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KABUI’S LAST EFFORT WAS TO CLARIFY MINERAL RIGHTS Kabui wished rights to remain with landowners, not the state

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, June 13, 2008) – The late president of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Joseph Kabui, was working to solicit support to do away with the Mining Act of 1992.

The Act stipulates that minerals on or below the land belongs to the State.

Senior research fellow at the National Research Institute Alphonse Gelu said at the Governors’ Conference in Manus last week, Mr Kabui had recommended a major shift from the current mining policy to allowing landowners to own, control, explore and mine their own resources.

Dr Gelu described Kabui’s presentation as very important as it directly addressed the issues that had escalated into the Bougainville crisis in the late 1980s.

He said Mr Kabui had urged the Government not to hold onto the mineral ownership of Bougainville as it may create future problems. "The presentation by Kabui was meant to solicit support from other governors on the issue of mining royalties sharing as stipulated under section 23 of the Bougainville constitution.

"The Bougainville constitution allows ABG to pass its own mining legislation. Section 23 recognises the customary land ownership and rights of the people of resources on and below their land. This also includes minerals rights," Dr Gelu said.

"This is a shift away from the PNG Mining Act of 1992."

He added that Kabui’s setting up of the Bougainville Resources Development Corporation Ltd (BRDC) is an attempt to address the effectiveness of royalty payments, special support grants and tax credit based on the needs and desires of Bougainvilleans.

"The BRDC, therefore, would provide effective delivery of financial benefits to Bougainville."

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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