MAC: Mines and Communities

Papua New Guinea/Bougainville update

Published by MAC on 2006-10-12

Papua New Guinea/Bougainville update

Panguna owners funded, Postcourier

12th October 2006

THE Panguna mine landowners on Bougainville have finally been allocated some money to hold reconciliation ceremonies among themselves. This has been one of the outstanding issues that has continued to hold back the review into the Bougainville Copper Agreement to take place. The Bougainville Autonomous Government allocated K100,000 for the late Francis Ona's principal landowning families to come reach a compromise in their differences. "In honour of the late President of Me'ekamui the people through their chiefs in the Ioro electorate of the Region have come together and persuaded the Panguna landowners that to support the ABG's drive for peace through out the Autonomous Region of Bougainville it is appropriate that the landowners must now show their genuineness by fulfilling the requirements of reconciliations," said principal landowner Lawrence Daveona.

"The agreed process to follow for these reconciliations is firstly to have family to family and clan to clan reconciliation for the families of the Panguna mine lease areas especially from the Special Mining and the Port Mine Access Road leases. "The second phase will be to move out of the lease areas and reconcile with the communities from the wider Kieta or Nasioi communities as these communities suffered from the fallout of the crisis as a result of the actions of the Security Forces that were brought in by the National Government to quell the rebellion."

He said the final stage of the landowner's reconciliations would involve reconciling with the rest of the people of Bougainville through their elected representatives and to coordinate this reconciliation program the landowners have decided to set up a Landowner's Reconciliation Committee (LRC) under the chairmanship of their Member of the Region's Parliament Dr Benedict Pisi. During their preliminary discussions on the reconciliation it was agreed that prominent leaders who were instrumental in persuading the landowners' cautions in this struggle will be call upon to explain their part as to why they had such a part to play in the early stages and which as a result the crisis erupted.

The names of these leaders, both political and church are known by the landowners who feel that these people deserted them as soon as the crisis erupted and developed into a full scale confrontation which as a result the landowners bore and suffered the consequences. Mr Daveona said the landowners understood this as a mammoth task and that it would cost a lot of money to properly carry it out and they would be calling on the National Government and Bougainville Cooper Limited having been the major players for injustices caused to the landowners over the 17 years of the mining operations in Panguna to come good with their contributions to match what ABG has already allocated.

The time frame that this reconciliation process will take is from end of October through to mid December of this year and they hope that success of this will be a good Christmas present for Bougainvilleans. BCL was forced to shut down the giant copper and gold mine in 1987 due to militant uprising.

Landowners tell explorer to 'back off'


12th October 2006

LANDOWNERS of gold-rich Mount Tere, Mount Bee, and Mount Tini in the Southern Highlands province are calling on Canadian mining companies, Madison PNG Ltd and Buffalo Ltd, to "back off". This follows the companies' application for exploration licences for their land. There are gold deposits on these three mountains and currently the customary landowners are conducting alluvial mining around these mountains. The customary landowners made the call yesterday through their association, the Hanaku Association, which represents nine tribes that claim ownership of the three mountains.

Association secretary and spokesman Hayaku Andiki and former Tari Local Level Government president and landowner Palabe Aku said initially the Mining Department gave the land area around the three mountains Exploration Lease (EL) No.1124 and at that time Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) was trying to conduct exploration without the approval of the landowners so there was a confrontation and the PJV exploration team was driven out of the EL area. PJV's exploration licence expired and an advertisement was made for new applicants to conduct the exploration over these mountains.

The department then changed the EL number from 1124 to 1427 without the landowner's knowledge until there was a warden's hearing which surprised the landowners. "There was a warden's hearing in some places in Tari and a good sum of money was spent to lure people to sign their support for Madison PNG Ltd and Buffalo Ltd. All members of the nine tribes represented by Hanaku Association refused to pledge their support and said if there is any developer who wants to explore land the tribes represented, it must be another company," Mr Andiki said. He said this was because they did not want what was being experienced in Mount Kare to happen in their land. Mr Aku said all the landowners were adamant that the Mining Department should be impartial and should not take sides with any foreign developer.

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