Thursday, February 28, 2013

Papua New Guinea’s fisheries boom

PORT MORESBY, PNG ----- The northern coast of Papua New Guinea is experiencing a boom in investment from international companies looking to process fish onshore. Samantha Magick examines why.
Around 18% of the world’s total tuna stock is found in PNG’s 2.5 million square kilometre Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The fishing industry has grown from a dependency on access fees in the early 1980s to a more diversified sector, with significant downstream processing today.
Annually, about three-quarters of a million tonnes of tuna is caught in PNG waters. Most of these are landed in other countries for further processing. The Pacific Tuna Forum estimates the raw value of PNG’s annual catch at about US$1.5 billion per annum and says this figure could more than double if more value-added activities were implemented. Indeed, PNG has a long-term goal of processing in-country 100% of the tuna catch from within its EEZ.
Room for expansion
Much of the growth in the fisheries sector is taking place near Lae, where four new plants are planned for Malahang, with broad support from the provincial government and landowners.
Among them is Majestic Seafood, a joint-venture between Frabelle Fishing Corporation of the Philippines, Philippine-based Century Canning Corporation, and Thailand’s Thai Union Corporation (a subsidiary of Thai Union Frozen Products—the largest tuna canner in the world). Majestic Seafood’s K80 million (US$38 million) tuna canning plant, scheduled to commence operations in June 2013, is expected to create as many as 5000 local jobs when in full production.
Others planning tuna loining plants in Lae include the South Korean company Dong Wong, Nambawan Seafoods and Haili Sheng from mainland China. Two other operators, Malaysia’s International Food Corporation and Frabelle already have canneries in Lae.
Meanwhile, Managing Director Pete Celso says R D Tuna—currently PNG’s largest canner—is about to begin construction of another cannery in Madang, which will double its production and employ 3000 people. The cannery is expected to be operational in early 2014.
Why PNG, why now?
The surge in investment is motivated in part by the advantages of bringing the canning process closer to the Pacific’s fishing grounds.
R D Tuna’s Pete Celso says PNG’s duty-free access to the European Union (EU) has also been a plus. Under its Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU, ratified in 2011, PNG can not only enter the European market duty-free but it has also been permitted to export processed fish to the EU from any vessel fishing outside its territorial waters, thus exempting PNG from the usual Rules of Origin compliance, provided the fish is processed in PNG.
Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands are PNG’s main European markets for canned tuna. Loin exports to Spain and Italy are also significant, and increasing.
The increased emphasis on the fisheries industry also reflects national government priorities. The country’s Vision 2050 strategy makes frequent reference to the fisheries sector as an area of the economy requiring more development if PNG is to diversify beyond its oil and gas revenue base. The EU estimates that by 2016 some 53,000 jobs will be created in the PNG tuna industry if planned projects go ahead.
Madang Industrial Centre
The proposed Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) has been the flagship project of PNG’s fisheries industry for several years. Planned for a 215-hectare site 30 km north of Madang, it is designed to create greater economies of scale and greater efficiency for fish processing factories, port facilities, power generation and waste water processing. A Chinese contractor has already been selected for the construction work—the state-owned enterprise, Shenyang International Economic and Technical Cooperation Company.
In recent months, the PMIZ it has undergone a name change and a shift in focus. It is now known as the Madang Industrial Centre and activities will be broadened beyond fisheries, according to National Fisheries Authority (NFA) Director Sylvester Pokajam.
Niugini Tuna Limited—a partnership between the R D Corporation of the Philippines, Fairwell Fishery Group of Taiwan, and Tri Marine International of the US—plans to operate at the zone, while the PNG Government recently held discussions with the French Sapmer-Piriou joint venture, which is considering a fisheries wharf, tuna processing plant, dry dock and shipyard in the zone.
The zone is being funded by a loan of US$72 million from China Exim Bank—a matter of contention amongst some landowners which is now being challenged in the courts. Political support for the project remains strong, however, with Madang Open MP and Police Minister Nixon Duban saying it is important for the province and must be progressed.
Looking ahead
The industry faces several challenges, including the need to improve productivity, achieve great scale, and deal with high operating costs and infrastructure constraints. R D Tuna’s Pete Celso says reducing the cost of freight is a major challenge, as export is a ‘volume game.’
Sylvester Pokajam at the National Fisheries Authority says the planned doubling of domestic tuna processing capacity for early 2013 is only the start of a new expansionary phase.
‘This is not the end, as we still have further growth in processing planned, with thousands more jobs being created.’

