15 Jun 2007

Bougainville government seeks mining powers from Port Moresby

10:28 am on 15 June 2007

The government in the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville expects to have the authority to undertake mining projects within a matter of weeks.

On the eve of the second anniversary of the election of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, there's been criticism that the province is not moving quickly enough to assume powers from Port Moresby, and this is hampering development.

But the Bougainville president, Joseph Kabui, says he has now been assured by the chief secretary that the machinery for the handing down of powers will shortly be put in place.

He says the first powers to be handed down, those concerning oil, gas and mining resources, are likely within weeks.

Mr Kabui says the people realise the vital role that mining can play.

"That the only way to inject economic life into Bougainville, is to, for example, go into this mining. Because with the metal prices being very very good at this time, I think if mining can be re-opened it certainly would boost the economic development of Bougainville."