ABG’s stand on Panguna mine
By Fabian Gatana / Post-Courier
THE Panguna mine will remain shut and opened only when all outstanding issues are addressed and landowners and the people of Bougainville are satisfied.
This is from the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) vice President Patrick Nisira after clarifying the Government’s stand on the issue of the re-opening of the Panguna mine.
Mr Nisira made the remarks after an ABG MP and Minister Davis Sisito and Me’ekamui diehard Chris Uma made statements regarding the Panguna mine last week.
“I reiterate again that the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s official position on the reopening of the Panguna mine is clear — the mine is to remain closed, until all outstanding landowner grievances are properly addressed,” Mr Nisira said.
He said the issues included:
– REUNIFICATION and recon-ciliation of all Panguna landowner groups, a process that the ABG and the Me’ekamui leadership have begun recently and with the effective participation of MDF front man, Chris Uma;
– Landowner’s outstanding compensation and environment damages. The landowners need to seriously address this issue among themselves initially and then with the ABG;
– Establishment of mine lease area associations, the ABG expects to be told whether the landowners want to reopen the mine or leave it permanently closed;
– Review of the Bougainville Copper Agreement (BCA);
– Draw down of mining powers to the ABG. The Panguna landow-ners, the former combatants and the people of Bougainville have called for this to happen before any serious negotiations for the mine reopening is entertained;
– Weapons Disposal is satis-factorily achieved and the environment is conducive for mining to commence; and
– Managing stakeholders’ expectations.
“Panguna Mine is a highly sensitive issue, therefore I call upon the media, particularly the PNG print media to take extra care when writing on issues that affect the lives and welfare of the people of Panguna, especially their sensational approach to news writing and showing favour to certain interest groups in Bougainville. We in the ABG have no hidden agenda,” Mr Nisira said.