5 May 2008

Bougainville politician says people sold out by mining deal with Canadian company

1:05 pm on 5 May 2008

The Deputy Parliamentary Speaker in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville says the region is heading towards another bloody crisis over a foreign mining deal.

Francesca Semoso says the Autonomous Bougainville Government had sold Canadian mining company Invincible Resources mineral rights that she says are worse than the deal that sparked years of civil war and caused thousands of deaths during the 1990s.

The deal is estimated to be worth about seven million US dollars as part of the region's rebuilding strategy that is still hampered by factionalism and occasional violent conflicts.

She says her own government had broken its constitution and sold off the region's minerals to Invincible in an arrangement giving the Canadians 70 per cent control of the region's resources.

Ms Semoso says the sale of the birthright of Bougainvilleans has the potential to re-spark frustration and anger amongst the people and could stimulate another crisis.