Papua New Guinea: A sporting chance

Oxford Business Group

Papua New Guinea’s (PNG’s) tourism industry faces another tough year after being passed over for funding in PNG’s record K13 billion (US$6.16b billion) budget in November 2012. However, the 2015 XV Pacific Games (XVPG) may give the sector a boost.
The Tourism Promotion Authority’s (TPA) request of K10m (US$4.74m) – 0.07% of the budget’s total – for an international media campaign was an attempt to elevate the country’s profile across international markets. The Budget Committee’s rebuttal, however, was a blow to the sector and the TPA, which has campaigned for greater commitment from the government.
While the government’s focus on the development of core services, including education, health and infrastructure, outlined in the 2013 budget is clearly of prime importance, advocates of PNG’s tourism sector have pointed to the industry’s sustainable long-term and grass roots potential throughout the country.
The TPA drew up a Tourism Master Plan 2007-17, although it does not have the funds for the plan to have maximum impact. Although the sector posted 12.8% growth in 2011, attracting 165,059 tourists, it has yet to overcome severe transport constraints.
Moreover, ongoing disputes between the sector’s three key agencies -- the TPA, the National Cultural Commission, and the National Museum and Art Gallery -- and the Office of Tourism, Arts and Culture (OTAC), has only made the situation more difficult, according to interviews OBG has conducted with sector players. While a merger of the agencies under OTAC has been outlined in the 2013 budget, relations between the parties remain sour after unilateral moves by OTAC to assume control in recent years have exceeded its mandate.
However, 2015 may prove to be the catalyst for change. Hosting the XVPG in 2015 in Port Moresby, PNG is determined to showcase its progress in the almost 40 years since independence from Australia in 1975. PNG has already billed the XVPG as “the best ever”, and at the beginning of 2013, it launched an extensive programme of renovation and development worth K77m (US$36.47m).
Although the XVPG will be held in Port Moresby alone, it is an unprecedented opportunity to showcase all 22 provinces, which was the backbone of PNG’s “Experience the Diversity” bid. The last Pacific Games held in PNG in 1991 attracted an estimated global audience of 2.5 million yet this was before the advent of content demand by cable, satellite and web-based broadcasters, which the XVPG’s organising committee hopes to capitalise on. Moreover, the committee will be looking to incorporate attractions from around the country into the design of the events.
Hosting the games will undoubtedly provide a significant boost to PNG’s local economy, which has already begun to benefit from the construction of the $19 billion, Exxon-Mobil-led PNG liquefied natural gas project. Yet the XVPG and the facilities being developed for the event will also give PNG an added edge in competing for future sporting events. While it has an established record of hosting smaller sporting events, success here will provide an important platform for sports tourism and the sector as a whole.
The hospitality and meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions segments may also benefit from the 2015 XVPG, once the construction work on a 9700-sq-metre International Convention Centre, currently being built adjacent to the Parliament House and the National Museum, is completed in 2015.
With sponsors already lining up to capitalise on the opportunities that the XVPG presents, including PNG’s largest bank, Bank South Pacific (BSP), the nation’s economic confidence expressed in the government’s 2013 budget is currently reflected by the private sector. However, with PNG’s poor reputation for maintenance of its facilities well established, the country cannot afford to miss its goals, nor fail to meet expectations in 2015.
For the tourism industry in particular, the XVPG is the best shot the industry has to capitalise upon largely unpaid global media coverage in the next few years. The XVPG’s organising committee has opened discussions with the TPA, airlines and industry service providers to provide potential packages to visitors, which will include tickets for the games and travel. However, details of these and their potential catchment have yet to be confirmed.
While the XVPG may yet be the catalyst for bolstering PNG’s tourism sector, there is much work to be done to ensure that not only are the games a success, but also that the country’s international profile receives a much-needed makeover.

