By WINTERFORD TOREAS
THE Autonomous Bougainville Government is in the process of establishing a mining law that will govern the operations of all mining activities in Bougainville, says the acting President Patrick Nisira.
While responding to comments raised by the Central Bougainville MP Jimmy Miringtoro regarding the establishment of a suitable law that will guide the interest of Bougainvilleans, Mr Nisira said the mining law that ABG is currently working on will benefit all stakeholders including the ABG, landowners and the people of Bougainville.
Mr Nisira also revealed that ABG is now considering the establishment of a Bougainville Mining Act, and not a Transitional Mining Bill as it was initially planned.
“The ABG had initially thought of establishing a transitional mining bill, but our position now, after assessing the time and cost factor, we are now thinking of actually coming up with a Bougainville Mining Act and not a Transitional Mining Act,” Mr Nisira said.
Mr Nisira said this law will act as a guiding mechanism for all mining activities that will be taking place in Bougainville, adding that the general views of the people is that the Panguna mine will only be reopened if there is a good Bougainville mining law in place.
“The general view received in Bougainville is that the Panguna mine will not be reopened. But it will only be reopened in line with the wishes of Bougainvilleans,” Mr Nisira said.
“This means that it will only be reopened after the ABG passes the Bougainville Mining Act.
“This is because from this act, we will ensure that what Miringtoro is talking about will be addressed under this Act.”
He said the ABG had considered the events leading to the crisis and is trying to avoid these problems arising again through the establishment of good mining law.
Meanwhile, Mr Nisira has welcomed the announcement by Mr Miringtoro on his move to take BCL to court citing new evidence that the Central Bougainville MP said he has received regarding the past operations of the mining company.
Mr Nisira said if what Miringtoro is saying is true then he can proceed with his move however, he reminded him (Miringtoro) to be mindful of the court case against Rio Tinto that was dismissed by the Supreme Court in the US.