MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Ona's family meets in Buka

Published by MAC on 2005-10-14

Ona's family meets in Buka

By Fiona Harepa, The National

14 October 2005

The immediate family of late rebel leader Francis Ona of Guava village met for the first time in Buka recently after 17 years since the Bougainville crisis.

The family members were Philip Miriori, Michael Pariu, Thomas Tapuri, Otto Noruka, Mark Miriori, Severinus Ampaoi and Lawrence Daveona flew in from Port Moresby.

A statement released yesterday said discussions were centered on the reconciling the landowners of the Special Mine Lease area of the Panguna mine.

It is believed the crisis was a result of the Panguna landowner's dissatisfaction over the distribution by national government of the benefits generated by Bougainvile Copper Limited during its 17 years of mining operations.

Statistics from the BCL annual report showed that landowners were the smallest recipients of benefits from the mine with K3m in royalty payments (0.2%).

The National Government taking out K919 million (58.4%), dividends for non-government shareholders was K577 million (36.6%), North Solomons provincial government took out K75 million (4.8%).

The landowners also received K19million in compensation payments for restitution of losses.

However, the amount cannot be counted as a benefit because it is a payment for the losses they have encountered during the life of the mine.

The report also stated that during the mine's operations, for every K1 received by the landowners, outsiders received K500.

The family realised it was time to look foward and felt that they owed it to the people of Bougainville and their reconciliation must come to reality.

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