Anthony Kaybing | PNG Attitude | 1 May 2017
THE Autonomous Bougainville Government has made an historic decision by lifting the mining and exploration moratorium in the province.
ABG president John Momis made the announcement on Friday after the Bougainville Executive Council carefully considered the implications of developing the capacity of the government to manage exploration applications and the needs of the people of Bougainville.
The decision allows for applications in the areas of Tore, Isina and Jaba, places which have large ore deposits, and does not include Panguna.
Since the development of the Panguna mine more than 40 years ago the rest of Bougainville was been covered by a moratorium on further exploration.
In 2006 the ABG requested the PNG government to provide it with powers over mining, oil and gas, with an agreement being signed in 2008.
It took another seven years for the process to conclude and the ABG enacted its own Mining Act in 2015 paving the way for it to regulate its own mining sector.
“The Bougainville Constitution and the Bougainville Mining Act 2015 clearly define the people as the owners of all the minerals found on all the land in Bougainville,” President Momis said.
“It is important that the people’s consent must be given before any mine is developed under the Mining Act,” Dr Momis said.
He added that the Bougainville Mining Act gives the ABG the opportunity to preserve and reserve certain areas in Bougainville from mineral exploration and mining.
The Bougainville Executive Council has the final authority to grant mining licenses and it will scrutinise applicants thoroughly to ensure only genuine investors are granted licenses.
“We have learnt our lessons from the Panguna experience and now we have the opportunity to do a better job,” Dr Momis said.
“On behalf of the people of Bougainville I invite and welcome applications from prospective applicants to invest in our mining sector.
“Bougainville is open for business and I look forward to the development of long term economic partnerships to allow Bougainville to fulfil the economic potential she rightly deserves.”
The Bougainville Mining Registrar will start accepting applications from 10am Bougainville Standard Time on Tuesday 9 May.