A former Papua New Guinea prime minister and now governor of New Ireland province, Sir Julius Chan, says it's vital the people control the country's resources.
Sir Julius has been pushing for autonomy for his province, along the lines of what is currently in force in Bougainville.
He also wants the Land Act of 1992, which gives the government sole ownership of whatever is under the ground, re-written.
Sir Julius says one aspect of autonomy is to control the resources and this will also ensure stability and help the people flourish once the mines close.
"I actually want to see the ownership of all these resources in the hands of the people, because I really believe if the people own them there won't be too many of these disputes happening in these mining areas. People will be quite satisfied. It really a case of the same sharing except this time the people get more, the people who suffer get more than the government."