ABG prepares for Panguna Mine Negotiations. http://www.bougainvillebulletin.com/17-current-edition/oct-2012-edition/43-abg-prepares-for-panguna-mine-negotiations
MUCH work has been done in preparing the ABG and landowners to negotiate the future of the Panguna Mine, said Bougainville President Chief, Dr. John Momis. In a ministerial statement presented to members of the Bougainville House of Representatives in parliament last month, Momis reiterated the need to have the Panguna Mine reopened as soon as practicable to support the government’s economic development strategy and fiscal self-reliance.
[He said the Bougainville Administration and the ABG Mining Department has been preparing the ABG and the mine affected and impacted landowners for these negotiations.] “Work on preparing the initial six landowner associations are 98 per cent complete with only the Rorovana association still awaiting its certificate of incorporation. “An interim Umbrella Landowner organization, the United Panguna Resource Owners Association (UPROA) has also been established with the appointment of interim committees comprising of the initial six landowner associations as well as the additional three landowner associations,” said Momis. In addition, the President highlighted several progressive developments that have taken place including; the conduct of a workshop to evaluate ABG objectives and options on future mining development in Bougainville in March, 2011. This workshop was jointly facilitated by Bougainvillean and International experts in the mining industry. The workshop indicated widespread support to re-open the Panguna Mine. The appointment of one of the facilitators of the workshop, professor Ciaran O’Fairchealaigh of Griffith University (Brisbane, Australia) as negotiation advisor to the ABG. This person has been assisting the ABG steering group to ensure that the ABG and landowners are ready to negotiate with the National Government, BCL and other investors when actual negotiations start. The Bougainville Administration’s Panguna negotiating steering group has been to coordinate and manage ABG’s and the landowner’s preparations for the negotiations, along with and a two person secretariat to support the steering group. The development of a rolling work plan containing work streams emanating from the mining workshop on the steps required to progress ABG’s and landowner’s preparation for negotiations. The establishment of a BEC (Ministerial) committee comprising the President, Vice President, Minister for Natural Resources, Minister for Finance, Planning and Treasury and the Minister for Works will oversee and provide political direction to the steering group. The agreement by the National government to the ABG’s request to establish the Panguna Negotiation Coordination Committee comprising the ABG, National Government, Landowners, BCL and other investors, to coordinate preparation for the negotiations, including the baseline studies on the environment, social and economic conditions in and around Panguna Mine. This coordination committee would be formally endorsed at the next JSB meeting. “Now that preparing the mine and impacted landowners is all but complete, the steering group in 2013 will focus on engaging with the wider Bougainville community including interest groups that believe that they also have a role to play in the negotiations,” said Momis. He explained that three regional forums are planned for the latter part of the year in each of the regions of North, Central and South. “These forums are to inform the Bougainville population on what the government is doing to progress negotiations for the possible reopening of the Panguna Mine. “Further, the ministerial committee overseeing the preparations for negotiations is currently considering a draft negotiation structure, which it intends to put to the Bougainville Executive Council for deliberation and approval before the end of this year,” said the President. He assured the people of Bougainville that he would continue to inform them on the progress of negotiating the possible reopening of the Panguna Mine. “This is because my government believes that as the Panguna Mine helped bankroll Papua New Guinea’s independence in the 1970s, it too can again bankroll Bougainville’s autonomy and independence,” said Momis.