MAC: Mines and Communities

The Motupore Declaration on Mining

Published by MAC on 2003-07-15

The Motupore Declaration

July 2003

We, the landowners and mine affected communities, have witnessed and experienced the destructive effects of mining on human and other life forms, violations of people's rights, environmental destruction, pollution, and dreaded diseases. These are glaring in the cases of the Bougainville, Ok Tedi, Porgera, Misima, Lihir and Tolukuma Mines. This cannot go on. There are alternative ways of organising and understanding our world and how we want to live.

We declare that the current mining operations in the country are environmentally destructive and socially unjust and promotes unequal distribution of benefits. Many communities are now affected by impacts of mining because of the governments failure to monitor environmental and social impacts and to enforce environmental regulations to hold mining companies accountable for their activities. The communities will continue to suffer for many years to come and the scars of destruction will be there forever.

We call on the government to reform the mining and environmental laws and policies through a consultative process so as to enable all landowners and our representative groups to have an input on these laws and policies taking into account our own customary ways of decision making. The government should not only cater for the interest of the mining companies as it was the case in the past.

We say that under the current mining policy there can be no sustainable mining. It only caters for the interest of mining companies. There is no provision for environmental sustainability and social responsibility on the part of the mining companies. These companies should be required to commit to the principles on environmental sustainability and social responsibility.

We call upon the government and mining companies and their projects to proactively demonstrate support for all relevant international agreements and treaties relating to environment, human and indigenous rights.

We commit ourselves to contribute whatever collectively through our clan groups to uphold customary rights of landowners and affected communities to achieve a more ecologically sound, gender fair and equitable system of resource management.

At the minimum we call for:-

The recognition of landowners' and affected communities' rights to:

* customary ownership of lands;
* an effective participation in decision making process for public input in new law and policies that relate to mining;
* free, prior and informed consent to negotiate projects and the right to veto projects;
* landowners' and affected communities' representation in initial consultations and negotiations;
* to recognise legitimate and representative landowner and affected community organizations that are legally established to promote and advocate the rights and views of their members and to support each other.

Environmental Impacts:

* An end to submarine and riverine tailings disposal;
* Promote proper waste management and environmentally friendly techniques, use, recycle, reuse and recover waste;
* An end to mining in protected areas and sacred sites;
* Standards that apply to a country of origin should apply in PNG;
* An independent study of social, economic and environmental impacts and needs to be carried out in any impact area, with the people who carry them out to be chosen by landowners and affected communities and the landowners and affected communities should be consulted and given the right to veto;
* Mine closure plans should be evaluated by landowners and affected communities prior to acceptance of the plan;
* Sustainable development framework principles should not just be voluntary but put in a national law;
* Ensure that proper monitoring and enforcement mechanisms are in place.
* Corporations should acknowledge the damages to environmental, social and economic problems created and fix them up.
* All policies and agreements between the government mining companies should be publicly available to ensure that operating practises are open to public scrutiny
* Mining companies should fully disclose all commissioned reports relating to environmental, human, political, civil and social rights and health and safety issues.

In relation to international financial institutions and export credit agencies:

* No more public funding for any new mining in PNG, including institutions such as the World Bank Group, the Asian
Development Bank, Export Credit Agencies such as EFIC and the European Investment Bank;
* Financial Institutions must report on their social and environmental impacts as they do in their financial reporting.


* Impacts of the mine on women should be monitored through the cycle of the project;
* The Department of mines should include a section for women to ensure that they are represented in negotiation and decision making and that the impacts upon them are monitored and that they receive equal benefits from the mining development.

Declared this 18th day of July 2003, at Motupore Island, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Endorsed and signed by landowners from the following mines and proposed mines in Papua New Guinea.

Bougainville (Panguna)
Wafi/Hidden Valley
Kainantu (Waterais)

Note: The names of the landowners have been withheld for security reasons.
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