MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Bougainville landowners pledges Panguna will never re-open

Published by MAC on 2008-02-27


Bougainville landowners pledges Panguna will never re-open

27th February 2008

Another prominent Bougainville landowner has re-asserted opposition to any re-opening of Rio Tinto's "mothballed" copper-gold mine at Panguna.

Two weeks ago, a spokesperson for the Rio Tinto subsidiary, Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL) stated that the company was still actively considering getting Panguna back into production - a move which, according to Mr Kove, is designed to boost BCL's shares in the market.

Meanwhile, the plans of another foreign mining company are raising eyebrows on the island.


Landowner warns shareholders of BCL’s mine plans

Postcourier

27th February 2008

BOUGAINVILLE Copper Limited (BCL) shareholders have been told not to be misled by company officials over the abandoned Panguna mine.

Peter Kove, a chief from Guava village, just beside the mine, said yesterday the Panguna mine should not be used as “collateral” for BCL to shoot up its share prices on the stock markets.

Mr Kove, who is son of the late Mathew Kove, the first victim of the Bougainville Crisis, was responding to a report on BCL completing work to understand the economics and technical challenges associated with the reopening of the abandoned mine.

“Panguna land does not belong to BCL. It belongs to the landowners and it will not be re-opened,” he said.

“We the people of Panguna are not too concerned about re-opening the mine and BCL should consider how it will apologise to Bougainvilleans and exit the island in a good way.”

Mr Kove also warned BCL of so-called landowners from Panguna who had been frequently visiting Port Moresby and making statements about re-opening the mine.

“No one from out of the Panguna mining area is mandated to make comments on behalf of the landowners,” he said.

Mr Kove said the landowners were focused on reconciliations among themselves and they would need assistance for their reconciliation ceremonies, either from BCL or the Government.

Meanwhile, ABG Mining Minister Mathias Salas said yesterday while BCL was finalising its study into the possibility of re-opening the Panguna mine, the ABG was not being consulted.

Mr Salas said there were many legal issues to be sorted out before any mining could resume on Bougainville. He said the Panguna issue was no longer a landowner issue but it had become an issue for all Bougainvilleans as many lives were lost from what was created out of Panguna.


ABG’s hand-hired firm projects queried

Postcourier

27th February 2008

THE company selected by the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) for a mining project is reportedly preparing to move into a range of other money-making projects.

Working through another business arm, Invincible Resources Corporation, the company that entered into a K20 million deal with the ABG, in its recent presentation to the regional government made references to other projects they were getting involved with which included fishing, marine products, petroleum and gas, timber and resources (logging) coconut and cocoa, tourism and hotels.

The ABG this week explained that this was only a proposal done by the company but could not go into details for reasons that were not explained.

They neither confirmed nor denied the latter, but papers obtained by this newspaper indicated the company, trying to have rights to all resources on Bougainville and incorporated in the Bahamas, was preparing itself for more of those projects in the region.

ABG and the Invincible Resources Ltd company signed an agreement which gave the mining company 70 per cent ownership, 15 per cent to the ABG, 9 per cent to the Veterans affairs and 8 per cent to the ex-combatants and the landowners — arithmetic that adds up to 102 per cent!

This week concerns were raised by the Bougainville arm that screens and authorises investment and businesses into the region about venturing into other businesses and not mining alone.

The ABG appointed mining office boss Steven Burain this week to look at mining issues in the region, however denied having any involvement in the deal so he could not comment. Bougainville Administrator Raymond Masono also said he could not comment because he had played no part in the deal.

Invincible Resources executives would not comment but only said their involvement on Bougainville was purely to help teach Bougainvilleans how to do business.

http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20080227/wehome.htm

 

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