the “world’s first” approach and the PNG Government gave the green-light to its environmental impact study (EIS) last September.

“The recent approval of the Solwara 1 project environmental permit is an exciting and significant milestone for the company and represents the culmination of over three years of effort on the part of our Environmental team,” the company announced on its website. The environmental team is led by the environment manager for Nautilus, Dr Samantha Smith.

However, a conservation biologist Prof Rick Steiner, formerly of the University of Alaska, who was called in to examine the company’s original environmental impact assessment study has expressed concern about the impact of the project.

Interviewed by BBC news yesterday, Prof Steiner is concerned about the dumping of thousands of tonnes of rock on the seabed and the danger of spillages of toxic residue and destruction to vent chimneys and unknown species of marine life.

Volcanic vents spew out hot water and precious metals like copper, gold, silver and zinc.
“(At) The site that they mine, they’re going to destroy all these vent chimneys where the sulphide fluids come out.”

He added that it could cause the extinction of species that were not even known to science yet.
“I think that, from an ethical stand point, is unacceptable,” he said.
Nautilus CEO Steven Rogers said he accepted that the mined area would be damaged, but said he was convinced it could recover.

He believes deep-sea mining will be less damaging to the environment than mining on land.
He said: “I think there’s a much greater moral question…. here we have an opportunity to provide those metals with a much, much lower impact on the environment.”
 
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Landowners win case against the Chinese Mine in Madang

The landowners’ case against the Chinese State owners Mining Company (CMCC) plans for deep sea tailings placements (disposal) was ruled in their favour at the Madnag National Court on Wednesday (15.04.2010).

CMCC got the approval from the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) to discharge 100million tons of tailings annually into the Basamuk Bay, despite the fact that they had a weak scientific backing.

The landowners from Basamuk and neighboring villages challenged the tailings disposal plan in the court of law through their lawyer, Tiffany Nonggorr. The victory on Wednesday means the injunction on the CMCC to pursue that disposal stands, till sometimes in May where it gets to the courts again if the defendants want another go at the courts.

This is a significant win for the landowners because it’s not easy to challenge the foreign state owned company, and the government. It has been said that PNG is the land of the unexpected, however, we do expect two possible turn out in the whole case. The Chinese mining company and the PNG government may push for a change of judge if they decide to get back to court or short cut the process by getting the parliament to change the law to make it legal for them to dump into the sea. Both options are corrupt and will tamper with the spirit of true justice.

Meanwhile, Greg Anderson, Executive Director of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (PNGCMP) expressed concern over the Ramu project legal battle (The National, Monday April 12 2010). Mr. Anderson said that, “the whole mining and petroleum industry is monitoring this case closely and the outcome of the hearing is critical to the future investment environment of the country”. This is a very cheap shot at the country. The simple fact is CMCC and the government of PNG have to prove to the satisfaction of the court of justice that the disposal will not have a significant impact on the Basamuk marine eco-system.

How much money was spent by CMCC is not the issue here, because the Basamuk and Raicoast, coastal areas communities depend on the sea for their livelihoods. And if Mr. Anderson claims that Ramu nickel mining company is to be a world class mine, than it has to be proven by its high degree of compliance, and that means, no political satisfaction, but the hard scientific evidence. In fact the landowners are challenging the CMCC and the government with hard scientific evidence.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Deep Seabed Mining is Madness

Nautilus Minerals was granted the approval for its environmental plan to mine the ocean floor in the New Guinea Islands of Papua New Guinea. Even though, all the stakeholder consultations by Nautilus and Mineral Resources Authority of PNG was severely opposed by the people of Madang, East New Britain, New Ireland and Manus, the government went on to grant the approval.

