Radio New Zealand | 12 June 2018
Bougainville Copper (BCL) is making misleading claims about the support it has for re-starting mining at Panguna, a landowner group says.
The company ran the massive Panguna mine before it was shut down by the civil war on Bougainville more than 20 years ago.
The Osikaiang Landowners Association at the mine site has taken its concerns to the Australian Stock Exchange and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.
Its chairman, Philip Miriori, said BCL claimed to have strong backing from Bougainville landowners, but he said a survey of them undertaken by Osikaiang, which has links with a rival mining company, proves otherwise.
“With that 400 number, the number I am telling you, we don’t want BCL coming back. That is straight forward you know. We don’t want BCL to come back. That number speaks for itself, 400, – they’re the ones with me saying ‘No BCL’. BCL never to come back.”
BCL had asserted that the 367 authorised customary heads of the 510 blocks of land within the special mining lease area of Panguna do not recognise Mr Miriori as the Osikaiang chair, and back BCL’s exploration licence.
But Mr Miriori said the Osikaiang survey covered this same group of landowners.