Panguna mine: Minister seeks to clarify

Does Philip Miriori really represent the people of Panguna? There are many who are deeply suspicious of Philip and his motives. But the ABG is taking every opportunity to try and present their deal with him as signifying some sort of resolution with the whole Panguna region…

ABG Minister for Mining Robin Wilson signs his part of the agreement in Panguna last week

ABG Minister for Mining Robin Wilson signs his part of the agreement in Panguna last week

Peterson Tseraha | PNG Loop

The Autonomous Bougainville Government Minister for Mining has cleared the air on some issues regarding Panguna mine reopening and about the land owners.

Speaking at a ceremony conducted in Panguna last week Mining Minister Robin Wilson welcomed the Mekamui Government of Unity on board the whole peace process, leading up to the referendum and eventually Independence for Bougainville.

“This is a clear sign of working in unity and I am sure now that there isn’t any more mistrust among ourselves now. We have a road map to follow and we’re on it right now,’’ Mr Wilson said.

“First and foremost I would like to make this clear that the whole of Bougainville and PNG are puzzled about the compensation payment dating back to the 80s and the Bel kol are two different things all together and we mustn’t get ourselves confused.

“Before talking about anything concerning mining we have to consult all stake holders, that’s the whole reason now why people are confused about these two issues concerning payments for land owners and the Bel kol,’’ Mr Wilson said.

Meanwhile the minister said that the people of Panguna had been suppressed and blocked so the first thing was to free them to participate equally with the rest of Bougainville.

“Give the people of Panguna a chance now and then they will join us to get to where we’re trying to get to right now,’’ he said.

“I also would like to thank the Mekamui government of unity under the leadership of Philip Miriori and Philip Takaung, also the Mekamui Defence Force Commander Moses Pipiro  for this historic occasion, as leaders of Panguna that means the whole of Panguna will be following their leaders to join this peace march,”  Mr Wilson said.

8 Comments

Filed under Human rights, Papua New Guinea

8 responses to “Panguna mine: Minister seeks to clarify

  1. After all Phillip family owned the land ,and they were never conpensate, ,and treated badly ,and having known the family for 45 y ears ,I m on his side ,

  2. Does Phillip Maori have eny e mail contact ,up at Panguna ,?? Would like if so ,

  3. Mycall Essam

    I think this is about the peace process and not about reopening. It’s good get the Mekamui Government to join and support ABG and the rest of Bougainville so that we are one at the time of referendum.

    Mikes

  4. Mining Minister Mr Wilson,
    This does not make sense when you as the Minister of Mining thinks that: “Meanwhile the minister said that the people of Panguna had been suppressed and blocked so the first thing was to free them to participate equally with the rest of Bougainville”.
    You, Mining Minister Mr Wilson, should realise that the people of Panguna have been suppressed and blocked because they do not trust the tactics of the mining company, its motivation and politics they deliberately demand from the ABG. If you wish to “free” the people of Panguna, you should realise that “mining” is not what the majority of people on Bougainville want and in particular the people of Panguna.
    For you to think that you as the Mining Minister quote ,“Give the people of Panguna a chance now and then they will join us to get to where we’re trying to get to right now,’’ is totally disrespectful to the Panguna landowners and shows how you are manipulated by the mining company, BCL and Rio Tinto.
    Why on earth would the people of Panguna ever join you and the filth that supports you!

    • Robin Wilson

      Thank you, BougainvilleFreedomMovement for your concerns. I appreciate you being frank with me.
      I take your comments that you were not present on the occasion and you have limited information on what actually is happening on the ground.
      For your information, one of the key issues in the agreement I signed with the Mekamui is for us ”not to pre-empt the opening of the mine”. That, in my opinion, is a complete turn around on what previous Ministers have been pushing. Do you believe that someone being controlled by BCL or Rio Tinto would do that?
      I have been spending more time in Panguna than in my constituency. My approach is hands on and not sitting around waiting for reports. More importantly, I want to find out for myself what the real issues are with the people of Panguna. Mind you, I have some fair idea now.
      Two questions come to mind:
      1. Are you a landowner?
      2. Are you even from Panguna?
      If your answer to these two questions are ‘Yes’, then please put aside your doubts. If your answers are ‘No’ then please come home and accompany me in my future meetings with the people of Panguna.
      If it’s any consolation, the general feeling now at Panguna and down to the tailings is that now they feel that their government through my personal involvement is listening to their cries.
      Please feel free to engage with me. Only then after you have really established where I stand, you can pass judgement on me.

      • Mining Minister Mr Wilson,
        Thankyou for your reply. It is heartening to note as you stated above that “in the agreement I signed with the Mekamui is for us “not to pre-empt the opening of the mine”.” at Panguna.
        Mr Wilson you hold the mining portfolio in the new Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG). Is the President, Hon. Dr. Chief John Momis aware of this? Is the Vice President of the ABG government, Hon Patrick Nisira aware of this?
        Is the chairman Peter Taylor of Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) aware of this? Is Rio Tinto aware also? Is the Papua New Guinea government aware of this agreement too?
        Mr Wilson, if you view the website of BCL they state, “The vision of Bougainville Copper Limited is to return to active exploration and sustainable, profitable mining in the Autonomous Bougainville Province.
        In 2015 BCL has continued to strengthen its regional relationships with the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the mine affected landowners, community leaders and the people of Bougainville.” See http://www.bcl.com.pg/
        Mr Wilson, is it possible please to get a copy of the agreement that you signed last week at Panguna?
        We look forward to hearing from you.

  5. Robin Wilson

    BougainvilleFreedomMovement, I’m happy to oblige to your request. I have a hard copy and will scan it and send it to you. I would prefer an email address though.
    About your other queries, I’m going to say this: I am the Minister responsible and my approach is bottom up starting with those at Panguna who have been and are immensely affected by what is left of the mine. Their reality must be first realised and consequently addressed appropriately. The rest of Bougainville is moving on but for these innocent and simple people, they are stuck with hazardous chemicals.
    Their legacy issues are yet to be addressed but the way things are, any attempt to sort their legacy issues is frowned up by those outside (in their respective groupings) of Panguna.
    In my opinion, the BPA addresses the political future of Bougainville but it does not really address the root cause- the panguna mine.
    Isn’t it logical to start there and work up?

  6. Mr Wilson,
    Thanks for your reply. Please forward the scanned copy of the Panguna agreement to email
    bougainvillefreedommovement@gmail.com
    Also, do you mean that as the Mining Minister you are asking BCL to clean up the hazardous chemicals at Panguna?
    The war on Bougainville remains on people’s minds, because there is no doubt that the Panguna mine was the reason why the war on Bougainville erupted in 1988/89.

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