The people from Madang, East New Britain, New Ireland and Manus objected deep seabed mining because of the following reasons;

• The potentials for undersea mining was realized around mid 1960. Countries like Franch, Germany and the United States sent out research vessels in search of nodule deposits. Initial estimates of deep sea mining viability turned out to be much exaggerated. This overestimate, coupled with depressed metal prices, led to the near abandonment of nodule mining by 1982. From the 1960s to the 1984 an estimated US $650 million had been spent on the venture, with little to no return, however, it was not pursued. Nautilus is now prospecting in the Pacific and especially in PNG to develop the first deep seabed mining in the world. No doubt, this is will be a large-scale industrial experiment. In an experiment, anything can go wrong. Who is going to be responsible for unlikely consequences of this industrial experiment? How do the department of environment and conservation and the government of PNG know that nothing will go wrong and thus approved the Nautilus’ environmental plan? Did they bother to find out, why France, Germany and the US decided not to pursue deep seabed mining ?

• The area Nautilus is prospecting is a geological hotspot, including the Pacific Ring of fire with active volcanic vents. Is this not a concern for the country for mining activities happening in this sensitive geological zone?

• The government and Nautilus claim, that, coastal communities in PNG do not own the sea as it is with the land and therefore have no right to oppose the deep seabed mining project. However, how about the right coastal communities have over the marine territorial boundaries, for fishing and customary practices (e.g. the shark callers of New Ireland)? We also know that the sea is unstable and is in continuous motion due to oceanic currents and tides, thus, how does it justifies to say that communities have no right to object the project if they are potentially going to be affected by the deep seabed mining activities, such as pollution and geological activities due to the mining activities tampering with the active geological areas on the ocean floor?

• PNG already has the highest number of inland mines in the region and the government continues to issue more exploration licenses, so why do we need to reap the ocean floor? Now with the LNG project and the country is set to experience an economic boom, why allowing deep seabed mining? The way the PNG government is handling mineral resource development is total madness with no concerns whatsoever for the people, the ecosystem and the future generation. Is this a wise trend?

• The government does not the capacity to carryout surveillance and monitoring so what is the guarantee that it will monitor Nautilus’ activities? How will Nautilus account honestly for the amount of mineral it mines? How will environmental and geological monitoring be undertaken when Nautilus will basically operate a mobile mining on a floating infrastructure and can relocate if things go wrong in a certain location of the ocean?

The government of PNG is out there to make money, whether scientific data permits or not, or whether the people concerns are valid of not.

Read the story below:
The National, 15 April 2010


Check this website for additional information:
http://www.news.pushpi.com/tag/professor-rick-steiner
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_sea_mining

Monday, April 12, 2010

World Bank Intruding Households in Usino Bundi District in Madang-PNG

The World Bank is conducting a survey for the Usino Bundi area in Madang Province. Usino Bundi is one of the districts in PNG chosen for this household survey. 160 households will be sampled in this survey. The details of the purpose of the survey is not known, however based on the feedback from someone who was interviewed said they asked him questions like; Do you have mattresses for sleeping, do you have a Coleman Lamp (not small hurricane lamps), do you have a gun etc. That sounds like a socio-economic survey for some poverty eradication programs.

What is the point by intruding people’s privacy about the sleeping gears and household utensils?

First of all it is culturally unacceptable in a Melanesian setting to discuss the details of one’s household features to others and strangers.
Secondly, World Bank did not include in their questionnaires questions like, do you have a cocoa fementary, or how many standing cocoa tree do you have, or do you raise pigs and fouls etc. The point is that, people many not have mattress or Coleman lamps, but have cocoa fementaries, have cocoa trees, and raise pigs and fouls. These are important economic features that cannot be overlooked or left out in any surveys by any institutions doing such surveys.

The World Bank is again not sensitive in dealing with questions that maybe offending to a Melanesian (even if it straight forward to a westerner). And the fact the survey does not reflect some of the key economic features highlighted above would again provide a false data which will result in a faulty analysis and misleading recommendation and therefore whatever programs they dispatched will be misleading.

