Romulus Masiu | Post Courier | April 21, 2017
BOUGAINVILLE Copper Limited (BCL) [says it] has completed the 1990 Panguna landowners’ compensation payment verification program.
[It says] A total of K14 million has been paid directly into the bank accounts of the landowners as their royalty payment, as agreed in the Bougainville Copper Agreement. This is the landowners’ last royalty payment, unless BCL returns to dig the mine again in the future.
The program, which started in December last year, covers the Special Mining Lease areas, starting from Port Mine Access Road to the Lower Tailings of the Emperor Augusta Bay in Bana and Torokina districts of South Bougainville.
To date, the two districts are still facing the marine and environmental damages from the polluted Jaba and Kavarong rivers even though the mine officially shut down operations in 1989.
The program has also covered the middle tailings and the SML areas, including the mine pit and the surrounding villages.
“Full credit must go to the hardworking team led by Bruno Babato and his officers from the Office of Panguna Mine Negotiations who tirelessly worked for five years for this to finally happen”.
BCL was “well represented” during the verification process by Port Moresby-based officer, Justin Rogers, who was on the ground to oversee the smooth running of the program, which was finally completed at Pakia village, Ioro constituency of Panguna district.
Mr Babato appealed to the recipients to use whatever amount they’re paid wisely because this is the final land compensation payment since BCL started operations in 1972.
Apart from the 1990 outstanding land compensation payment, which the resource owners of Panguna received, they also want BCL to progress with the belkol ceremony before any discussion with the company on the mine reopening issues is discussed. The belkol will involve the whole of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville population from North, Central and South Bougainville.