Bougainville's Kauona still wants mining changes

7:50 pm on 22 April 2015

A former Bougainville separatist leader now running for president says he wants modifications to the new Mining Act.

Arawa, Bougainville

Arawa, Bougainville Photo: RNZI

Sam Kauona says the legislation passed just before the election process for the autonomous Papua New Guinea region began achieves some of what he had sought but not all.

The act vests control of resources in the hands of the landowners instead of in the crown.

Mr Kauona takes credit for this, saying he had to battle hard to convince the ABG to make such a radical departure from the Western convention.

But he says a key reason he is running in next month's election is that under the act Rio Tinto, the majority owner of Bougainville Copper Ltd, which ran the Panguna mine before the civil war, has still got an exploration licence.

"Licence was given before and even in the new law it was given back to BCL. Although restricting them of mining licence, the exploration licence was given back, was recognised."

Sam Kauona, who says he recognises that Bougainville needs to re-embrace mining to develop its economy.