Bougainville Special Correspondent
Bougainville Copper Limited has not relented in the face of the recent shut out by the Momis government through the reimposition of the Moratorium on mining in Bougainville. The blanket moratorium imposed has effectively put an end to any talks on mining on Bougainville until after the referendum in 2019. This shut out has not, however, deterred the company, which convened a meeting in Buka last Thursday and has developed a strategy to counter the move by the legitimate government of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
Bougainville Copper Limited will now employ a more radical and very ambitious strategy that includes the very controversial Panguna New Generation Leaders (PNGL). This group includes former fighters paid to lobby for mining and also act as a security group for the company. This group had a fallout with BCL in the recent past due to payment issues and their handling of affairs on the ground which is more of a force than a legitimate landowner group.
The key strategy for BCL is the facilitation of a rogue pro-mining element that has the ability to intimidate and harass civilians, just as happened recently to the Melanesian group that entered Bougainville in August of 2017.
Coupled with that, the company intends to use Village Liaison Officers (VLOs) who will target mainly the areas within BCL tenements in and around Panguna to foster support from the community level. The VLOs are comprised of individuals who are pro-BCL supporters who will liaise for the company to create support on the ground. This group includes individuals from PNGL and a pro-mining chiefs, women and youth.
Despite having the door shut on the contentious issue of reopening Panguna, Bougainville Copper Limited still intends to find a way in, this time through the window.