World biology team returns with PNG haul

Source: AAP

A mission to document Papua New Guinea's natural treasures has seen scientists collect 1.5 million wildlife specimens.
An international consortium of scientists say they have collected 1.5 million specimens of wildlife in an unprecedented mission to document the biological treasures of Papua New Guinea.
Marine invertebrates, fungus, algae, plants and roughly half a million insects were among the bounty from the three-month exploration of one the world's last biodiversity hotspots, they said at a press conference in Paris.
"This operation has no precedent in terms of scale, logistical demands and on-the-grounds skills," said Thomas Grenon, head of France's National Museum of Natural History, which spearheaded the 200-member effort.
"These are not skills you get from reading instruction manuals."
Biologists from 20 countries took part in the arduous mission, which focussed on ecologically-rich areas ranging from the Bismarck Sea to Mount Wilhelm, PNG's highest mountain.
PNG is the eastern part of the island of New Guinea, whose western part is Indonesia.
The island's rainforests are the third biggest in the world after the Amazon and the Congo.
Although New Guinea covers just 0.5 per cent of Earth's landmass, it holds up to eight per cent of the world's known species, according to the environment group WWF.
In the decade from 1998 to 2008, biologists identified more than 1000 new species, including a frog with fangs, a blind snake and a round-headed dolphin.
"We brought back around 1.5 million specimens, and there will be many previously undiscovered species among them," said Grenon.
"On average, though, it takes some 20 years between acquiring a specimen and formally identifying it."

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Shortage in corn seeds

Source: The National, Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Story and picture by MALUM NALU

BRIAN BELL, the major supplier of agriculture seeds in the country, has to turn away hundreds of potential customers after it ran short of corn seeds.
There has been a massive demand from residents – both within the city and elsewhere – after the recent heavy rain
For instance yesterday at Brian Bell Boroko, with people turned up and asked for corn seeds, only to be told that supplies had run out.
A sign at the agriculture counter advised them that corn seeds had run out, and they should check again at the end of next month when new supplies arrived.
John Tokunai, a veteran radio journalist and now agricultural sales consultant with Brian Bell, told The National that corn was shipped in 870kg bags every quarter but sold out like “hot cakes”, especially during the rainy season.

John Tokunai with a sign that says it all
 “When the rain sets in, you see everybody lining up here,” he said.
“That’s when the hills of Port Moresby are turned into vegetable plots.
“Here at Boroko, when the corn seeds arrive, the queues can extend past Ori Lavi Haus and past the Tango shop, just waiting for Brian Bell to open.
“Once the door opens at 8am, even before the corn packets are priced, they are quickly distributed to customers.
“We just sell, sell, sell, because there are so many people and we want to get rid of the long queues of customers in waiting.
“You can see from that indication that sales of corn seeds are very, very fast, they sell like hot cakes.
“Right now, at the end of February, we don’t have corn seeds.”
“The next shipment is due in six weeks time.”
Tokunai said pak choi (Chinese cabbage), cucumber, capsicum, and snake beans were also fast sellers, as they grew rapidly in Port Moresby during the rainy season, and were a good source of income for many people in the city.

CPL to open new-look pharmacy, new store

Source: The National, Wednesday,  February 27, 2013


TOMORROW is a red-letter day for CPL Group as it opens its newly-refurbished City Pharmacy store in Waigani Drive and a new store, Stop N Shop Express, at Airways Hotel.
“The newly-renovated City Pharmacy store in Waigani had undergone a top-to-bottom makeover and has a more customer-friendly layout,” CPL marketing manager Prue Go said.

The newly-renovated City Pharmacy store in Waigani
“It also now has a Boncafe outlet inside the store for that usual coffee fix.

Boncafe outlet
“On the other hand, CPL opens a new store in a convenience store set-up in Airways.
“It will have the basic grocery items as well as the health and beauty items of City Pharmacy.”
The CPL group, Papua New Guinea’s largest retailing network, plans to open the biggest supermarket set-up by far in the country between November and December this year at the site at the former Port Moresby Transport yard, just next to CPL’s Waigani Central Stop N Shop supermarket.
To its credit, CPL Group has now established six strong retail brands namely City Pharmacy, Stop N Shop, Hardware Haus, Boncafe, HomeMaker and Paradise Cinema.
As of 2011, the CPL Group had a combined retail operations of 56 stores nationwide and employed over 2,000 staff of which 95% were Papua New Guineans.
Its retail network spans health and beauty chains, grocery, hardware stores, coffee shops and multiplex cinema.

