24 Apr 2013

Bougainville MP says unity needs to be forged before mine reopens

4:27 am on 24 April 2013

The regional member of parliament for Papua New Guinea's autonomous province of Bougainville says his people must take ownership of decision making in their province in order for there to be unity.

Joseph Lera says Bougainville society remains fragmented years well over a decade since the civil war wound up.

His comment comes as Bougainville Copper Ltd looks to reopen the Panguna copper and gold mine which was at the centre of the Civil War and has lain idle for 24 years.

Mr Lera says unity needs to be forged, and the participation of local communities in decision-making ensured, before the mine is reopened.

"I think the answer to the mine is with the people. And through that unity that I'm trying to build, I think the people themselves must decide. At the moment, that has not been the case, it's people outside trying to come in with answers. My belief is that the answer is with my people."

Joseph Lera.