Despite the claims from John Momis, the ABG, their AusAID backers and the Rio Tinto cheer squad led by New Dawn (see below), Bougainville women have effectively blocked the Panguna mine from reopening with a set of conditions that can never be met by the mine’s owners.
The women have demanded the mine be 100% owned by the people of Bougainville, that Rio Tinto pay compensation for the lives already lost and other outstanding issues (including cleaning up the on-going environmental damage) and that people displaced by the mine be properly relocated…
But here is how New Dawn has reported on the issue:
BOUGAINVILLE WOMEN WANT PANGUNA RE-OPENED.
Aloysius Laukai | New Dawn
The two-days Special Bougainville Women’s Forum on Mining that ended in Buka yesterday fully recommended that the closed Panguna copper and gold mine must be opened to help ABG meet the number three pillar of the Bougainville Peace Agreement that is economic self reliance. In the final recommendations made in Districts by Districts, the women also recommended that outstanding issues must be addressed before the mine is re-opened. From recommendations made by the women of South Bougainville, they recommended that the mine must support the overall goal by the people to gain independence and said that Independence with no Economy would be only a dream. The women of Central Bougainville divided in two, the women of Panguna/Torau and Panguna called for the grievances for the landowners must be met first and that included allocation of land for their resettlement before the mine is opened. And the women of Wakunai agreed to resettle the Panguna landowners at Kurwina Plantation and supported the re-opening to create employment for Bougainvilleans as priority. The women of Atolls, and Tinputz fully supported the re-opening questioning who will compensate for the death of the people of North Bougainville who fell depending Panguna. And the women of Kunua/Kereaka wanted the re-opening of Panguna but wanted the ABG to own the company one hundred percent so that the people of Bougainville can truly benefit from the operation. Nearly all women did not want the moratorium to be lifted and recommended only one mine should be allowed to operate and quickly invest in Tourism and Agriculture. The two-days Special Bougainville Women’s Forum on Mining was broadcasted live on New Dawn FM.