SOUTH Bougainville MP, Timothy Masiu says the old Panguna mine site is a tourism gold mine.
It can become the gold mine for the Bougainville region if it is developed as a tourism attraction, he said.
“Rather than talking about re-opening the mine, I am saying let us turn the old mine site into a major tourism attraction by building the necessary infrastructure. Tourism in Panguna is our new gold mine.
“There are a lot of former foreign employees of Panguna mine who would want to revisit the mine site with their children.Yes, there may be law and order issues but let us build around it. It is a problem experienced everywhere in the world so that should not stop us.”
Mr Masiu outlined his dream for the former gold mine while acknowledging and supporting plans by the Siwai District Tourism Association to develop tourism in the district.
Like-minded business individuals in the Siwai district which is in South Bougainville electorate have formed the association as the first step towards developing the tourism venture.
On Friday last week, association secretary Peter Siunaiheld an impromptu meeting with the Member and outlined the association’s ambitions.
He told the leader the association has set a timetable within which to work and achieve certain targetsbut needed a good business structure (plan).
He said the association has identified tourism products and needed support to develop attractive and viable tour packages.
Mr Siunai spoke passionately about the huge tourism potential which include abundant war relics and tracks, bush tracking, bird watching, cultural activities and traditions, and surfing at Mamagota beach.
Member Masiu told Mr Siunai that he would assist to get the association registered with the Tourism Promotion Authority.
He encouraged the association to develop affordable tour packages and establish a local tourism network.