MAC: Mines and Communities

Bougainville: Panguna gets the nod

Published by MAC on 2010-12-06
Source: Post Courier, DawnFm

Panguna gets the nod

Post Courier

29 November 2010

"A MAJOR step to Bougainville's economic recovery has unfolded. Panguna landowners now want the mine to open but on their terms. About 100 representatives from the six Panguna mine lease affected areas met in Buka for two days at the Kuri Village Resort to start the official negotiation process to review the Bougainville Copper Agreement.

They said for the first time in six years all six mine lease holders had met, thanks to the effort by Minister for Bougainville Affairs Fidelis Semoso who financed and brought all of them together to meet on these issues. The six lease areas are Siokate, Port lease, Port Mine Access Road lease, special mining lease, Upper Tailings and Lower Tailings. Resolutions were passed and presented to Mr Semoso for further action.

"Reopening of the Panguna Mine - as a combined group and with difference to the rest of the people of Bougainville, we the six Panguna mine affected landowner associations (PMALA) through our proposed umbrella landowner executive are of the firm position that the following must be resolved to our satisfaction prior to any re-opening and return to mining in Panguna."

"Any statement relating to the future of the Panguna Mine must respect the views and concerns of the people within the PMALA areas.

"We reiterate that PMALA is a critical party to the BCA review and as a recognition to this position, the associations must be, properly and thoroughly briefed of all preparations leading to the commencement of the review and on all stages of the review after it commences."

Initially the Lower Tailings, those badly affected by the mine closure, destruction and environmental, social damage gave their recommendation that they do not want any other companies to come and mine except BCL.

Mr Semoso was labelled a hero for uniting all six mining lease areas and for moving the negotiations forward.

The mine affected landowners associations were given two months to sort themselves out and an estimated timeframe of December 2011 - the mine operation should officially begin if all goes well.

Landowners set pace for Bville Copper Agreement review

By Reuben Kalaung


28 November 2010

Buka - ALMOST two hundred landowners representing six Mining Lease Area in Bougainville have reached a common understanding to allow the review of the Bougainville Copper Agreement, with the view to open the closed down giant Panguna mine in the future.

That meeting was history in the making for the Panguna Mine landowners, being the first for everyone to attend since the civil crisis. Landowners travelled in from Central and South Bougainville while a handful travelled in from other parts of PNG over the weekend.

The meeting was funded by the Regional Member and Minister for Bougainville Affairs Fidelis Semoso, was broadcasted live by Bougainville's community radio station New Dawn FM.

The landowner groups did not spent much time in their deliberations before making their presentation today. All resolutions tabled before themselves were unanimously endorsed. Several issues were highlighted as important by the landowner groups - the most important being the disposal of tailings and environmental damages.

Minister Semos oapplauded the deliberations of the meeting and urged the landowner groups to come with their decision to review the Bougainville Copper Agreement within two months. Mr. Semoso committed K300, 000 to assist the landowner groups to fast track their discussions.

Vice President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government Patrick Nisira accepted a challenge by Mr. Semoso to assist the landowners with an additional funding of K600, 000. Member for Central Bougainville Jimmy Miringtoro was also challenged to assist with another K300, 000.

The landowners have been challenged to work together to allow the mine re-opening by the end of next year. All land groups have made an under taking to work with all stakeholders, however, have made it known that they prefer working with mine owner Rio Tinto than any other mining companies. They say it's better to deal with the devil they know than the devil they do not know.

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