9 Dec 2013

Bougainville minister expects potential investors will wait for referendum

6:44 am on 9 December 2013

The finance minister in the autonomous government in Papua New Guinea's Bougainville says he expects any potential investors in the mining sector would hold off until after the province has held its referendum on possible independence.

Albert Punghau says the new mining legislation should go before MPs by March as public consultation about a possible resumption of mining is continuing.

Mr Punghau says mining is the best option for a quick re-start of the economy and that this will provide investment for other sectors like agriculture.

But he says given past experiences in the province, no investor would be interested in coming in until the political future is resolved.

"And I think that the political stability of having the referendum and the result of the referendum, whether it is an autonomous government here in Bougainville or an independent government here in Bougainville - that would be a clear indication for the investor to come in."

Albert Punghau.

Bougainville is to conduct the referendum some time after 2015.