by Fabian Hakalits – EM TV, Buka
The Bougainville House of Representatives today, Thursday 26 March, passed its own mining law.
It’s another historical milestone for Bougainville, as this law recognises customary landowners to have their say in any dialogue that concerns mining, both large and small scale.
Autonomous Bougainville Government’s Minerals and Energy Resources Minister, Michael Oni, said that aspects of this new law allows landowners to participate meaningfully in mining projects.
Customary landowners now have the right to say ‘no’ to exploration, and mining licenses and are entitled to 5% free equity, including royalties.
Oni said the law empowers ABG to raise its internal revenue, and for landowners, through putting Exploration Licenses out for international bidding.
The Bougainville Mining Act 2015 also recognizes small-scale mining activities and empowers ABG to raise its internal revenue.
Bougainville President, Chief Dr John Momis, clarified the mining law isn’t about reopening Panguna Mine, but for the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s mining powers ownership.
President Momis brushed aside critics saying that this law will not benefit Bougainville.
However it gives special power, rights and protection to customary landowners and direct participation to Bougainvilleans in the mining industry.