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Nov 28, 2016


The Sepiks Free the Rivers & Our Lives Core Group
The Sepiks Free the Rivers & Our Lives Core Group

The Sepik’s Free The River and Our Lives Core Group representing the people of East Sepik have released a press statement to object to the grant /extension of term of Lease of Mining Purposes 94 and 98. The particulars of LMP 94 are tailings, Nena valley waste rock dump, waste rock barge loading facility and LMP 98; Sepik River Port, Dredge Spoil emplacement and River port accommodation village. A total of nine elders representing the upper, middle and lower Sepik River basin communities convened together to put their thoughts and signatures on the objection notice (Form 14).

As a result of mining activity by Frieda Mine upstream severe damages on the natural eco system are evident downstream.

One of the outspoken local elders from middle Sepik said that there is substantive evidence that Frieda mine has already caused serious damages to the environment and has affected the river system. Sediment build up along the riverbanks has caused one of our lakes to burst. According to my local knowledge, lakes act as a natural wall in controlling tides generated by the river currents. “Our livelihood depends heavily alone on the river!” The Sepik River is our MOTHER it provides us with everything, food, water, materials for building houses and it gives us fish that helps us with a consistent source of income. We sell fish from the river to get money to pay school fees for our children; we buy building materials for our houses and boats and vehicles for transportation.

In cultural wise we have a very strong and close connection to the river because most of our names originated from the different species of animals and plants that make up the river environment. Also to enhance this cultural link for generations we have been grateful to reserve and protect sacred sites, which serves as a resemblance of our indigenous heritage.

Sustainability is nothing new to us. The beautiful lakes creates eco-tourism for us and the abundance supply of fish provides a consistent source of income, and a natural seasonal crop rotation dictated by the high and low tides which is more manageable than sophisticated agricultural methods. Frieda mine will not bring any tangible benefits to thousands of people living along the Sepik River and in the same way it will cause disorders in the socio-cultural context of our people and for that we are convinced that it will not be able to define sustainability for our people’s livelihood.

Therefore, this action of objection endorsed that there must be a TOTAL BAN on all mining activities within and in the surrounding areas of Frieda and Sepik rivers. The Sepik’s Free the Rivers and Our Lives Core group (SFTRAOL) on behalf of all the people living along the Sepik river has made it clear in this objection that this areas are a NO GO ZONE-ZERO TOLERANCE on all Mining Activities

An elder from the Sepik’s Free the Rivers and Our Lives Core Group (SFTRAOL) presented the objection notice (Form 14) to the Registrar of Tenements PNG’s Mineral Resources Authority.

Check out the latest updates for the campaign on our Facebook Pages; Bismarck Ramu Group and Sepik Wara- Ban Frieda Mine.

BRG is very thankful for the continous support and the great impact you have had in our work as our wonderful heartfelt supporter and generous donor. Again thank you so much for your great support throughout the year!

Bismarck Ramu Group will be taking part in  Globalgiving's Giving Tuesday on November 29. This is an exiting opportunity for us to raise funds for our campaign!  If you want to support the people of SEPIK in their cause to preserve their indigenous heritage and reclaim ownership of the MIGHTY SEPIK RIVER? Donate to Land is Life Project Now"

Oct 26, 2016

BRG -PNG University of Goroka Engagement 2015-2017

A staff of RCF talking to students
A staff of RCF talking to students

Bismarck Ramu Group [BRG], University of Goroka Engagement: 2015 - 2017:


1: Background-History

Bismarck Ramu Group has reached another milestone in its Education Program with an opportunity to teach at the University of Goroka PNG. This is an outcome of a long history with Research Conservation Foundation [RCF] a partner NGO, dating back in the late 90’s.

Working closer together in many years and sharing the value of work within the respective organizations has created possible discussions for a combined effort that could contribute towards achieving the higher shared organizational goals and objectives.

Over these years, there has been a rich exchange of knowledge and ideas in which BRG has had the opportunity to share from its area of expertise that is in, Community Development Work through;

  • BRG CF’s field engagement in RCF work areas/Crater Mountain Wildlife Management Areas [WMA]      
  • Field/community assessment and Organizational evaluation
  • Other organizational support

While BRG is working within various circles in PNG and in the Pacific in terms of Community Development work, RCF took on the initiative to build research and teach conservation knowledge through its Conservation Education Program with UoG.

Discussions for the need of a possible joint course offer at UoG started in 2013 and in 2014 BRG course preparation began with close guidance/mentoring by RCF.

In early 2014, RCF through its Conservation Education Program at UoG had its contract renewed for another three years with UoG with much appreciation this time BRG was included as a third party to this contract.

In late second semester of 2015 – BRG was officially welcomed into The School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

In the next two [2] years [2016-2017] BRG will be teaching in the division of Indigenous Environment and Development Studies [IEDS] under School of Humanities & Social Sciences – University of Goroka.


A; RCF teaches  - Indigenous Knowledge and Environment studies

B; BRG teaches Development [Development Tools – course name]

3: Purpose

To shift and change the DEVELOPMENT mindset/perspective of the present and future elites of Papua New Guinea through learning and teaching in tertiary level of education.

4: Aim

To change and impact young minds in various field of expertise to question, challenge and impact the societal development mindset.

Our interest is to build a strong impact on undergraduate (BA) Education students [Graduating Teachers] with the idea that they will continue to build a much more stronger impact within their field through empowering;

  • Young minds in schools [Primary/Upper Primary and secondary school students]
  • Peer teachers within schools
  • School Board of Management/Parents and communities

Students taking other courses within the school of Humanities are also targeted

5: Challenges

  • Being new to the University environment is a huge challenge in getting to know the whole university its structures, systems, culture and the protocols
  • Documentation of BRG field learning’s/knowledge into a recognized teachable content within the university standard
  • BRG content impossible to deliver within the allowed timeframe [7-8 weeks]. We have to stream down for the allowed time
  • Need additional resources for teaching – increased student registry to IEDS means more work, more resources and more time
  • Need more staff capacity upgrading to qualify for lecturing/tutoring at the unversity level

6: Achievements

With RCF’s guidance/assistance BRG successfully  

i) Developed course content,

ii) Delivered the course,

iii) Conduct students assessments as per the university requirements

iv) First course teaching, eight [8] students successfully completed the course Development Tools

v) Final year [2015] students taking up Industrial Training with BRG and RCF

vi) Increased students registry to BRG/RCF course for 2016

Given the extensive knowledge in research and teaching Development Tools, Indigenous Environment and Development studies [IEDS] has invited BRG to sign a direct contract in 2017 a joint offer with the Planning & Development Studies.

Other divisions within The School of Humanities & Social Sciences [Melanesian Studies] has shown keen interest in similar arrangements.

Want to support BRG’s work to challenge and critique the model of development in PNG through learning and teaching? Donate to BRG’s Sharing the Future Project now”.    

A staff of BRG conducting a lesson
A staff of BRG conducting a lesson
Signing of the MOA between RCF and UOG
Signing of the MOA between RCF and UOG
Aug 25, 2016


Sunset at Chambri Lakes (Sepik River)
Sunset at Chambri Lakes (Sepik River)

BAN Riverine Tailings Disposal Save the MIGHTY SEPIK!!

Ban Riverine Tailings Disposal in Papua New Guinea a report compiled by the PNG Constitutional & Law Reform Commission.

BRG’s work to inform villages along the Sepik river about the environmental impacts of the newly proposed Freida Mine has just settled in time when the Constitutional & Law Reform Commission presented its final draft report to BAN Riverine Tailings Disposal in PNG.

The Constitutional & Law Reform Commission’s Review of Environmental & Mining Laws relating to the Management and Disposal of Tailings 2013 issues paper No.6 and draft report 2014 became a handy tool for NGO’s like BRG. It is now a very useful to inform prospective impacted communities as well as impacted communities in mining areas about the dangers of tailings disposal. The review gives a guideline that provides the capacity to enquire and identify that all developments follow appropriate legislations. Because of this the outcome of this report as outline by the press statement by Dr. Eric Kwa director of the Constitutional & Law Reform Commission who has announced that the commission has completed a comprehensive report on tailings disposal with nineteen recommendations one of them is to BAN all riverine tailings in the country.

This recommendation comes from the Constitutional & Law Reform Commission (CLRC) who has completed a review of the environmental and mining laws relating to the disposal of tailings.

The review was commissioned in 2007 but work commenced in 2013 due to change of leadership in the CLRC and concerns raised by the mining industry and other government agencies who questioned the CLRC’s role in conducting the review.

The report provided a space for concerned authorities to work together to create a transparent document on waste management and disposal tailings. The commission has been able to work closely with the Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, civil society organizations and other government departments to assess developments carried out by particular industries follow appropriate legislations.

The review covers current mine disposal techniques used by different mining projects in the country. It was commissioned following concerns raised over the impact of tailings disposal by Tolukuma mine into the Angabanga River in the Central Province.

Of the four mine sites scheduled to be visited, the review team was only able to visit OK Tedi and Porgera mines. They were refused entry into Lihir, Hidden Valley and the Ramu mine sites.

The reporting team was able to talk to representatives in the mining industry through the Chamber of Mines and Petroleum and to visit landowner impacted sites and the respective provincial governments.

The draft report will be compiled with 19 recommendations with one urgent and pressing at hand is to BAN all riverine disposal. This will be presented to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General to tabled in the next parliament.

On this the Sepik River communities are now calling for local MPs to SAVE the MIGHTY SEPIK RIVER from disposals from the Frieda Mine. In all alone;

  • The Sepik is one of the largest river systems found in the world.
  • The region holds some of the most variety and beautiful ecosystems on earth.

The slopes of the Upper Sepik mountains contain more mammals species than anywhere on the planet."

Want to save the MIGHTY SEPIK RIVER and help the indigenous people to reaffirm its ownership over it? Donate to BRG’s Land is Life project now”.

School Children showing support to BAN Freida Mine
School Children showing support to BAN Freida Mine
Roasting fish in an open fire oven
Roasting fish in an open fire oven
Map showing the location of Freida Mine
Map showing the location of Freida Mine
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