This article, like many other recent ones, paints a picture of Mekamuians/Bougainvillians who can’t wait to have Panguna mine re-opened. It is full of lies, like saying that Chris Uma has given green light for the re-opening of Panguna mine. Please compare to Chris’s article “Rebel hits out against mine talks” listed on this side on the 28. Feb and to Clive’s article “Panguna Mine Dilemma” above. BJ
Post-Courier Online. Thursday 17th March,
THIS week two important and successful historical occasions happened in the history of Bougainville – the reconciliation of Me’ekamui Defence Force Commander Chris Uma with Bougainville Affairs Minister Fidelis Semoso and the meeting with another hardliner Moses Pipiro with the National Government departmental heads at Panguna.
For Bougainville the “first time meets” for the Bougainville Revolutionary Army and Me’ekamui hardliners with the National Government team and Mr Semoso who went out of his way to meet these rebels, has enabled the progress of the negotiations for the re-opening of the giant Panguna Mine.
Mr Semoso did a leisure drive out of Arawa town on his electoral visit to Panguna to see if he could have a chat with Mr Pipiro, the man who has been guarding the mine pit and Panguna for the last 10 to 20 years.
Over a buai, the two spoke as if they were never enemies or there was no problem.
Mr Pipiro completely shut himself from the outside, even his own ABG leaders over the outstanding issues surrounding the Panguna mine.
Last Monday, Mr Semoso made his way through and did the dirty work of getting Pipiro out of his hide out.
And 11 hours later Mr Semoso took with him a whole delegation of PNG departmental heads who flew in from Port Moresby to the region for the scoping of projects in preparation for the release of the promised one-off K500 million in five years to Bougainville.
The heads, led by Secretary of Mining Nellie James and Health Secretary Dr Clement Malau had breakfast up at the rebel’s brown coffee shop, all prepared by the families of Mr Pipiro and Philip Takaung, the Me’ekamui Government president.
And on Tuesday, Mr Semoso took another successful trip – to make him the first National MP to have Chris Uma come out, reconcile and straight away begin the mine talks on a personal level.
This in itself is a milestone for Bougainville which now has mining on Bougainville and especially the re-opening of the Panguna mine as a priority.
This was a historical moment for Bougainville, PNG and the international community is watching this issue.
The world can now breathe a sigh of relief because the feared rebel who mans the famous Morgan Junction, the gateway to the Panguna Mine has given the green light for the re-opening of the Panguna Mine.
But the re-opening of the mine will come with strings attached – like every other rebel needs – negotiations for compensation and the K10 billion issue.
Chris Uma, who took over as the commander of the Me’ekamui defence force up until the world renowned hardliner Francis Ona died in 2005, one of the factions that currently holds the key to total peace on Bougainville, for the first time in 10 years sat face to face with a Bougainville leader and a National Government Minister to reconcile, grieve and put forward his demands for the future of Bougainville.
The Mine talks can now begin and Bougainville can expect a progress in the peace process, weapons disposal and economic development at large.