World Bank to advise Papua New Guinea on renewable energy development

Technical assistance aims to help “turn on the lights” for millions 

The World Bank will advise the government of Papua New Guinea to help the country expand electricity access for millions in Port Moresby and in rural communities, under an US$8 million technical assistance project approved last Thursday by the Bank’s board of directors.
“Improving electricity access is one of Papua New Guinea’s most urgent needs, to move people out of the dark along with hospitals, schools and businesses,” said World Bank PNG country manager Laura Bailey.
 "Clean and affordable electricity will greatly improve people's lives, especially women, whose life and work will be easier, safer, and more productive with better electricity access."
The bank’s technical assistance for PNG’s energy sector development supports the government’s goal of increasing electricity access from 10% today – one of the lowest electrification rates in the world – to 70% by 2030.
Specifically, the Bank will assist the government to develop national policies on renewable energy and rural electrification.
In addition, the bank will finance studies to help the government and PNG Power ensure social and environmental concerns are fully addressed before they begin development of the Naoro Brown hydropower project.  
"Sustainable energy development is essential for the country to reach its potential," said Rendle Rimua from the government of PNG.
"Effective use of renewable energy will, in the long-term, increase energy security and create a brighter future for PNG."
“Greater development of renewable energy could provide an important clean source of electricity, in Papua New Guinea as in other countries," said Tony Koiri, CEO of PNG Power.
 "If properly managed, hydropower can benefit local communities and improve the lives of the poor and vulnerable with low emissions, helping to achieve a green energy future for the people of PNG."
The four-year technical assistance project is financed by an IDA credit and a grant from the Global Environment Facility, and will be implemented by the Department of Petroleum and Energy and PNG Power Ltd.

Oil Search profit falls on higher exploration spending, shutdowns

Oil Search Ltd, the Australian partner of ExxonMobil Corp.  in a major gas-export project in Papua New Guinea, Tuesday booked a 13% fall in annual net profit after it more than doubled spending on exploration and suffered several shutdowns at its oil facilities.
Net profit for the year to De. 31 fell to US$175.8 million from US$202.5 million a year earlier. The result beat the US$161 million average of six analysts' forecasts compiled by Dow Jones Newswires.
Oil Search's production was affected by the shutdown of the Kumul Marine Terminal in Papua New Guinea in late July after an oil sheen was spotted on the surface of the water. The company checked the facility, which has since reopened, but was unable to find the source of the oil leak.
In a statement, the Sydney-based company said the shutdown of the Kumul terminal had led to 400,000 barrels of oil equivalent being deferred, although overall production of 6.38 million barrels of oil equivalent for the year as a whole was within its guidance range.
Oil Search said it spent US$144.0 million on exploring for new reserves of oil and natural gas in the year, up from US$60.6 million in 2011. In addition to its operations in Papua New Guinea, the company has assets in Iraqi Kurdistan and Yemen and last month began drilling in Tunisia.
Oil Search is betting on Asian demand for clean-burning fuels to remain strong as it transforms itself from an oil producer into a company that generates a larger proportion of its revenues and earnings from natural gas. It owns 29% of the PNG LNG project in Papua New Guinea, which aims to produce 6.9 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas a year.
Oil Search said PNG LNG was 75% complete at the end of last year and remains on track to deliver its first cargo of liquefied natural gas to customers in China, Taiwan and Japan in 2014. Construction costs for PNG LNG jumped by about 20% to US$19 billion in late November because of foreign exchange fluctuations, landowner disputes and torrential rain.
"As previously indicated, the capital cost increase is expected to be funded 70% by debt and 30% by equity. Discussions are currently underway to secure the US$1.5 billion of supplemental debt that is provided for under the existing project finance agreement, to fund the 70% debt component," managing director Peter Botten said in a statement.
Oil Search said it expects to produce between 6.2 million and 6.7 million barrels of oil equivalent in the current fiscal year. It forecast capital expenditure this year in a range of US$1.93 billion to US$2.1 billion, up from US$1.86 billion in 2012.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Acting MD: National Petroleum Company of PNG is ready for the challenge

Source: The National, Monday, February 25, 2013 
NATIONAL Petroleum Company of PNG (NPCP) acting managing director Wopu Sonk is looking forward to the challenge of managing the country’s 16.8% stake in the PNG LNG project.
The company, formerly known as Kroton when it was first established in 2008, was dismantled in November 2011 after Peter O’Neill came in as prime minister in August of that year and was revived by national executive council (NEC) on Jan 30 this year.
After its dismantling, NPCP came under the Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) until last month’s cabinet decision.
Acting managing director Wapu Sonk, told The National that the government saw the value of NPCP because of its strong balance sheet, riding on the back of the PNG LNG project.
“The thinking of the government now is to ride on the back of this asset (NPCP), and participate in all other projects that are coming on stream, maximise our participation in the hydrocarbon projects coming on stream” he said.
“We will have a full operating capacity so that we participate in train 3 of the PNG LNG project, Stanley and all other projects such as Gulf LNG.”
Sonk said NPCP had a small but very-professional team of technical staff which handled all stakeholder commitments in the PNG LNG project.

