As Rio Tinto/BCL prepares to reopen the Panguna mine with the help of the Momis government and the new Mining Act, a heated debate has broken out in the social media over the Panguna mine’s environmental effects.
Expatriate workers again taunt and cast doubt over local environmental concerns. With typical colonial arrogance, the former Australian mine workers claim their argument is based on ‘science’ while their Bougainvillean opponents argument is based on emotion and ignorance.
For the expatriate mine staff their science is the only correct science. It is beyond comprehension that local knowledge may be equal or superior, despite the fact local communities have thousands of years of collective knowledge of their environment.
All of this is a timely reminder of what Panguna will again endure if the Australian mining multinational returns…