mining

Women unite against signing

Business

THE signing of the memorandum of agreement for the Panguna mine on Friday was cancelled following the strong protests by women.
Women from the “seven sisters” areas of Bougainville blocked the road at the Morgan junction leading up to the Panguna mine site where the signing was to take place between the Autonomous Bougainville Government and Panguna landowners.
It was to allow the Bougainville Copper Limited to reopen the mine.
Guava village lady chief Maggie Mirau Nombo and chief Kavatai Baria from Arawa and Pirurari bravely stood in front of the women to lead the protest. They said the land was their “mother” who provided their everyday needs. And no one is allowed to exploit her.
Nombo, a former primary school teacher, questioned why they were allowing BCL to reopen the mine after it “devoured and raped our mother land”.
She said it would never happen again be-cause they had suffered enough.
“As long as I am the chief woman from Panguna and Guava village and owner of my land, BCL is not welcomed,” she said.
“ABG has to stop ignoring the cries of the women and take note that BCL is never al-lowed to come back to Panguna.
“This is fi-nal and it is not negotiable.”
Because of the strong protest by the women, the ABG delegation led by President John Momis returned to Buka on Friday after-noon without signing the agreement.
The ABG team intends to go back to Arawa after two weeks for further negotiation.
The women, youths, ex-combatants and the Bougainville Hardliners set up the road-block on Thursday night.
It remained there on Friday. No vehicles were allowed through.

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