Bougainville Rio stance backed by most - Momis

4:29 pm on 22 September 2016

The President of Bougainville, John Momis, says there is strong backing from landowners for his stance on a share transfer by Rio Tinto.

In June Rio Tinto walked away from its majority holding in the Panguna mine, Bougainville Copper Ltd, splitting its shares between the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the Papua New Guinea Government.

PNG has since said it is giving its shares to Bougainville landowners, but the ABG said it should get all the shares, to ensure it has majority control.

Panguna mine.

Panguna mine. Photo: Wellington Chocolate Factory

The Panguna Osikaiang Landowners Association, which is based around the mine site itself, wants a completely different structure with it recognised as the rightful owner of Panguna.

Mr Momis dismissed this, saying most landowner groups supported the ABG's stance.

There are two people who are against the landowners decision to say that the 17 percent the national government wants to give to the landowners, should go to the ABG, which is the legitimate government because they believe in the new mining law of Bougainville.