Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) Has Been Engaged In Planning And Implementing Agreed-Upon Activities In Bougainville Since 2012, BCL Chairman Rob Burns Said This Week.
Post Courier | May 12, 2017
Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) has been engaged in planning and implementing agreed-upon activities in Bougainville since 2012, BCL chairman Rob Burns said this week.
Mr Burns said in a statement this had been at the invitation of the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the nine landowner associations involved in discussions on the future of the Panguna resource.
“BCL meets routinely with the ABG and the landowning associations to review these plans and agree on further activities,” he said.
He reiterated his statement at the recent annual general meeting on April 27, outlining some of the progress regarding the Panguna project that had been achieved with the support of Panguna landowners and other stakeholders.
Mr Burns said this in relation to an article in Post-Courier on May 3 in which a landowner group claimed that BCL wanted to get easy access to the Panguna mine.
“BCL is now a predominately locally owned company with landowners at the core of its operations,” he said, adding that the Panguna project had the support of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Bougainville president John Momis.
Mr Burns noted that one interest group from the Panguna area recently petitioned the ABG to cancel BCL’s exploration rights.
“This group purports to represent all Panguna landowners, and questions the ABG and national government support for BCL.
“As noted by president Momis in his interview with Radio New Zealand last week, the group has a separate commitment to an Australian resource company, which is in pursuit of mineral rights at Panguna, of which BCL has been granted tenure.”
Much of the public discourse in the media regarding resource development at Panguna must be viewed in terms of competing commercial interest in Panguna’s mineral rights.
He said that differing views on the future of the Panguna project, especially from the customary landowners, should be respected.
However, when those views do not reflect the broad support from landowners, these views are being driven by personal ambition at the expense of customary landowners and the economic security of Bougainville.
“There is still much work to do to strengthen alignment between stakeholders on the range of issues affecting project progress.
“BCL will continue to engage with the landowning groups at Panguna who have continuously provided support in finding a pathway through the many issues that confront us all.”