National Petroleum Company of PNG board members sworn in

Source: The National, Monday, February 25, 2013 

PAPUA New Guinea should build on its own capacity to partner with resource developers in a meaningful way rather than become tax and royalty collectors, according to Public Enterprises and State Investments Minister Ben Micah.
He said this during the swearing in of board members of state-owned National Petroleum Company of PNG (NPCP), which owns 16.6% of the PNG LNG Project, last Friday.
The board is chaired by Kramer Ausenco chief executive officer Frank Kramer, with board members that included Trans Wonderland managing director Larry Andagali, Public Enterprises secretary Mathias Lasia, Mineral Resources Lihir (MRL) chairman Mark Soipang, scientist Dr Benedict Yaru, PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum president Dr Ila Temu and NPCP management led by Wapu Sonk in his capacity as acting managing director.
Kramer takes his oath of officer as Sonk, Lasia, Yaru (obscured), Andagali, Soipang and Temu look on.-Picture by MALUM NALU

NPCP, formerly known as Kroton in 2008, is the company nominated by the state to participate in the PNG LNG project.
It was revived by the national executive council  just three weeks ago.
In November 2011, following the Aug 2 change in government, NEC moved to shelve NPCP and its employees were transferred to IPBC.
“Our (government) view is that PNG should build on the balance sheet of NPCP and build our own capacity to partner our resource developers in a meaningful manner and not become tax and royalty partners,” Micah said.
“This is why NPCP was revived by NEC three weeks ago.”
Micah said he was confident the board and management of NPCP would:
n Start laying foundations for the company to grow and potentially match Malaysian-owned Petronas one day;
n Pay dividends to the state through the sovereign wealth fund (SWF);
n Drive other development agenda with the government;
n Develop technical, commercial, and legal skills that were critical to success for a company involved in oil and gas extraction;
n Lead in commercial negotiations for future development projects in PNG; and
n Lead in human resource development.
Kramer said the challenges ahead were significant.
“The foundation framework for NPCP must be completed,” he said.
“Legislative support to allow the company to operate autonomously with international levels of governance and accountability must now follow.
“Other projects such as Train 3 on the PNG LNG, the Gulf LNG, and the Stanley condensate stripping plant project are on the heels of the trailblazer PNG LNG.
“This means that NPCP must be operationally ready to step up and play its part in this exciting period in PNG’s development.”
Kramer said the PNG LNG project was unquestionably the largest, most-difficult, most capital-intensive resources project ever undertaken in the history of a young country like PNG.
“It has brought the biggest and arguably the best global players in the hydrocarbon space to our shores,” he said.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Nautilus CEO opens up on PNG dispute

Nautilus Mining CEO, Michael Johnston,walks shareholders through the various points of contention between it, the PNG government and the launch of its Solwara 1 mining project.

Saturday , Feb 23,  2013 

HALIFAX, NS (MINEWEB) - Nautilus Minerals has concluded quasi-secret negotiations with project partners over intellectual property rights in the hopes of resolving what has emerged as a major point of contention for the Papua New Guinea government in a broader dispute over the Solwara 1 underwater mining project and the state's 30 percent equity interest in it.
Speaking in a conference call on Thursday, Michael Johnston, Nautilus president and CEO, said that Nautilus has been willing to provide Papua New Guinea ownership of intellectual property rights. But the problem, as Johnston told it, was that many of the deeds covering proprietary technology and subsea mining methods, which Nautilus and several partners developed over the years, did not contain clauses allowing for a third party, such as the Papua New Guinea government, to come on board as an additional partner and owner of the intellectual property rights. 

Thus, Johnston described sensitive negotiations over the past few months in which Nautilus had to go to its partners, “household names” in the dredging business he gave as examples, to convince them to redraw the deeds to allow the Papua New Guinea government to gain direct 30-percent ownership of the intellectual property rights.
Now, Johnston said, Nautilus has redrawn the deeds with its partners and delivered the new terms to the Papua New Guinea government. Johnston said he had hoped to hear back from the government last week on its view of the new deeds, but that Nautilus has yet to be contacted by Papua New Guinea officials.
Nonetheless, Johnston, who said he had just returned from a trip to Papua New Guinea on the morning of the conference call, stated that he has high hopes about an overall resolution to the dispute. "We had a number of very good meetings with senior politicians and I'm quite confident that we will get resolution to this dispute in the not too distant future."

