17 Feb 2009

Panguna landowners in Bougainville to form single body to seek compensation

3:20 pm on 17 February 2009

Landowners around the Panguna mine in Papua New Guinea's autonomous province of Bougainville, are to unite and seek compensation for the impact of mining in the region.

Panguna's huge copper mine, which was at the centre of the ten years of violence in the province, was forced to close by the civil war.

The Bougainville President, James Tanis, says, through two courtesy calls to Panguna since being elected in late December, he has got the previously conflicting groups to agree to form a single landowners' body, with elections to be overseen by the Electoral Commission..

Mr Tanis says once they have reconciled and reunited and come up with one voice for Panguna landowners, issues such as compensation, environmental destruction, and the re-opening of the mine can be discussed.

"And they have tasked the President, they have requested through that resolution the ABG, they requested that my leadership start opening dialogue with the National Government and also start doing early ground work with those who are involved with the mine and the associated problems in Panguna."