Unresolved issues on mine reopening

Business, Normal

The National- Friday, January 21, 2011

 Resolutions from recent talks on the reopening of the Panguna mine in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville between shareholders of Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL), the Panguna landowners and the state will not be pursued unless the Bougainville mining review is carried out and agreed upon.

Former mining minister and MP for Central Bougainville Sam Akoitai told reporters that  only when the Bougainville mining agreement was  reviewed could there be a possible reopening.

He said two important aspects of the BCL agreement review were  the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the landowners’ interest in the mining agreement.

“At the moment, the landowners are not organised and formed their integrated landowner groups yet from the mine’s impact area to be able to participate in the reopening negotiation,” Akoita said.

He said although  shareholder  BCL operator Rio Tinto and the national government had  said there was the possibility of reopening of one  the world’s  largest copper mines, there were very serious issues on the ground yet to be resolved.

They included issues such as landowners’ participation, review of benefit sharing among impacted landowners, the ABG’s stake,  the Mekumai faction’s resistance on the reopening and many more.