Tuesday, January 17, 2017

1) MSG Leaders Duty-Bound To Make Positive Decisions: Sogavare

2) Freeport to Give Up Current Contract to Extend Indonesian Operations Beyond 2021

1) MSG Leaders Duty-Bound To Make Positive Decisions: Sogavare
The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Chair and Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare said leaders of MSG countries have a ‘greater’ responsibility to ensure their decisions
positively impact on the lives of their citizens.
He made the remarks on Monday night at a function held at the Iririki Resort.
The MSG Chair is currently in the Vanuatu capital Port Vila for the first leg of his second MSG Capitals’ tour.
“We as leaders have a greater responsibility to ensure our decisions have positive impacts on the lives of our people and we must shoulder this responsibility with wisdom from our Almighty God,” the MSG Chair emphasised in his speech at the function attended by Vanuatu Government officials, Heads of Foreign Diplomatic Missions and the MSG Director General and Heads of Divisions.
The MSG Chair said the Melanesian sub-regional grouping is unique as its member countries make up the majority the Pacific island states’ population, natural resources including land and hold the largest economies.
He said the MSG countries also share a ‘ rich history, culture, customs and values’ deeply rooted in how they value their land and people.
“Essentially when we talk about the Pacific, we are talking about Melanesia and vice-versa,” he added.
Turning to the agenda of the current MSG Capitals’ tour, Prime Minister Sogavare said, “Following on the success of my first visit in early 2016, this second visit is poised to pursue consensus-building with my colleague leaders of the Melanesian region on a number of important issues in the true Melanesian way of dialogue and friendship.”
“Pursuant to the Governing body meeting held here in Port Vila on December 2016, there are two important issues that I will be discussing with my colleague leaders,” he added.
The MSG Chair said the first issue is the restructuring of the Port Vila-based MSG Secretariat following a consultancy report on the Independent Review of the secretariat to ensure its alignment with MSG Members’ priorities and delivery of much needed services to MSG citizens and the other issue is MSG Membership Guidelines.
Expounding on the MSG Secretariat organisational restructure, the MSG Chair said a particular focus for this year will be the implementation of the restructure and transition plan which the secretariat is currently embarking on.
On the issue of MSG Membership Guidelines and Application for New Membership, he said the MSG Governing Body in its meeting in Port Vila on the 22nd of December 2016 has endorsed the MSG Membership Guidelines and subsequently agreed to recommend them to Leaders for approval and applications in due course.
In noting that the recommended MSG Membership Guidelines provide a transparent Membership Application process that would allow any new membership application to be dealt with in the most impartial and unprejudiced manner whilst at the same time respect the integrity and sanctity of the 2015 Revised MSG Agreement, the MSG Chair said, “It is my firm desire to see these guidelines approved by Leaders as soon as possible.”
“I wish to build on the momentum gained during my first (MSG) Capitals’ visit which sets a positive precedence in fostering common understanding and support on important issues concerning our region.
“I intend to encourage frequent dialogues between leaders so that we are able to build consensus and reach common understanding on important issues and challenges facing the MSG region.”
The MSG Chair also expressed appreciation to the Vanuatu Prime Minister for the courtesies the Vanuatu Government accorded to him and his delegation since arriving in Port Vila last Sunday night.
Meanwhile, the meeting between the MSG Chair and Prime Minister Charlot Salwai of Vanuatu and the FLNKS Spokesman Victor Tutugoro was scheduled for yesterday.
-Prime Minister’s Press Secretariat Office


2) Freeport to Give Up Current Contract to Extend Indonesian Operations Beyond 2021

By : Rangga Prakoso | on 4:43 PM January 17, 2017
Jakarta. Freeport Indonesia, the local unit of United States mining giant Freeport McMoRan, has asked the Indonesian government to swap its current contract-of-work with a special mining permit as the miner races against time to secure an extension for exporting gold concentrates from Grasberg in Papua, Indonesia's largest gold mine.
The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resource last week issued a regulation that bars contract-of-work contractors from exporting mining concentrates starting from Jan. 12.
Contractors can only export concentrates once they acquire a special mining permit, the special mining business license (IUPK), the ministry said.
IUPK is one of a new series of licensing regimes to replace the work contracts of all miners that have been operating in Indonesia since the country revised its mining law in 2009.
"Freeport has conveyed to the government its intention to convert its current work contract into IUPK," Freeport spokesman Riza Pratama said on Monday (16/01).
The move marks a significant progress after months of negotiation between the government and Freeport — which had been looking for ways to ensure it can can extend its Indonesian operation beyond 2021, the deadline for its current contract of work.

The government is adamant that the only way Freeport could do that was by complying with the 2009 law, which apart from dropping the contract-of-work, also requires the miner to divest the majority of its shares to local investors and build a smelter in Indonesia to process raw mining ores.
Freeport had been reluctant on complying with the 2009 mining law, arguing that its contract-of-work, first signed in the 1960s, shield it from any change in domestic laws and taxation regimes.
Yet the prospect of losing a lot of cash from being unable to export concentrates seemed to force Freeport's hand and leave it with no option but to cave in to the government's demand.
Up until last week, Freeport was only allowed to export its concentrates as long as it could show progress in the construction of its smelter in Indonesia.
Riza said if Freeport goes ahead with swapping its contract-of-work for the special mining permit, the company can be sure of continuing its Indonesian operations beyond 2021.
Freeport has already pledged $17 billion in investment to expand its mining operation in Grasberg until 2041 and another $2.1 billion to build a smelter in Gresik, East Java.
"We will resume the construction of our smelter as soon as we get our operation rights extended," Riza said.

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