16 Feb 2016

Backing for Bougainville refinery, but not ABG money

10:15 am on 16 February 2016

A long time Bougainville politician and former Papua New Guinea mining minister says a gold refinery in the region is a good idea but says it must be led by the private sector.

Alluvial gold mining is a major economic activity in Bougainville and the autonomous government wants to be able to tax it, so is considering building its own gold refinery.

President John Momis said the plan was to build the refinery, pay the miners a good price and earn some much needed income.

Sam Akoitai backs the idea of a refinery, but said it was not for the government to build it.

He said it would soak up funds needed in areas like education and health.

"What the government [the ABG] should be doing is creating an environment where someone independent or an investor, comes in and invests in that facility. The government does not have the money."