Panguna officials turned away from two village visits

5 03 2014

By
Dansi Oearupeu

Panguna Landowners Association (PLA) officials were told to leave at two village sites in Panguna whilst carrying out a social survey. The survey undertaken by PLA was to gather views from the mine impact communities regarding the mine reopening. The two places were Upper Tailings Mine Lease Area and Paruparu. The team led by Michael Pariu; were told to leave as the communities did not want to deal with the landowners association.

Instead, the officials were reminded to address the environmental destruction caused by the mine. Dolorose Sisia, a local and landowner from the Upper tailings Lease Area told the team at the meeting that if BCL can restore the land and water back to its pristine condition, then they (PLA) can come and ask the people of their opinions, otherwise the PLA should not waste time seeking address on an issue that is not in the interest of the people they represent.

“We are still feeling the effects of the damages caused by the pollution; on top of that the trauma of the crisis is still fresh in our minds and hearts” implied an angry Mrs. Sisia.

Villagers in the upper tailings also stated that, since the waste outlet of the mine runs through their land, the association should not talk about the reopening; rather the landowners association should look ways to fix the damage done by the chemical pollution. “

The reality is we live in a poisoned environment, how could these representatives not see the dangers faced by their people living in such conditions?” questioned Mrs. Sisia.

Villagers have also alleged that PLA has made a few submissions to the ABG and BCL regarding formalities towards reopening of the mine. The landowners association however, has not made public any details in regards to the claims so far. Villagers have expressed that the landowners association often ‘leave them in the dark’ and are never aware of the landowners association’s dealings.

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