Bougainville Islands News Your Vote 2017

ABG Lifts Mining and Exploration Moratorium

President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, Chief John Momis, says a vibrant economy is needed to run the region’s affairs.

The ABG is ready to assist investors by facilitating with any investment which mining and exploration processes are a critical part of.

Chief Momis highlighted this at the lifting of the Mining and Exploration Moratorium in Buka last Friday.

This covers areas of Tore, Isina and Jaba.

In a press statement, Chief Momis stated that the Bougainville Executive Council has carefully considered implications of development, capacity of government to manage exploration applications and the needs of all Bougainvilleans.

“The strategic lifting of the moratorium will play a critical part in enhancing Bougainville’s economic future, without loosing sight of the needs for environmental protection and monitoring systems to regulate exploration and mining activities,”

“To assist in this process, the Departments of Mineral and Energy Resources, Lands and Physical Planning and Environment and others are putting in place the administrative and regulatory processes to effectively manage new activities,” he said.

President Momis has given the assurance to investors, provided that all applicants honor Bougainville laws and fully comply with regulatory requirements.

He said Bougainville is open for business.

The Bougainville Mining Registrar will start accepting applications 10am (local time) on Tuesday May 9, 2017.

Meanwhile, the Special Mine Lease Landowners Association where the Panguna Mine is located on the same day petitioned the Autonomous Bougainville Government to simply reject BCL’s application to extend its exploration license.

Association Chairman, Philip Miriori, said the petition proved President Momis had been misled about the supposed landowner support for the BCL application and has brushed aside claims made by BCL that they had unanimous landowner consent.

He says the landowners believe it’s important to demonstrate the overwhelming and heartfelt view of the legal owners.

“We are the landholders who own the land and the minerals beneath the ground at the Panguna Mine site,” Miriori said.

The petition signed by over 550 signatures doesn’t accept BCL because of their ignorance.

“We will never accept BCL, as these signatures show,” he said.

“For the first step, the grant of an exploration license, those within that boundary are the only landholders who are relevant and affected by activities. They will also have a say when the mine takes the next step from exploration to a mining license, if the reopening of the mine needs to expand into those surrounding lands. We do not welcome BCL’s exploration license now. End of story.”

All that was left for them was environmental damage; division in the community; and loss of many lives, which they will never allow to happen again.

“BCL’s exploration license renewal application should be rejected for many reasons but as many feel, the company has failed to address the environmental damage caused when the mine was operating up to 1989. All left for us was environmental damage, division in the community and the loss of our land and many lives,” he said.

Miriori believes BCL did leave terrible damages which where never repaired.

“It then had two years to try and progress the exploration process, it did nothing and ignored us. We met them twice in 2016 but they refused to meet us for further discussions. Now it expects the Government to extend their now expired license for a further five years. This is not acceptable to us. We will never allow it to happen,” Miriori said.

In the meantime, Miriori is happy with Bougainville’s Mining Law, giving ownership to landowners who will work closely with the ABG, for an alternative proposal that represents real benefits for Bougainville and its independent future economic prosperity.

“Soon we will be explaining the alternative proposal we have developed and presented to the ABG – a proposal that will get the mine back up and running professionally, and far earlier than BCL plans, which represents real benefits for Bougainville and its independent future economic prosperity,” Miriori said.

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