28 Feb 2013

PNG's Kauona criticised by Europe-based BCL shareholders

4:27 pm on 28 February 2013

A group of shareholders in Bougainville Copper Ltd has issued a scathing critique of a former militant leader in the Papua New Guinea province, who this week described the autonomous government's new mining policy as one that could sparked a constitutional crisis.

He was reacting to news of Australian involvement in drawing up the document during a forum canvassing views on a possible re-opening of the moth-balled BCL-owned mine at Panguna.

Don Wiseman has more:

"Mr Kauona, who led the Bougainville Revolutionary Army during the civil war, warned Australia not to meddle in Bougainville affairs. The National newspaper reported him saying Canberra's involvement in helping draft the policy, could lead to a constitutional crisis in the province. But the European Shareholders of BCL call Mr Kauona a terrorist and claim he is spearheading a foreign criminal group that is trying to undermine the peace process for its own business interests. However Mr Kauona's deputy with the Bougainville Resource Owners Representative Council, Chris Damana, says what they want is to ensure that the people of Panguna have a say in the final policy on the resumption of mining at Panguna and have been assured that will happen."