Panguna mine protesters “not landowners”

Sebastian Hakalits | Post Courier | 22 June, 2017 

The Vice President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government Raymond Masono has expressed disgust at the action of those calling themselves hardliners that recently prevented the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).

The signing scheduled for June 16 2017 was to be done between the ABG and the Panguna Mine Affected Landowners (PMAL) and other stakeholders to the Panguna Mine.

Mr Masono said the signing would have started the process of removing impediments to reopening the Panguna Mine but the ABG team was prevented from travelling to Panguna for the signing by the group opposed to the reopening of the mine and Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL’s) return to redevelop the mine.

He said Bougainville is probably one of a few places in this country where individuals or groups disagreeing with a particular government policy can stop a legitimate government from carrying out its mandated duties for the common good of its citizens.

Mr Masono said this does not auger well for good governance, the rule of law and respect for lawful authority, that are important benchmarks in the ratification outcome of the referendum by the national government and the international community who are watching our every actions.

“What kind of signal are we sending to the United Nations and the rest of the international community with regards to Bougainville’s unity prior to the conduct of the referendum, as well as ratification by PNG and the support of the UN and the international community of the outcome,” Mr Masono asked.

The Vice President said it must also be understood that those opposed to the reopening of Panguna and the return of BCL are not landowners.


1 Comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

One response to “Panguna mine protesters “not landowners”

  1. Radio New Zealand, 23 June 2017
    There’s a call for the government in the Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville to work harder to tell the people what it is planning to do.

    The Autonomous Bouganville Government wants to re-start mining at Panguna to bolster the economy ahead of a referendum on independence, but its efforts last week to sign up Panguna landowners was stymied by a protest and legal action.

    The legal action came because the government was dealing with the wrong landowners’ group.

    The correct body was the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association.

    Its chair Philip Miriori said mining at Panguna cannot involve the company that operated the mine before the civil war, Bougainville Copper Ltd.

    But he said they are keen on mining and are ready to go, bringing in Australian miner RTG.

    Mr Miriori said there was a need for the government to undertake more awareness.

    “To go right down to the people, you know, and tell them what is the advantage of re-opening the mine now, To us I can see that we start the mine up now, so that we start generating the money and prepare for the referendum or whatever you know.”

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