6 Jul 2011

Bougainville workshop ponders Panguna reopening

7:00 pm on 6 July 2011

Landowners and ex-combatants from around the huge Panguna mine in Papua New Guinea's Bougainville have presented their concerns at a workshop in Buka.

The week long meeting, called by the Autonomous Bougainville Government's ministry of natural resources, aims to resolve outstanding issues ahead of a possible re-opening of the mine.

Don Wiseman reports:

"The Panguna Landowner Association's deputy chair, Michael Pariu, says both his group and the ex-combatants say it's critical they be involved in any negotiations to re-open the mine. He says they have a right to be heard at the negotiating table with the mine's owner, Bougainville Copper Ltd. Mr Pariu says his organisation backs the re-opening of Panguna, but any negotiations would have to include agreement on a compensation package for the damage caused by the mine. He says there would also need to be a roadmap laying out how the villages around Panguna can be rehabilitated and developed. The workshop was also told that the ABG would provide more than 400,000 US dollars to assist the reconciliation process among the Panguna communities."