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Jul 22, 2016

Alliance of Solwara Warriors

Alliance of Solwara Warriors Campaign banner
Alliance of Solwara Warriors Campaign banner

Seabed mining pursued without due diligence to extensive FPIC

The issue of seabed mining in Papua New Guinea has received more resistance than acceptance as communities, stakeholders and citizens are becoming aware of this untried process of mineral extraction that is scheduled for testing in the tuna rich waters of PNG.

With the established understanding of the detrimental effects of land based mining in the country, and the fact that seabed mining is a process never tried before in the world, compounds the fear of the negative consequences seabed mining will have on the environment.

Islanders in New Ireland have continually expressed opposition towards seabed mining in their waters since it was given the nod by PNG and New Ireland governments on their fishing and ritual waters. The world famous Shark callers of New Ireland have no doubt their ancestral ritual is in danger of virtual extinction.

The call to stop the highly controversial experiment of seabed mining in Papua New Guinea is now a national issue of importance as the current political events unfolding with the O’Neill government.

This untried and potentially dangerous process of mineral extraction is scheduled for testing in the tuna rich waters of PNG, off the coast of New Ireland province under the Solwara 1 project.

And what makes this process more contentious is the utter lack of peoples’ free prior and informed consent (FPIC) to the idea of seabed mining. There has not been any form of extensive consultation on the peoples’ views and feelings about seabed mining, nor has any research or fair awareness on the issue of seabed mining being carried out to make people aware of what processes are involved and stakeholder-ship or the matter of benefits from this mining process.

Throughout PNG there has been continual calls from the people towards the government to stop seabed mining due to the fact it is an experimental process. The resistance to seabed mining has been nothing short of phenomenal, with communities and the church and even world governing bodies expressing grave concerns.

The newly formed national representative body of the Alliance of Solwara Warriors is now demanding total ban of seabed mining in Papua New Guinea.

The Alliance of Solwara Warriors is an innitiative undertaken by BRG and other local and regional stakeholders to stand up against such explotive industry in the sea. So far The Alliance has taken the fight to all levels of discussions in local communities, churches,NGO's, schools and cultural socities.

It is an indigeneous people's struggle to claim their livelihood and that the Alliance of Solwara Warriors is content that all necessarry processes will be used to address the issue of Sea bed mining in PNG.

Awareness Campaign to ban Sea bed Mining
Awareness Campaign to ban Sea bed Mining

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May 24, 2016

Bougainville's Green Revolution

Bruno
Bruno

Rebuilding Our Home- Bougainville’s Green Revolution

Bougainville Island is a special region in PNG and the Pacific. Coming out of a tense ten-year civil war the region is still coming to terms with peace and reconciliation within the people of Bougainville and the rest of Papua New Guinea. BRG was able to send a team to visit Bougainville this year to conduct development trainings and to document and film the story of Bruno a local man from the Paruparu area of Central Bougainville. He highlights BRG’s vision and commitment to build self-reliance and sustainable development in communities.

Bruno is from Sipuru in the Paruparu area, which is, located right next to the Rio Tinto Copper Mine that was cause of a major conflict on Bougainville that resulted in the death of 20,000 Bougainvilleans.

Bruno is a forester by profession. He was living and working in the Solomon Islands but left and returned to his island home Bougainville shortly after the outbreak of what is known as the Bougainville Crisis.

After returning home he developed an Integrated Agricultural method for gardening practices to grow different varieties of food crops in a specific area. This method of gardening is necessary to retain the supply of nutrients in consistent cycle thus enhancing a constant food supply. Also Bruno has been a hero in reclaiming his people’s future in replanting trees to reclaim a whole area of land damaged by wastes from the mine for more than 20 years. As part of his ongoing work in reforestation he was able to plant more than half a million trees since1989.

He established a school called The Paruparu Development Centre (PDC). The main aim of having his own school is to train people and the younger generation to continue to plant trees and encouraging Integrated Agricultural methods of gardening. His student intake varies from 35 to 50 students. His school operates on seasonal basis depending on the produce from his gardens to provide food for students when they attend trainings.

Some of the courses he teaches include; Soil Science, Ecosystems, Economy Security, and Food Security Diversification just to name a few.

His work has played an important role to encourage self-reliance thus making Paruparu a special place for food source and security during the civil war and it was the main command centre point for communication for the commanders of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA).

At present the Paruparu Development Centre has faced closure due to limited funds to improve its facilities. These facilities include two classrooms, two dormitories one each for males and females and a student mess. However, this has not stopped Bruno to spend time in his plant nurseries or check on his students in the field still planting trees and encouraging people to use the Integrated Agricultural method of gardening.

Bruno is a catalyst of change to reclaim his people’s livelihood and an advocate for self-reliance and sustainable development. BRG is working with Bruno in identifying rural landowners from mainland PNG who are under the threat of climate change – and sending them to Bruno’s “school” for 3 month courses in agriculture practices, that will prepare them to deal with the effects of climate change on their land and resources.

Stay tuned BRG will be posting updates and photos on the program as we move ahead with Bruno in this initiative.

Apr 20, 2016

Threat to Humanity- MCC's Intruding Pipeline

Deteriorating section of the Lae-Madang Highway
Deteriorating section of the Lae-Madang Highway

The slurry pipeline belonging to Chinese Nickel Company; MCC Ramu NiCo, is causing much disorders to communities living along the Lae-Madang highway which the pipeline runs adjacent to.

As much as the leaks and recent bursting pipes, people are not happy with how the pipeline sits along the road, which runs right through their food gardens. The placement of the pipes from Kurumbukari mine site to Basamuk refinery has done nothing good for the people except destroy their food gardens.

Wasa Rita, a local from the area and a subsistence gardener claims the pipeline has affected their source of income. The pipeline has taken up much of the arable land that they use to plant food crops. Coupled with that is much of the landscape had to be changed to cater for the pipeline.

The pipeline was constructed without consideration of how it would affect the local communities living along the highway. Rita says they had no say in the whole process in building the pipeline.

In addition to that, landslip due to heavy downpour has caused one section of the pipeline along the highway to burst, spilling its contents onto food gardens and nearby rivers and creeks.

People have stopped drinking from the rivers since the incident and this has affected their lives in terms of clean drinking water. The chemical content from the leaking pipe has actually killed food crops in the gardens, causing fear and alarm amongst the villagers living along the highway.

Coupled with that is the treacherous condition of the highway, which is unfit for public use and could face closure.

Another local Watis Nara from Bibirie area along the highway said the adjacent placement of the pipeline to the road has directly contributed to the deterioration of the road. He stated the road was never in the condition it is now before the construction of the pipeline .

According to Nara, since the contruction of the pipeline, there have been numerous landslides along the highway, covering food gardens and destroying homes in most instances.

In all these, one can ask where does responsibility lay on the part of the Chinese company; Ramu Nico? Do they care one bit of the people they make millions from their land?

They simply do not care. All they care about is maximising profit despite the destruction done to the people, their environment and their livelihood.

 

 

 

Spillage from pipeline destroying the vegetation
Spillage from pipeline destroying the vegetation
Pipeline affected by natural landform changes
Pipeline affected by natural landform changes
Wasa Rita far left and her extended family
Wasa Rita far left and her extended family
 
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