The President of the Bougainville, John Momis, says his government has lifted a moratorium on mining exploration because the Mining Department now has the ability to handle enquiries.
The moratorium was imposed in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region more than 40 years ago, after the start up of the Panguna mine which later became the catalyst of the civil war.
Mr Momis said it was a partial lifting, applying to Mt Tore in the north of the main island, and Jaba and Isina in central Bougainville.
He said it had taken until now for the government bureaucracy to build the skills to handle the applications.
"Without capacity of course we would be inundated with a lot of applications and we would be drowned. So I think there is some confidence now in the Mining Department to handle the applications so we have decided to lift the moratorium, partially, in these three restricted areas."