Gold mine ‘critical’ to B’ville

Business, Normal

The National, Thursday 30th May 2013

 THE reopening of the Panguna mine is critical for Bougainville’s economic development but the message is not reaching the grassroots people, landowner Lawrence Daveona says.

He said this following a recent discussion between the Panguna landowners and the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) to reopen the Rio Tinto-owned copper mine.

A resumption of mining is seen as critical to the economic development of the province –something that has to happen before any vote on independence, as prescribed in the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

The autonomous provincial government has been holding consultations over the last two months to gauge people’s feelings about Panguna’s re-opening.

Daveona, who grew up close to the huge open cast mine, and headed the now defunct Bougainville Landowners’ Association, says their message is not reaching people at the grassroots.

“The government is doing all it can with whatever resources it has at its disposal but the message that they are trying to get across is not really reaching down to the village communities, not only in the Panguna mine lease areas but also to the rest of Bougainville. 

“That is a major problem here,” he said.