21 Jan 2019

No end to landowner squabbling at Bougainville's Panguna

2:25 pm on 21 January 2019

Landowners near the long-closed Panguna mine in the Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville continue to scrap over who the legitimate owner is.

Panguna mine site

Panguna mine site Photo: supplied

Earlier this month the group, the Osikaiyang Landowners Association, announced it had achieved unity at its annual meeting in December.

Leader Philip Miriori said they now have a board representing seven villages in the Panguna area and have included youth and women members.

But the rival Panguna Developments Company said Osikaiyang doesn't have the right to represent all the landowners and says it doesn't have any status under the Bougainville Mining Act.

It also said Osikaiyang cannot claim to own the mineral rights at Panguna as its business associate, Australian mining company, RTG, claims on its web page.

The Panguna Developments Company has links to Bougainville Copper Ltd which is also endeavouring to return to mining at Panguna.

But a year ago, fearing the mine issue would undermine the independence referendum, the autonomous Bougainville government announced an indefinite moratorium on a possible return to mining there.

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