2 Jun 2008

Opposition mounting to Canadians majority control of Bougainville's resource development agency.

6:07 am on 2 June 2008

Opposition is mounting to a deal giving a Canadian company majority control of an agency set up to attract investors to develop the autonomous Papua New Guinea province's resources.

Some on Bougainville believe the deal granting Invincible Resources 70 per cent control of the Bogenvil Resource Development Corporation effectively gives it control of the province's vast mineral wealth.

Bougainville President Joseph Kabui said the deal could be reviewed once the island is re-established financially and profiting from mining and other resource deals.

He told reporters last month that he does not think they are running into a collision.

But while Mr Kabui says the Invincible deal will heal scars from the country's secessionist war that saw thousands killed, critics say it will re-open those wounds.

The deputy speaker, the opposition, the Business Association, and landowners in Bougainville along with the PNG government are among those voicing such fears.

The AAP news agency says the groups also claim public opinion in Bougainville has swung against Mr Kabui's decision making.

Mr Kabui last week sacked his economic and investment adviser and the outspoken minister for women Magdalene Toroansi, one of two government ministers against the Invincible deal.