Apology to investors

While not a secret, hitherto Nautilus had not publicly explained in any great depth the importance of the intellectual property rights issue to the Papua New Guinea government. Thus, responding to a question from a private investor, Johnston was apologetic in describing why Nautilus had needed, in his view, to be tight-lipped about negotiations with its technology partners.
“It’s always very hard,” Johnston said. “When we’re negotiating with the other third parties involved on the IP (intellectual property) you can imagine it’s very difficult for us having conference calls, update calls like this. If I was to tell people that that particular piece of IP is quite critical to us closing this agreement, you can imagine someone’s ears would prick up.
“I apologize if we’ve come across as being a little secretive, if you like...but it has been commercially difficult for us to be able to tell people exactly what was going on with that IP.
“But now...we believe those deeds are sorted out and we’re now quite open about what those issues were. And, as I said, it goes right back to those design challenges that we had in the very early stages to develop and come up with the best system for seafloor mining. And, unfortunately, during that process we didn’t think at the time we would require another party’s name on the deeds.”
By getting rights to the subsea mining technology, the Papua New Guinea government will be allowed to use the same methods as Nautilus intends to employ at Solwara 1 on its own non-Nautilus projects. This fact raised the question of whether Papua New Guinea could then go and license the technology to potential competitors (assuming Papua New Guinea consents to the new deeds).
In response, Johnston said, the terms of the renegotiated deeds required approval from Nautilus and its partners were such a situation to arise. Further, Johnston noted that as part of the redrawn deeds, were the Papua New Guinea government to employ the technology on its own or through an approved partner Nautilus would get royalty payments from any other mining project.

30 percent participating interest

There also remains the issue of an outstanding bill of roughly $80 million that Nautilus maintains the Papua New Guinea government owes it for work on the Solwara 1 project.
Last year, as the dispute between Nautilus and the Papua New Guinea government escalated, the parties initiated a dispute resolution mechanism for arbitration on the matter, with the Papua New Guinea government alleging Nautilus had not met contractual obligations.
Johnston said a hearing date would be made in mid April, at which point there could be final resolution on the outstanding bill - a key reason why Nautilus has put the Solwara project on hold.

While Johnston would not comment on the matter, some participants on the conference call wondered if the resolution on intellectual property rights - not in the bag yet but seemingly closer than ever - might expedite an ultimate solution.
On this Johnston would only say that the arbitration process is “firmly underway in parallel with discussions, without prejudice, with the state."

Takeover, financing

Meantime, Johnston threw cold water on the takeover and financing proposals made by Ottawa businessmen Michael Bailey in early January that, as covered in these pages, contained numerous discrepancies. (See: Discrepancies, denials in C$238m hostile bid for Nautilus Minerals and “Ottawa businessman shifts tactic from takeover to financing in Nautilus bid.”)
“No formal bid was ever received by Nautilus during this process,” Johnston said. “None of our major shareholders were ever contacted. And then on the 15th of January Mr. Bailey proposed an equity line finance facility. On reviewing those terms it was obvious that they did not comply with TSX or Canadian corporate laws. And the takeover just quietly seems to have gone away.”
But that quiet may soon be broken. Bailey said in an interview Thursday that it was news to him that Nautilus had rejected the financing proposal, which he argued was in the best interest of Nautilus shareholders. He also maintained that, as previously stated in a press release, he intended to go ahead with a takeover, which he has previously claimed is fully funded by unnamed sources, if Nautilus did not agree to the equity line financing for $80 million.
"The whole situation is exactly how it reads in the news,” Bailey said. “If they don't proceed with the financing then we're going to proceed with the takeover.”
He then said, “We're in discussions with them about the financing."
Such discussions were not recent according to Nautilus chief financial officer Shontel Norgate. Norgate said in an email on Friday that “We have had no communication with Mr. Bailey since mid January.”

My life with the witch-burners

 Philip Gibbs, a Catholic priest of Lower Hutt, was celebrating Sunday's second mass last week at Mount Hagen Holy Trinity Cathedral in Papua New Guinea. Around 1000 people were in the congregation.
Days earlier, many of them had burnt a "witch" to death.

