27 Feb 2013

Landowners firm on terms at PNG's Panguna talks

5:47 pm on 27 February 2013

The landowners from around the huge mothballed Panguna mine in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville say nothing will happen without their approval.

At a forum in Buka looking at the impediments to resuming mining in the province, a former militant leader, and now head of the Bougainville Resource Owners Representative Council, Sam Kauona, dismissed Australia's involvement in the province's draft mining policy.

Mr Kauona warned Australia not to meddle in Bougainville affairs.

The newspaper, The National, reports Mr Kauona as claiming the first policy draft on mining in Bougainville was no different from the colonial policy that had caused the civil war.

He says the proposed policy, sponsored by AusAID and drafted by Australian academic, Tony Regan, risked to cause Bougainville's first constitutional crisis.

Mr Kauona says since the provincial constitution vests ownership of resources in the people of Bougainville, any attempt to impose a separate resource ownership system would be invalid and ineffective, and could spark a constitutional crisis.