By WINTERFORD TOREAS
THE Acting President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government Patrick Nisira has defended his government’s decision to engage the Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) in the negotiations concerning the reopening of the defunct Panguna mine.
Mr Nisira said the decision to involve BCL was considered for the benefit of all stakeholders in the region.
Mr Nisira said this in response to complaints raised by the Minister for Communication and Central Bougainville MP Jimmy Miringtoro regarding the engagement of BCL and the Panguna landowners.
Mr Miringtoro had voiced his concerns, saying the ABG decision to involve BCL and landowners without consulting the four Bougainville MPs lacked transparency.
“Miringtoro and the people have been questioning us on this issue,” Mr Nisira said. “(But) People with a right frame of mind will understand that BCL was here before.
“That’s the reason we are talking with BCL. BCL and landowners had created the war. So in order to come up with a good law, we need to consult BCL. But consulting BCL does not mean that we will allow BCL to come involve in the mining activity.”
Mr Nisira this was one of the “best process that we have put in place so that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the pasts. You talk to BCL; BCL will understand what really happened that time.”
He said the other reason behind the engagement of BCL is because of the Bougainville Copper Agreement that was enacted by the national Government.
He said this law currently gives BCL the right to conduct mining in Panguna, before calling on the four MPs that their involvement on the floor of the national parliament will play a big role in the repealing of this law.
“If Miringtoro and the other three MPs are concerned about BCL, then they have a role to play. They have been mandated by the people.
“Panguna mine is the issue that needs to be dealt with in the national parliament, and not in the ABG. You deal with that in the national parliament.
“You don’t complain about it but you the four MPs deal with that in the national parliament. The repealing of that law must be done at the national parliament.
Mr Miringtoro had also questioned the process involved in the consultations.