Romulus Masiu | Post Courier | June 5, 2017
The ‘Bougainville Hardliners’ have strongly opposed the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s decision to re-open the Panguna Mine with Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) as the preferred operator.
This was made known to the ABG delegation led by Vice President and Minister for Minerals and Energy Resources Raymond Masono by ‘Bougainville Hardliner’s’ chairman James Onartoo during the talks on the reopening of Panguna mine in Central Bougainville.
The delegation highlighted in their presentations that they were going to reopen the Panguna Mine to boost Bougainville’s economy and this was going to be done with BCL and a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was going to be signed on the 16th of June 2017, between ABG, the landowners of Panguna and BCL.
The announcement was not welcomed by the general public and ex-combatants present in the controlled forums.
Mr Onartoo said to show their disagreement they will draft a letter addressing it to the Director of Office of Panguna Negotiations Bruno Babato and Peter Garuai to ask them not to proceed with the signing of the MOA with BCL, because they are the ones pushing for the reopening of the mine.
“We have already made contact with the Kingdom of Papala, Original Me’ekamui headed by Chris Uma, ex-combatants from North, Central and South, Bougainville youths and womens groups and we will all sign this letter. This already shows that everybody on Bougainville does not agree with ABG reopening the Panguna Mine with BCL,” he said.