Man on a mission: Philip Gibbs has spent 40 years as a priest in Papua New Guinea.
They had tortured 20-year-old mother Kepari Leniata into confessing that she had used sorcery to kill a 6-year-old boy.
Leniata's death in the Western Highland's 40,000-strong city Mt Hagen was only unusual because so many were present and with cameras and mobile phones.
Gibbs, 65, an old boy of St Bernard's College in Lower Hutt, says it was hard to work out what to say at mass. "If you tell people they are ‘longlong' [crazy] to believe such superstition, many will just close down," he told the Sunday Star-Times.
"I spoke about how just one person is powerless in such situations and how we need to support one another to counter this as a group, and many, particularly the women, showed signs that they agreed."
Leniata's attackers were from the same community she lived in. When the boy died in hospital, apparently of a stomach ailment, a "glassman" or witchdoctor was hired for 1000 kina (NZ$560). He blamed Leniata and two women.
After horrific torture with hot irons, Leniata confessed to removing the boy's heart and sharing it with two other witches.
They doused her in petrol and burnt her in the city market. Two older women, trussed up and waiting to be set alight, were rescued by police.
Witchdoctors are paid well to identify witches.
"Divination is a lucrative job, and there is also the temptation to accuse others falsely just to get one's hands on the money," Gibbs says.
The Sorcery Act, enacted in 1971 when PNG was still a colony of Australia, defined good and bad sorcery and outlawed the latter.
Gibbs, who marked 40 years as a priest in PNG last December, advised the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission, which last year reported that it was a commonly held belief that sorcery was the cause of sickness and early deaths and that the act was not working.
Gibbs said attacks against witches have become more brutal in recent times. "It used to be that they would push someone over a cliff, something like that. They still ended up dead, but it wasn't the torture, like now."
He said witch-burning was not just a manifestation of violence towards women, though antagonism between the sexes might be a part of it.
"No, they are not savages, though some people, especially when it is mixed with alcohol and marijuana, do act in very inhuman ways, as was seen last week."
Last July, 29 people were arrested near Madang after they murdered seven people and ate them. They believed the victims were sorcerers.
Local MP Ken Fairweather blamed malaria. "You'll find any area where there is lots of malaria, lots of mosquitoes, you'll also have this propensity to have [sorcery] - that's associated with sickness, hallucination," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "If you've had malaria you'll know exactly what I'm talking about."
Last year Gibbs wrote a paper for Engendering Violence in Papua New Guinea, published by the Australian National University, noting women accused of witchcraft are seldom, if ever, raped, perhaps because to do so would expose a man to a witch "creature" that some say can reside in a woman's genitals.
He argued that people apprehending, torturing and killing a witch often consider themselves to have done something meritorious, ridding their community of a threat.
PNG's Catholic Church bans the sacraments and any role in church life to those who accuse others of being witches and who are involved in abusing, torturing or killing.
The tragedy is being exacerbated by the deterioration of law and order at the community level.
Gibbs said he tried to convince his parishioners to take a more modern and scientific view of the world "such as asking a medical doctor the cause of death", saying medical authorities need to be more open about causes of death, and in a country that often has no death certificate system, he wants one. Oddly, people will accept a death by heart attack; but not high blood pressure.
"Changing ingrained cultural attitudes and practices associated with witchcraft will require far more than teaching people scientific, verifiable explanations for sickness, death," Gibbs says.
He called for a restoration of trust between families and a collective response to protect the powerless.

Lebasi at large on the Laloki

This article was first published in The National Weekender on Friday, February 22, 2013


Down by the banks of the Laloki River, at 17-Mile outside Port Moresby, is where you’ll find legendary journalist and writer Biga Lebasi, the last of the great scribes of Papua New Guinea.
This is the romantic allure of the Laloki which, over the years, has brought adventurers like writer and journalist Beatrice Grimshaw, and Hollywood star Errol Flynn to this place, under the shadows of the majestic Hombrom Bluff.
Lebasi on the banks of the Laloki River.-Pictures by MALUM NALU

