Monday, June 21, 2010

Reopening of mine possible: Momis

THE reopening of the Panguna mine in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville is a good possibility under the new regime, newly-elected president John Momis said last Friday, The National reports.

“I want the mine to reopen. However, this issue will depend mostly on the outcome of consultation and consensual meetings between the landowners and the administration,” he said in his first official trip.

Momis said the landowners would be consulted and their consent sought as this was the Melanesian way of decision-making.

“Realistically, this reopening will help generate money for the people to participate in the economy,” he added.

Quoting from his inaugural speech, Momis said one of the plans was for the people to pay tax to enable the new government to develop their region and to work towards achieving full autonomy and fiscal self-reliance under the peace agreement.

“Although my plan is to eventually reopen the mine, the final say rests with the landowners,” he said, adding that the only way his people would know and understand the new changes was for more awareness to be made regarding his principal tasks outlined in his inaugural speech.

He said with the massive awareness conducted, the people would be able to understand and participate in what the government was doing and be empowered.

Momis said the need for weapons disposal, full achievement of autonomy, democracy and good governance could only be achieved through information and awareness, as many lacked proper schooling.

He also said the new government would be looking at investments, seeking credible partnerships involving credible investments and credible resource owners.

“The credible donors are also welcome to Bougainville but all will have to work together to discourage stand alone organisations.

This will enable the region to develop a sufficient capacity to become subsidiary economic activities such as mining, etc.

“Otherwise spin-offs will flow out of people’s pockets,” he said.

Momis had arrived in Port Moresby for a weekend of official activities as the newly-elected president.


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