20 Jun 2017

Bougainville Govt undeterred by latest Panguna setback

From , 3:03 pm on 20 June 2017

The autonomous Bougainville Government says a major mining project, such as a re-opened Panguna mine, is vital ahead of a vote on independence from Papua New Guinea in 2019.

The Panguna mine was at the centre of the civil war which erupted in Bougainville nearly 30 years ago and has been mired in controversy every since.

Last week, an attempt by the government to sign a memorandum of agreement with landowners around the Panguna mine was abandoned after a protest and road block by groups opposed to the mine opening before the independence vote.

They also said they oppose the former operator Bougainville Copper Ltd having any role, despite the company now being controlled by the Bougainville and PNG governments as well as local landowners. 

Bougainville's Vice President, Raymond Masono, told Don Wiseman he hopes to quickly resolve the issues raised by what he calls a very small group.

Bougainville's Panguna Copper mine

Bougainville's Panguna Copper mine Photo: Supplied