“The original divisions from the beginning of the conflict in Panguna #Bougainville have not gone away. Foreign controlled companies continue to involve themselves and interfere which exacerbates the situation. Money continues to corrupt individuals and complicate any resolution” Stret Pasin
Radio New Zealand | 16 July 2019
The Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association represents itself as the key body at the site of the Panguna mine, which various interests are looking to develop.
Osikaiyang wants to operate Panguna with an Australian company, RTG.
But the Panguna Development Company, which has links to rival prospective operator, BCL, said Osikaiyang is making misleading public statements when it has no right to do so, under the region’s mining act.
It said such statements can only be given by customary heads, who are authorised to represent the Panguna blocks, and Osikaiyang has never had this consent.
Last week Osikaiyang issued an ultimatum, suggesting the referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea could be derailed if it doesn’t get its way over Panguna.
The Development Company called this threat unfortunate.
Meanwhile, government moves to change the Mining Act to allow a third foreign company to take charge of the mine have been put on hold until after the referendum.
Radio New Zealand | January 21, 2019
Landowners near the long-closed Panguna mine in the Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville continue to scrap over who the legitimate owner is.
Earlier this month the group, the Osikaiyang Landowners Association, announced it had achieved unity at its annual meeting in December.
Leader Philip Miriori said they now have a board representing seven villages in the Panguna area and have included youth and women members.
But the rival Panguna Developments Company said Osikaiyang doesn’t have the right to represent all the landowners and says it doesn’t have any status under the Bougainville Mining Act.
It also said Osikaiyang cannot claim to own the mineral rights at Panguna as its business associate, Australian mining company, RTG, claims on its web page.
The Panguna Developments Company has links to Bougainville Copper Ltd which is also endeavouring to return to mining at Panguna.
But a year ago, fearing the mine issue would undermine the independence referendum, the autonomous Bougainville government announced an indefinite moratorium on a possible return to mining there.
An abandoned building at Panguna mine site in Bougainville
Radio New Zealand | 13 June 2018
Bougainville Copper is rejecting claims it lacks backing among landowners for a re-launch of the Panguna mine.
Two companies have been pushing to reopen the Papua New Guinea mine which was shut down when the Bougainville civil war broke out nearly 30 years ago.
The Osikaiang Landowners Association, from the site of the mine, is with a rival mining company and it has written to the Australian Stock Exchange claiming BCL doesn’t have the backing among local landowners which it claims.
But BCL secretary Mark Hitchcock said they are confident they have strong support and that it is the leaders of the Osikaiang Association, Philip Miriori and Lawrence Daveona, who are misleading people.
“The two purported leaders of the Osikaiang Landowner Association don’t represent the actual land title holders.”
“Those landowners are quite frustrated that these two gentlemen purport to hold themselves out as their spokesperson when they don’t have the powers to do so, he said.”