MAC: Mines and Communities

Bougainville update

Published by MAC on 2007-03-02

Bougainville update

2nd March 2007

The self-styled European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper (despite its title, it doesn’t include the company's dominant shareholder, Rio Tinto) is understandably happy that the Panguna landowners association apparently accepts them as legitimate participants in discussions over re-opening the benighted mine.

The group’s spokesperson last week declared himself "...very satisfied to hear that the landowners...soon want to start negotiations with BCL only, and not with other [sic!] dubious companies."

But the Europeans shouldn't assume that all is now in the bag for a resumption of mining - far from it.

Bougainville: Panguna Mine & PNG


28th February 07

BOUGAINVILLE Copper Limited will be the only mining company that will be allowed by the Panguna landowners to discuss the future of the Panguna mine.

This is because the company is currently the mining lease holder of the area on which the mine is located and also because there are outstanding issues that need to be sorted out with the company.

Road Mining Tailings Lease Trustee Ltd director and Panguna Landowners' Association spokesman Lawrence Daveona said this yesterday after learning that a proposal by Australian junior mining company Ord River Resources was currently before the Bougainville Executive Council for the executives to deliberate on today. "We made a resolution in November last year to deal with Bougainville Copper Limited regarding the Panguna mine," Mr Daveona said. "The (PNG) Mining Minister Sam Akoitai is aware of this resolution and the Minister responsible for Bougainville Affairs is also aware of this resolution."

He said there were outstanding issues such as environment, legal and social that needed to be addressed before any mining of Panguna could be discussed.

Mr Daveona also said that there was already a lease holder for Panguna and that any attempts to bring in investors in the mining sector should be done in a transparent manner to have credible investors into Bougainville.

The Panguna landowners have also supported statements by the Bougainville regional MP Bougainville Leo Hannett in which he raised important issues of concern to the ABG, the landowners and the people of the region in general the tax claim by the IRC against BCL for over K27 million.

They said the ABG should push ahead to claim all or some of the K27 million as that money was generated with money earned from mining on Bougainville.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

Press Release by European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper

2nd March 2007

In a statement that was published in Europe on March 1st by the European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper (ESBC), the group welcomed the initiatives recently taken to bring Bougainville finally to a brighter future. More than 50 members belong to the ESBC. This represents the third largest group amongst the major shareholders of BCL.

"We invite all the people of Bougainville to gather behind their leaders who work hard for a better economic future of the island", ESBC-Spokesman Axel G. Sturm said last Thursday in Andorra. "As we mentioned a couple of months ago", Mr. Sturm added, "Bougainville has an excellent perspective to move from being an emerging to being a wealthy country with work and welfare for all if all Bougainvilleans stand together in respect to each other."

"Especially the young people of Bougainville", underlines Mr. Sturm, "need a real task to be proud of. Their task should be to build up their new Bougainville and to fight against drug and alcohol abuse." Sturm: "We are also convinced that the Mekamui too want all the best for Bougainville and will finally lay down their weapons and participate in a peaceful evolution."

The European shareholders appreciate very much the proposal, presented by Bougainville MP Hon. Leo Hannett in February to the PNG-Parliament: "It seems to us to be a good and fair solution for all groups involved in the Panguna mining project", said Mr. Sturm. "In fact the President Joseph Kabui and the ABG too will receive sufficient financial funding to prepare and realize common projects which are absolutely essential.

The re-animation of the Panguna mine is the key issue for the economic development in Bougainville in the future. We are very satisfied to hear that the landowners, well represented by Mr. Lawrence Daveona, soon want to start negotiations with BCL only and not with other dubious companies."

"We also agree very much with Mr. Thomas Rabanz who pointed out in his statement as vice-president of the Bougainville Business Association that there is security needed in Bougainville. The fact that conman Noah Musingku is still free remains to be a major obstacle. We are sure that more individuals would be interested to invest into projects in Bougainville, thereby following the example of the European Shareholders of BCL. In this respect the re-opening of the Panguna mine would encourage other investors to come to Bougainville as well."

Principat d'Andorra , March 2nd, 2007


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