PANGUNA LANDOWNERS SPEAK OUT

1 04 2010

Below is a report from the Papua New Guinea Post Courier which one of the main character in the Panguna area spoke out against the re-opening of the mine.

Postcourier, 30 March 2010

Landowners stand firm

By FABIAN GATANA

PANGUNA landowners stand firm with their decision for the mine to remain closed until their demands of compensation and a review of the Bougainville Copper Agreement (BCA) are met. Landowner and chairman of the Me’ekamui Government of Unity Philip Miriori spoke on behalf of his people and said that speculation surrounding the re-opening of the mine and future talks to be held between landowners and BCL, were not true and not forth coming. Mr Miriori said the Mining Department of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville had been fuelling the speculation with its awareness on mining but failed to talk with landowners and BCL to review the agreement.

“The landowners and my government are not about to allow BCL to return and re-open the Panguna mine,” he said. Mr Miriori said landowners were not prepared to enter into talks to review the agreement until their compensation demands of K10 billion were paid. “My government and people want to reaffirm that my brother Francis Ona’s original demand of K10 billion for compensation will be maintained with new vigour.” He said the agreement was a “bad law” enacted in 1969. “We were never included in this bad agreement. They paid us an insulting 0.025 per cent,” he said. Mr Mirioiri said the closure of the Panguna mine was a result of failed attempts by the landowners and the North Solomons Provincial Government to seek a review of the BCA with BCL and the PNG Government.

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