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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 31) – Autonomous Bougainville President Joseph Kabui will try to secure the remaining PGK18 million [US$6.2 million] assistance promised to his government by Canadian mining company Invincible Resources Ltd.

The amount was part of the PGK20 million [US$6.9 million] aid package for Autonomous Bougainville Government signed by Mr. Kabui and Invincible recently.

Mr. Kabui and his delegation left for Vancouver yesterday to find out from Invincible Resources what happened to the promised money.

The mining company was trying to convince Autonomous Bougainville Government to allow it to develop its gold resources and struck an assistance deal with the island’s government as a sign of good faith on its part.

The deal had called for the delivery of initial PGK2 million [US$699,500] within seven days after the signing while the rest of the assistance would be delivered 60 days later.

The PGK2 million had been turned over to Autonomous Bougainville Government as agreed.

Lindsay Semple, manager of Invincible Resources, said that the assistance package was being given to Bougainville "as it had confidence in the people of Bougainville that they have the ability to start anew from ashes ..."

Mr. Semple had stressed there were no strings attached to the money and that the repayment would start once a deal on the setting up of a mine venture on the island had been reached.

However, the contract was silent as to where the balance of the money would be made – Buka or Vancouver.

The deal had also raised the concerns of some sectors on the island who urged Autonomous Bougainville Government to return the money, saying "Bougainville was not only worth PGK20 million."

May 31, 2006

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