O’Neill: Govt has no interest in Panguna

Peter O'Neill

Gorethy Kenneth | Post Courier

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has reiterated that the Government has no interest to own the Panguna Copper Mine on Bougainville.

Related story:  Panguna mine: PNG attempt to buy Rio Tinto’s shares in Australian mining company ‘completely unacceptable’

He also reiterated that the decision to re-open Panguna mine will be up to the landowners and the people of Bougainville.

There have been suggestions that the Government is keen to buy 53.38 per cent Rio Tinto’s shares in the Australia firm Bougainville Copper Limted.

“The National Government is committed to improving the delivery of basic services to the people of Bougainville as a top most priority of our Government

“Recent decisions, including rebuilding the main roads including Kokopau to Arawa, and to Buin and the awarding of contracts, are clear examples of this commitment.

“The restoration of the Aropa Airport, ceiling of the Buka town road and Arawa roads are important ongoing investments.

“As I stated in Arawa and in Panguna, the National Government is not interested in talking about anything else including the opening of the Panguna mine.

“In all of our meetings with the ABG these issues have been openly discussed between the leaders and my position has not changed.

“There has been some discussion between the ABG, the National Government and Rio Tinto about the possible divestment of Rio Tinto’s interest in Bougainville.

“But again, this is a decision on which the landowners and the people of Bougainville will have to guide the National Government.

“We have no interest in owning the mine or reopening the mine. We will remain focused on delivering the better education and healthcare, rebuilding infrastructure and improving the economic opportunities of people on Bougainville,” Mr O’Neill said.

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Filed under Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

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