MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Government of PNG's Bougainville votes to reopen copper mine

Published by MAC on 2005-10-15

Government of PNG's Bougainville votes to reopen copper mine

The National

15 October 2005

In Papua New Guinea, the autonomous government of Bougainville province has made the first tentative steps towards reopening the Panguna copper mine.

The government has voted 38-2 in favour of re-opening the copper mine, which was closed down in 1989 when an uprising developed into a decade-long secessionist war.

A committee has been set up to seek the views of local landowners, work with the national government, and negotiate with the owner of the mine, Bougainville Copper Limited.

Our correspondent in PNG, Steve Marshall, say Bougainville is still a no-go zone for international mining firms.

However, Australian and Canadian mining company executives are reported to have made recent visits to the island.

Government speaker, Nick Peniai, says the people of Bougainville support the move to reopen the mine.

"People are now talking in the streets and in the villages as to what will happen next in terms of mining on Bougainville because it's perceived that it could bring in more revenue into the region," he said. The government says reopening the mine could take years.

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