MAC: Mines and Communities

Mine to stay closed

Published by MAC on 2006-06-13

Mine to stay closed


13th June 2006

THE giant Panguna mine will remain closed for as long as it takes and Bougainville will have find other means of reviving its economy.
This stern warning came from the people affected by the mine's operations in the early 1970s to late 1980s.

The people of Moroni, who live in the heart of the Panguna mine, were relocated when the mine started in 1972. They told Post-Courier last week at Moroni village in Panguna that there was no way the mine would re-open after witnessing what the mine had done to their natural environment.

They said they were not concerned about the landowner issue, but wanted the world to know what the mine had done to their environment, which at the moment, is a world wide issue.

When looking around, this reporter noticed that the second hand vegetation is starting to grow back after the place was deserted by mining activities.
The villagers said there are now signs of life returning to small creeks and waterways. "There is now evidence of eels and river crabs coming back but sadly there is no fish yet." The villagers in the vicinity of the mine have had a hard time making new gardens as most of their land was taken up by the mining operations.

The villagers said they had never benefited from the Panguna mine.

"The mine has generated more than K400 million annually and built most parts of Papua New Guinea but we the very people didn't benefit in any way. We benefited on our own hard work."

The villagers said they have learnt a good lesson and if the mine re-opens, others will benefit while they will continue to suffer.

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