Locals from Bougainville are keen to correct the pro-mine media regarding the reopening of the Panguna mine and warn against misrepresentation of views and a repeat of the bloody violence of the past. The proponent, Bougainville Copper Limited is majority owned by Rio Tinto, whose AGM will be held in Perth today.
Phillip Banas spokesperson for the Mekamui Hardliners said “The re-opening of the Panguna mine on Bougainville is not-negotiable.”
“The people that own the land around the mine site are adamant that they would not allow that to happen immediately or in future.”
Overseas media or personal are contacting people they say represent the mine or land owners in Panguna, but those people do not represent the real views of the rightful land owners. They most of the time live out of Bougainville, out of touch, and in comfort miles away in Port Moresby. As a result what they talk about is hear-say, out of context, wishful thinking, and out of thinking of real land owners and Bougainvilleans.
“This is a volatile and an explosive situation that should be treated delicately and with caution. The real issue why the mine was closed is still not being addressed yet.”
So the real issue is that consultation must be made at grass root level, views of the ordinary people on the ground must be addressed and wider consultation taken on board.
Views of Bankers, Technocrats, and Politicians are seen as ploys to get the rich to richer and the poor to get poorer. So the poor land owners will always be the biggest losers at the end, because of ill conceived decisions that was made in a hasty mood by some one or people that overlooked real issues and failed to contact real people.
“Bougainville has gone through a bloody path in the past, and if things go wrong at this stage, history shows that the path can always be repeated.”
For further information and comment, contact the Mekamui Hardliners on;
Phillip Banas, Ph: +677 847 0907 Clive Porabou, Ph: +677 750 5944
Australian Contact: Charles Roche, Mineral Policy Institute, 0450 901 714, http://www.mpi.org.au/