It was Flynn, in fact, who forever romanticised the Laloki River in his bestselling autobiography My Wicked, Wicked Ways, with his account of how he seduced a beautiful young Papua girl.
“Sometimes, as I frolicked with Tuperselai by the riverbanks or lay with her in the soft sand at the shore, I thought I heard or sensed a subtle gura-gura mystique of the region,” he writes.
Lebasi swimming in the Laloki River
“Little people, they said, like the leprechauns of Ireland who watched out for you.
“Maybe it was only the eyes of the Melanesian natives spying on us.
“Tuperselai and I drifted.
“So, in our language of gestures, our smiles, closeness, Tuperselai and I made love and it was a beautiful thing.
“I was less alone and soft-aired Laloki River is one of my most-precious poetic memories.”
Lebasi and I were on the banks of the Laloki last Saturday discussing everything under the sun from Flynn and Grimshaw, the heady days of the 1960s and 1970s, politics, literature (Huckleberry Finn, of course, given the river setting), independence, and the media, to his pet project of translating hymns into the Suau language of Milne Bay.
Lebasi tells his story to me
Lebasi is a pioneering staffer of The National in 1993, started his journalism career in 1964 at South Pacific Post, was a founder of Air Niugini’s in-flight magazine Paradise, was my editor at the now-defunct Niugini Nius in 1988 when I was a 20-year-old cadet, and was famous for his Lebasi At Large newspaper column.
He and his former wife, Australia Sue Elizabeth Lebasi, bought this place from an Australian in 1975.
Their only child, a son named Lato, was born in 1976 and lived for only a day, something that haunts Lebasi to this day.
Lebasi's backyard with the majestic Hombrom Bluff towering in the background
“My former wife, Sue Elizabeth Lebasi, and I bought this place back in 1975,” he tells me.
“It was on a Sunday when we went up to the lookout at Varirata and were staring down at the valley.
“Sue looked at me and I said, ‘I wished I lived right down there, you see where I’m pointing’.
“She said, ‘ok’.
“Monday, she picks up the phone and says,’there’s a place’.
“To cut a long story short, we bought the place from an Australian ex-army guy.
“After 38 years, I’m selling it.
“I’m old, I’m 70, so I need a quite place where I can go ‘clunk’ one day.”
“There’s so much change.
“When Sue and I moved here, there was hardly anybody.
“Now, it’s packed full of people, most of them squatters.
“Things have changed, and I don’t think changed for the better.
“Things may have changed for the better for people crowded around here, but for me, I have to go on, find some greener pastures somewhere, maybe go back home.
“I’m sorry to leave, but I have to go on looking for a better place.
“I’m old, I’m 70, so I need a quite place where I can go ‘clunk’ one day.”
Old and young...Lebasi and me swimming in the Laloki
Lebasi was born on April 9, 1942, near Alotau to a mother from Aioma and a father from Suau in Milne Bay at the height of Word War 11.
Because of the heavy fighting going on, they were moved to Kwato Island, where young Biga did his primary schooling, and because of the strong missionary influence there, he became an avid reader and writer – values that have stayed with him all his life.
“At the age of 15, I went to Sogeri Secondary School,” he recalls.
“After six years, I applied to be, would you believe it, a doctor!
“I applied and never got back a reply.
“To this day, I’m still waiting for a reply.
“I decided one day to walk up Lawes Road and ask for a job.”
To cut a long story short, from those humble beginnings, came forth one of the most-colourful and prolific journalists and writers this country has ever seen.
“It was the road towards independence,” he reminisces.
“I wasn’t in the newspaper business, if I had been outside, I would have joined the Pangu Pati.
“If I hadn’t been in the newspaper, I would have been involved in a nasty situation.
“I’m glad that we were handed independence on a platter without any bloodshed.
“The white population in Papua, and New Guinea, were afraid that a Mau Mau situation, similar to what happened in Africa, would happen here.
“They moved back to Australia thinking that there would be bloodshed here.
“It didn’t happen!
“The white press wanted bloodshed, hey, Page 1 stuff, but they didn’t write about the friendliness of the people, calm.
“We should be proud of that.”
In 1975, Lebasi joined the advertising and public relations department of Air Niugini, PNG’s new national airline, and got to see the world.
He had stints with the prime minister’s department, Word Publishing, Niugini Nius, and The National in a very-colourful career.
In 1997, true to style, Lebasi was at large, returning home to Milne Bay where he lived like a hermit on the bare minimum until 2011, when he returned to Port Moresby to sell off his property along the Laloki River.
Now in the twilight of his years, he is saddened by all the corruption in the country, as well as declining education standards.
Lebasi in a reflective mood
“It really upsets me, sickens me, to see political leaders and church leaders who don’t give a damn about corruption, how to educate a new generation to become good citizens,” Lebasi says.
“Our education system is going down, the national high school and university standards are dropping.
“And if you don’t mind me saying, standards of media, both newspaper and radio, are going down.
“It saddens me.”
That, and of course his son, Lato,  who is buried at 9-Mile Cemetery.
“After all these years, I still miss my son,” Lebasi admits.
“Every now and then, when I drive past 9-Mile, I wave to him.”
And the Laloki River rolls on…till Judgement Day.
Laloki River at 17-Mile