Post Courier via Islands Business
Landowners of the Panguna Mine in Central Bougainville have reaffirmed their stand that they want the mine to be reopened.
The assurance was delivered by an executive member of the United Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Association (UPMALA) during the 3rd Regional Forum on Panguna Negotiations that was held in Buin, South Bougainville, early this week.
The UPMALA is an umbrella organisation made up of the nine landowner associations from the mine’s affected communities.
UPMALA executive Chief Michael Pariu said they supported the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s (ABG) decision to reopen the Panguna mine because they see that it will generate and boost the ABG’s revenue which will then be used to bring about tangible developments in Bougainville.
The ABG has identified the reopening of the mine as a priority issue because it will generate the revenue which could be used to address all pressing needs and issues currently facing Bougainville.
At the moment Bougainville is only raising about K6 million annually which is not enough to address and sustain Bougainville’s needs before the referendum period.
Chief Pariu said they understood the financial situation of the ABG, therefore they were also supporting the decision to reopen the mine.
Pariu added that they would stand behind any decision which would benefit the landowners, all Bougainvilleans and the ABG.
He also clarified misleading reports, saying that it was the Me’ekamui faction and their supporters who have been going against the reopening of the mine, and not the landowners as what many people have been thinking.
He, however, said UPMALA had already started discussions to try and lure them to their side to support the reopening of the mine.
Chief Pariu is now appealing to all factions and people in Bougainville to be united with the ABG in its drive to facilitate moves towards the reopening of the mine.