9 Oct 2013

Referendum call to decide Panguna future

4:10 pm on 9 October 2013

There's a renewed call for the people of the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville to have a say in any re-opening of the controversial Panguna copper and gold mine.

This comes as the final of a series of regional meetings on a possible re-opening, being held near the mine site in central Bougainville, has been held up by disputes between several of the parties involved.

A Panguna landowner and former candidate for president of Bougainville, Martin Miriori, says a plebiscite, run by the election office, is the only way to get full buy in from the people.

He says when Panguna was first opened 40 years ago few had a say.

"The white man exploited the ignorance of the people to bulldoze certain things. Now we have got educated people, the majority, so that is why I say a plebiscite will be a way forward, so that if anything goes wrong if we say yes to the re-opening of the mine then we have the responsibility jointly."

A Panguna landowner, Martin Miriori