By PATRICK TALU
THE European shareholders of Bougainville Copper (ESBC) holding more than 10 million shares of Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL) are keen to see the reopening of the world-class copper and gold mine.
ESBC has requested Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare’s support in a letter dated Nov 8.
ESBC president Axel G Sturm expressed his strong wish that the re-opening process of the Panguna mine should be speeded up in the interest of the people of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea.
Sturm said that Panguna “holds the key position for future economic recovery on Bougainville”.
“We strongly believe that you, Sir Michael, are the one who is able to bring this matter to a satisfactory outcome for all.
“You only need to encourage the people of Bougainville to go forward … our board of directors is ready to serve,” he stated in his letter.
Sturm asked Sir Michael to exercise his personal influence and to encourage the people on the ground to take the next step which was the review and the signature of the new Bougainville copper agreement (BCA).
“Bougainville and Bougainville copper are the same in the perception from those outside PNG.
“One goes with the other … as long as there is no satisfying progress in the re-opening of the Panguna mine, there will not be any substantial investment from abroad in Bougainville,” Sturm said.
He said at the end of this week, a huge Panguna conference is fixed to take place in Bougainville.
State Ministers Peter O’Neill (Treasury), Paul Tiensten (National Planning), Arthur Somare (State Enterprise) and Fidelis Semoso (Bougainville) will also attend the conference as almost 40 Panguna landowner representatives.
The meeting is hosted by ABG President John Momis, Vice-President Patrick Nisira and others.
The National has been unable to confirm the attendance of the said State ministers.