Panguna Mine

29 03 2011

In the media there are lots of talks of re-opening the Panguna mine but it is a different story when you are on the ground, you will not hear more of that talk.

Outsiders think that it is very simple and easy to re-open the mine after 20 thousand Mekamuians/Bougainvilleans were killed, wounded and died while closing the mine down.

On the 27th of March a chief of one of the clans in Central Mekamui/Bougainville came to see me and we talked for a while chatting on our interest etc.  Later we went to see a person who I will do an interview with. Fortunately the member for central Bougainville in the PNG National Government Jim Miringtoro was there too. He invited us to where he and others were sitting. While chatting on we came across the Panguna mine topic. He told us that Panguna will remain closed till the compensation is paid by BCL.

I asked him if he could talk to me on the camera, he agreed and we did the interview. He told me that 80% of Bougainvilleans don’t want the mine re-opened. He mentioned the silent majority who the mainstream media never talks to: they don’t want the mine re-opened. Every time he visited the rural villages during his constituency visits they voiced out their concern to him.

As we finished the interview with the member, we walked to the mini market at section 15 and we caught up with one of the main characters in the struggle for no mining: Mr Damian Daman. We asked if he could talk on the camera and he agreed. His answer to our question is short: no to re-opening Panguna. When asked what if the ones who are talking about the re-opening go ahead and sign any agreement? He told us something bad will happen.

On our way back we saw the minister for veteran affairs in the Autonomous Government David Sisito. He too agreed to talk on the camera. His stand is for the company to pay the original demand of PNG K10 billion. Without BCL paying the compensation it is a big NO to re-opening the Panguna mine. As one of the founders of the revolution he still maintains the outstanding demand.

Sweat, tears and blood has flown down our brothers and sisters, relatives etc while talking about re-opening Panguna mine we step on our dead leaders and comrades blood and tears. This is not the way to go and very much against our culture and customs.

All of the three leaders, when asked about the economic, had the firm stand that our island will be based on agriculture. We live from the land and we have proved it during the war. They told me that those who are talking about re-opening the mine they don’t care about the land and the future generations: they only worry about money. They told me the Regions member Mr F Semoso is pushing hard to re-open the mine, but that will not happen he will just hand out cash after cash for a speedy re-opening.

The video of the interviews will be out before June.

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4 responses

29 03 2011
Cynthia

Wow, thanks for posting this. Can’t wait for the video, wish there was something I could do to help…It is so sad to see and hear what has had to be endured…and that it might all start back up again.

29 03 2011
zek

Good to hear some real news from on the ground there. Keep up the good work!

30 03 2011
*****

Thanks Clive! Great to discover your website. I look forward to the videos and will endeavour to spread them through my networks.

Are you going to the Rio Tinto AGM in London this year? If so we may meet as I may be at the African Barrick Gold AGM on 21 April with community from Tanzania.

In Solidarity
Nat Lowrey
natalie.lowrey@gmail.com

15 04 2011
Harry Baxter

Hello Clive.
I worked for Bechtel on Bougainville 1969-1972. I was horrified by the environmental destruction caused by the Panguna minesite.
My time was mostly spent in the building of the port facilities and power station at Anewa Bay. I also designed and supervised construcion of the Camps at Loloho.
Around 1989-90 I was there with the BRA building the Armoured vehicles. Sam Kauona Sirivi has DVD’s of the TV Videos I did for ABC 7.30 Report and CH9 A Current Affair.
I am looking forward to seeing your film work. Please keep me informed.
I have been talking with Sam with a view to me returning there to assist in the re-building of Bougainville. ( Not the Panguna Mine!)
I hope to meet with you some day in the near future.
Kind Regards
Harry Baxter

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