Bougainville leader says Miningtoro lying on mining
Bougainville's leader takes issue with claims by a national MP that it has not sought the views of the people over its proposed mining law.
The President of the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville says the National Government's Communication Minister, Jimmy Miningtoro, is lying when he claims the people's views have not been sought on the proposed new mining law.
The ABG is promoting mining and the re-opening of the Panguna mine as the best route to economic development for the province and President John Momis told Don Wiseman that Mr Miningtoro, who is also the member for Central Bougainville, is wrong.
JOHN MOMIS: He's not telling the truth when he claims that we've had not enough consultation with the people. We've conducted more consultations with the people in Bougainville than any other government has ever done. I would guess even in PNG. We've consulted the land owners, we've consulted the ex combatants throughout the region, we've consulted women, we've consulted different parts of Bougainville. We've spent so much money on consultation precisely because we believe that unless we listen to the people and unless the people understand what we are about, what our reasons for wanting to reopen the Panguna Mine, we would not be doing justice to that. So his claim is totally untrue. Actually the people of Bougainville are saying Panguna Mine does not belong just to the land owners. That's a very strong claim. Ex combatants are saying, the people of Bougainville are saying "We all own Panguna Mine because all of us shed blood over it". And Miningtoro claims that because he's the Member for Central Bougainville, and because he's got relatives there, he has more rights than anybody else. It's totally untrue. And the people of Bougainville, this is not Momis saying it, the people of Bougainville are saying Panguna Mine belongs to all of us and therefore it should not be a matter just for the landowners. But of course the ABG is saying "well the landowners are the owners and we must also give them special treatment", which we have done.
DON WISEMAN: Jimmy Mingingtoro has in the past expressed his desire for mining not to happen and he wants to see a focus on other things. I know you've said that mining is needed because of the immediate money it can generate for the province, and that's still your position?
JM: That is still my position and not only mining. Mining will act as a magnet, it will attract other subsidiary economic activities to Bougainville. Other agricultural projects and programmes will take a long time. Even if Bougainville Copper Limited and the land owners and ourselves, the ABG, agree to have the mine re-open, we will have a lot of companies, subsidiary companies involved in subsidiary economic activities come to Bougainville.
DW: He's made this call. He says he's going to approach Foreign Affairs and ask Anthony Regan to be removed, what chance has he of succeeding there? Do you have any say in that?
JM: Well, Tony Regan is working for the ABG as a consultant. We see absolutely no reason why he should be deported or should be black listed from coming to Bougainville. There are many other people that have come to Bougainville through the back door some of whom that Miningtoro knows should be black listed. Tony Regan has a track record that speaks for itself. Tony Regan qualifies to continue to work here as long as we need him.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: