Radio New Zealand | 1 May 2017
A group of Bougainville land owners have presented a petition to the president of the autonomous Papua New Guinea region detailing their opposition to Bougainville Copper Ltd’s application for a mining exploration licence.
The Osikiang Landowner Association, which owns the land at the site of the long shut mine, says it wants to make its opposition clear.
It said this was in response to statements from the government suggesting BCL had unanimous backing to return.
The Bougainville Government is now the largest shareholder in BCL after the multi-national Rio Tinto walked away from its involvement and gave away its shareholding to the PNG and Bougainville governments.
PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has said the PNG shares from Rio would go to Bougainville landowners.
But the chairman of Osikiang Philip Miriori said they would never accept BCL resuming mining at Panguna because of the damage the company had caused.
The group was not opposed to mining though and has established links with Australian-based mining conglomerate, RTG Mining, to form Central Me’ekamui Exploration Ltd.
Together they developed a proposal for what they say would be a 50 percent Bougainville-owned venture, emphasizing rehabilitation from the outset and aiming to be in full production by 2026.