MAC: Mines and Communities

Business slowly returning to Panguna area

Published by MAC on 2006-08-24

Business slowly returning to Panguna area


24th August 2006

BUSINESS is now prospering on a high note in Bougainville's so called restricted Panguna area with alluvial gold Mining now taking lead in it production by the locals. At the Jaba river, in the Kieta-Nagovis Border where once there was the pollution from the mining tailings of the Panguna mine, children from a very younb age to old people are now all engaged in alluvial gold mining. And people all the way from Siwai and Nagovis in south Bougainville have now set up and made camp in Jaba to mine for gold. Some camps are entire families, in which they mine to cater for school fees house hold Items and food. With no cash crops available in that remote rugged terrain and mountainous area of the Autonomous region of Bougainville, people have now entirely depended on alluvial Gold Mining to survive.

Local gold buyers are now frequenting the area to buy gold with hard cash of up to 50 to even a 100,000 which will be spent in only one day. Local shop owners have reported gold trade with miner in which they exchange or trade gold for clothes and food and other assorted items. Local landowners have now gone all the way to the extent of forming a miners association which comprises of a chairman and a committee. Prominent gold buyer and businessman in Jaba Dominic Bitson told the Post-Courier he himself and his other counter part business men are now struggling to bring services to the people in that area.

"Myself and the others are doing all we can to help these people engaged in alluvial mining by selling food and clothing to them," Mr Bitson said. "At the same time they are helping us by giving us gold dust in exchange." Mr Bitson sai a lot of these people were uneducated and illiterate and that was why other businessmen and himself were buying gold from them in order to help them. "The good thing is that this alluvial mining had helped us unite ourselves in reconciliation," he said.

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