Fury in Bougainville over mining amendment go ahead

1:34 pm on 7 June 2019

A landowning group in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville says many people remain strongly opposed to planned changes to the Mining Act.

Panguna mine site

Panguna mine site Photo: supplied

The Bougainville Government has been pushing the changes,, saying it will give landowners greater control.

But the chairman of the Osikaiang landowning group, at the site of the Panguna mine, Philip Miriori, said the changes are offensive, unconstitutional and they face overwhelming opposition.

There have been consultations around Bougainville over the planned changes in recent weeks and the Bougainville Mining Minister, Raymond Masono, said he is confident the majority of people now support the government position.

He said the measure would ensure landowners would, for the first time, own the minerals after they have been extracted.

But Mr Miriori said Mr Masono is trying to mislead the people.

He said the changes would do the exact opposite of what the government claims they will do, and in fact would strip landowners of their customary rights.

The new legislation is expected back in the ABG parliament next week, but Osikaiang is promising that, if passed, it will face an immediate legal challenge.

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