Plans to reopen B’ville copper mine

National, Normal

The National- Thursday, February 10, 2011


THE Bougainville copper mine maybe be reopened in the next two to three years, ABG President John Momis said.

“My view is that for the re-opening of the mine, the bulk of the people on Bougainville want the mine to be reopened.” Momis said in an interview with The National on Tuesday.

“We want empowerment. Political power without economic power is nothing. Bougainville copper mine must open under a new regime.”

He said the ABG was working together with various landowners to form an umbrella association to start talks on the future of the mine.

Momis said this when responding to Panguna landowners who claimed they were not consulted by the ABG president in making approaches to the prime minister for the PNG shareholding interest in Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL) to be transferred to ABG.

“This accusation against me by somebody who claims to represent landowners of Panguna is misrepresenting my position and a deliberate effort to mislead the public,” Momis said.

“Everybody knows that of all the leaders I have been the most consistent one who has defended and protected the rights of landowners.

“The Bougainville Initiative was my effort to fight for equitable distribution from the development of Panguna mine.

“In that statement, I was reflecting the concerns of landowners and young workers for the government and BCL to review the Bougainville Copper Agreement and that must be reviewed every seven years.”

Momis said BCL and the national government had failed over a 14-year period.

“The North Solomons’ government in 1991 told the national government that it was sowing the seed of a bloody revolution. 

“I merely predicted. 

“I read the sign of times and I was trying to alert those in power, my words of warning fell on deaf ears.”

Momis said he had absolutely nothing to do with mothers, aunties and sisters marching to the Pink House (BCL head office).

Momis was one leader who consistently raised issues of detrimental effect of mine cause on the environment especially Jaba River and total 

lack of equity that the agreement gave to the people of Bougainville and landowners.

“We could have come up with good things if landowners listened to us and not take up arms.”

Momis said he wrote to the prime minister to ask him as they had been discussing before he became president to transfer 19.06% of PNG shareholding interest to ABG.

He said the ABG was a legitimate government that would ensure equitable sharing by landowners and people who shed blood to have a fair share in the shareholding.

“I represent the people and I have a duty and responsibility to talk with the national government to transfer shares as we have consistently shown, we will equitably share.”

He said the self-appointed spokesman and absentee landowner Lawrence Daveona must not make false accusations.