5 Mar 2010

Warning of another Bougainville if PNG landowners not fully included in LNG project

7:14 am on 5 March 2010

A leader in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea says the country risks another Bougainville if the landowners at the site of the huge liquid natural gas reserves are not fully involved in their development.

Simon Ekanda of Tuguba Hides landowners says he represents more than 11,000 people who own 70 percent of the land from which Exxon Mobil's consortium will extract the gas.

Mr Ekanda says an umbrella group of landowners working with the consortium has no validity.

He says his people want real equity including representation on the board, and not just work as unskilled labourers.

"I don't want to fight my own country. I know that the Bougainville war happened with the people of Papua New Guinea - the Government of Papua New Guinea and the citizens. And developer Rio Tinto escaped a free man. He made us fight each other. [I] don't want to entertain the small cry from the people of Bougainville, and then we have lost 25,000 people, citizens of this country."