Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Talks to review Panguna deal



DISCUSSIONS to allow for a review of the Bougainville Copper Agreement is in progress with landowners from the mining lease areas of the Panguna mine encouraged to unite under one umbrella company, The National reports.

President John Momis said the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) was working hard to encourage the landowners to unite so that they could speak and be heard in one voice.

“I am satisfied we are doing okay,” he said, adding that he believed a memorandum of understanding would be reached soon with the Panguna landowners as part of the process towards allowing for a review of the Bougainville Copper Agreement.

“We need to get the mine reopened. It will kick-start developments in Bougainville,” Momis said.

“At this time, we have not negotiated with potential developers but we have spoken with the chairman of Bougainville Copper Ltd and made known to him to respect the interest of the stakeholders, including the PNG government.”

He said he was confident that the government, with a vast mining industry, would extend its support to the autonomous region “to access the reservoir of knowledge and experience with regards to mine issues”.

Momis appealed to landowners on Bougainville to work together in re-building its peace and economy.

He added that the last thing he wanted was instability on Bougainville.

Bougainville deputy administrator for policy Raymond Masono said money was needed to conduct awareness on various ABG programmes, including weapons disposal and reconciliation.

“Weapons disposal remains a priority for the ABG.

“What it requires now is a weapons disposal plan and funding of about K6 million,” he said.

Masono said the reconciliation programme was also a priority which would require about the same amount of funding.

“Without peace and weapons disposal, economic development will not progress,” he added.

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