Radio New Zealand | 22 August 2016
The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has warned Bougainville’s John Momis not to play politics over Bougainville Copper Limited shares.
Mr O’Neill sparked fury in President Momis last week by handing the national government’s shares in BCL to landowners on Bougainville rather than to the Autonomous Bougainville Government.
Mr Momis said this threatened the peace process and he said his government could well pull BCL’s exploration licence, which would make the shares worthless.
Mr O’Neill said Mr Momis was trying to manipulate the peace process for political gain.
He said the ABG was very welcome to participate in the consultation process with the landowners, but the shares would go to the people who had a direct stake in the mine.
Mr O’Neill said the views of the National Executive Council were final.
He said the government was committed to advancing the peace process, and not play petty politics that could only undermine peace.
Mr O’Neill said he gave the shares to the landowners so that the ABG could not have outright control of the mine.
He said this was better for transparency, and ensured that shares were in the hands of the traditional people to whom they belonged.