THE Autonomous Bougainville Region President James Tanis has welcomed the visit to Buka by the PNG representative of Bougainville Copper Limited, Paul Coleman, describing it as timely.
“Mr Coleman has come to the Autonomous Bougainville Region at my invitation, for talks which have been held back for some time and which should be beneficial to all stakeholders.
“There are many issues to discuss, which do not include the resumption of mining, and BCL’s first visit to Bougainville after almost 20 years indicates a willingness to talk about these issues over in an open and friendly fashion.
“It may also give Mr Coleman another opportunity to meet with some of the people and hear from them about the issues that are of interest to them (BCL),” Mr Tanis said.
The BCL representative travelled to Buka last week and stayed for two days, holding talks with members of the Autonomous Bougainville Government and other interested parties.
Referring to the period of the crisis, Mr Tanis said: “The conflict must end where it started, at Panguna.
“It arose out of disputes between landowners, members of the North Solomons provincial government, the PNG Government, BCL and CRA.
“Therefore, it is these stakeholders who need to come together to end the Panguna conflict.
“As president my role is to ensure that these parties come together to solve the problem once and for all,” Mr Tanis said.
Mr Coleman said he was very pleased to be in Bougainville at the invitation of Mr Tanis, and the people of the region.
“Bougainville Copper Limited has had a long-standing relationship with the people of Bougainville, and although it has been 20 years since we have been here officially, it is well known that BCL has always had an open door and a friendly welcome to anyone from Bougainville who wanted to talk to us about issues of mutual interest.
“The Bougainville Copper Foundation has also helped to keep us in touch, through the programmes of education and other assistance which had been maintained at all times since.
“BCL has a natural interest in viewing the state of its assets in the region, and hearing from the people first hand, on the matters that concern them.
“There are many things to discuss, and it is very pleasing to be making a start on these talks, here in the Autonomous Bougainville Region and among the people,” Mr Coleman.