Bougainville Mining Bill Condemned at Buka Forum

Yesterday ex-combatants, community leaders, scholars and citizens engaged Dr John Momis, Anthony Regan, and Adam Smith International – who were protected by armed guards – in a robust debate over the proposed mining bill.

It was not the usual ‘leaders’ who were making the arguments, but ordinary Bougainvilleans who stood up to be counted. We must not be a ‘yes master’ nation claimed one speaker, we must be a ‘thinking nation’.

Many at the meeting were shocked to discover that their political representatives could not explain the very basic features of the proposed legislation. Instead it was the foreign expert who did the explaining, telling people it was written by outsiders for their own good.

But as one participant said, the Mining Bill is colonial and arrogant. Written in London by World Bank contractors, it would criminalise women for removing marker pegs from their land. It would put in prison mothers who stopped demolition equipment from destroying their clan’s property. It gives mining companies responsibility for overseeing community consultation, with no independent body to ensure landowners have a place to raise grievances or obtain independent information. It potentially allows 1% of the landowner population to decide on behalf of the other 99%, and that is called consent in the Mining Bill!

Participants also poked holes in Momis’ claim that communities have been consulted, many there pointed out from first hand experience that communities directly impacted by mining have yet to be consulted at all.

The day finished with a strong speech by retired Bougainville Revolutionary Army General Sam Kauona who said the Mining Bill must not pass, more time is needed for consultation.

If one wishes to read a fictionalised version of the Buka meeting put out by a Public Relations spokesperson, the ‘Bougainville’ News blog – administered by an Australian ex Panguna mine worker – has provided an excellent – though sadly false – account – it’s a cool story but sadly there are no dragons!



Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

3 responses to “Bougainville Mining Bill Condemned at Buka Forum

  1. Fred Hela

    Good for you Bougainvilleans! Stand for what is right against the greed of multinationals, the uneducated corrupt government we have. Theirs is about MAXIMIZE PROFIT, and pretentious service providing. Well done to the people standing up for their rights, no more being passengers but being on the driver’s seat at long last.

  2. Thanks PNG Mine Watch for revealing the REAL story about the Bougainville Mining Bill meeting held in Buka yesterday, 24 March 2015. We had received reports this morning also from Bougainville that “An important meeting was held yesterday to stop the so called mining bill…. The meeting repeatedly shouted down Tony Regan when he tried to explain the bill…. There was going to be an urgent Parliament sitting yesterday to pass the bill, but the meeting strongly warned that this sitting must be cancelled until after the election. The atmostphere at the meeting was very tense”.

    The Bougainville News site certainly paints the opposite picture!!!

  3. Pingback: President Momis relies on convicted murderer for backup over mining bill | Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

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