Lest we forget, what does World Bank got to show in its interactions in countries in Africa and other parts of the world? Its seems some of these places were better of before the interventions of the World Bank. In fact, World Bank is owned and controlled by the Worlds Leading Capitalists, where social services is not found in their equation, however, they have an "Unquenchable lust" for Profits.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Borneo natives win class action suit against Malaysian oil palm giant

BRUNO MANSER FUND, BASEL / SWITZERLAND

1 April 2010

Borneo natives win class action suit against Malaysian oil palm giant

Controversial IOI group loses 12-year legal battle as Sarawak court declares its land leases "null and void"

MIRI, SARAWAK / MALAYSIA. More than twelve years after going to court, the Kayan native community of Long Teran Kanan on the Tinjar river in the Malaysian part of Borneo have won an important legal battle against the Sarawak state government and IOI Pelita, a subsidiary of the controversial Malaysian oil palm producer IOI.

In a judgement delivered earlier this week, the Miri High Court declared the land leases used by IOI "null and void" as they had been issued by the Sarawak state government in an illegal and unconstitutional way. According to the Borneo Resources Institute Malaysia (BRIMAS), the court granted Long Teran Kanan headman Lah Anyie and his community compensation for the damage done by IOI to their land. The case had been handled by Miri-based lawyer Harrison Ngau.

Last December, a BBC News investigation had uncovered that vast tracts of former rainforest were being bulldozed in the disputed IOI operations area and had found "a scene of absolute devastation: a vast scar on the landscape". Local landowners had complained that their paddy fields and fruit trees had been destroyed by the company.

Court decision discredits Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)

The Court decision also discredits the so-called Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) which, according to IOI, had found in a probe that the company "had acted responsibly for the management of land in Sarawak". IOI, a palm oil producer serving markets in 65 countries, is a leading RSPO member. Last month, a Friends of the Earths report presented evidence that IOI was responsible for large-scale illegal and unsustainable activities in the Indonesian part of Borneo.

The Bruno Manser Fund welcomes the Miri High Court decision and expects IOI to stop its jungle clearance activities and move out of the disputed lands in the Tinjar region with immediate effect.


Source: BRIMAS Media Release, 31 March 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Aiding Failure in the Pacific

The assistance from donor agencies such as AusAid, NZAid, World Bank and ADB in the Pacific Regions should be scrutinized carefully. In the name of "development" they pump in a lot of money for development programs in the region through the various island governments. They also engage consultants who develop various policies, concept papers, framework and structures for the deliveries of development activities as per the aid monies. However there is nothing much to show in reality in local communities apart from the glossy cover reports they produce with graphs and statistics that satisfy themselves. These assistances have created a cancer of dependency and countries have undermined their potentials to find their own solutions. It is evident that western or foreign solutions do not bring positive outcomes to indigenous communities.

We must question why, all the Aid pumped to countries in Africa is far from bring about real solutions. In fact poverty and problems have escalated to a higher degree, the wars, starvation, health issues, riots and the list goes on.

The various governments in the region have been receiving a lot of aid money for the development programs for various reforms, structural adjustments and governance and in fact there is little to show.

Are these donor agencies playing a strategic role in destabilizing opportunities for self-reliance in the region?
Are these donors playing an undercover role by funding development programs that are geared to fail pacific states?
Are these donors are capitalist who are in fact wolves in sheep skin?
Are these donors part of an intelligence network that promotes re-colonization?

These questions need to be asked. I do not think they are the "good Samaritan" at all. We have to be suspicious when they come in with their programs and do not jump up and down and think they are genuine.

The finance they provide for development programs are like the "bait" on the fishing line. Once you swallow the bait, you swallow the hook as well. They replicate all the fail program and projects around the world and are bring war instead of peace, disaster instead of solutions.

These Aid agencies are financing strategies, policies, structures and plans to fail Pacific states and re-colonization. Indigenous people seem to be on the losing end in most of these donor driver development programs. Pacific countries have to assess all the assistance critically before accepting it.

There are many possibilities of internal solutions to our problems than that is brought in by foreigner consultants and the bondage aid supplied by these financial donors. Look at the experience in Cuba, how they made it through the period of blockade put up by the USA. Cuba was able to develop solutions from within in challenging the once world super power, people can do it!
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