17 Apr 2018

Bougainville mining halt to ensure unity for referendum

10:34 am on 17 April 2018

The Autonomous Bougainville Government wants to ensure nothing undermines the region's unity ahead of the referendum on independence.

An abandoned building at Panguna mine site in Bougainville

An abandoned building at Panguna mine site in Bougainville Photo: supplied

In June next year Bougainvilleans will be asked to vote on whether they want independence from Papua New Guinea in what will be the final chapter of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

Efforts had been underway to re-open the Panguna mine which was closed by the region's civil war, but disputes within local communities caused the Bougainville parliament to place an indefinite moratorium on any mining there.

President John Momis said landowners are split with factions supporting different mining companies.

"For us you know determining Bougainville's future is more paramount right now. It is the priority we are focussing our attention to, to make sure that the people of Bougainville are united, so we don't want any other issues to undermine this unity."

President of the autonomous Bougainville government, John Momis.

President of the autonomous Bougainville government, John Momis. Photo: RNZI

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