MAC/20: Mines and Communities

B'ville sets up team to revive mine

Published by MAC on 2005-10-21

B'ville sets up team to revive mine

By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK, Courier Mail

http://www.thecouriermail.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,16958981%255E 954,00.html

THE Autonomous Bougainville Government has established a committee to work on re-opening the Panguna mine, Bougainville House Speaker Nick Penia has said.

The ABG voted 38-2 in favour of re-opening the mine, which was shut when the uprising began in 1989.

Mr Penia said within the committee were three sub-committees with different tasks. He said one is tasked with seeking views and working with the landowners, the second will liaise with the National Government, and the third will negotiate with the Bougainville Copper Limited, the owner of the mine.

But, he admits the re-opening will cost a lot of money and it will take years. For now, alluvial gold is the talk among the people.

The speaker claims that about K1.2million generated from the sale of alluvial gold is now circulating throughout Bougainville.

"Villagers are now getting into alluvial gold mining in rivers and creeks," said Mr Penia.

He said the ABG also plans to establish a metal refinery and laboratories to refine the gold nuggets.

Mr Penia also said there is now a flush of cocoa production going on throughout Bougainville.

"This flush is from the 20 million seedlings worth K9 million that were donated by the United Nation Development Project, European Union and AusAID to villagers in 2000 as part of the rehabilitation project. Mind you these are small block holders.

"Those big plantations have not started production yet," he added.

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