BOUGAINVILLE MULLS REOPENING PANGUNA MINE

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Negotiations in progress 2011 opening

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Nov. 30, 2010) - Efforts are being revived in the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville to reopen the Panguna gold and copper mine next year.

The Post Courier reports that 100 representatives from the six Panguna mine lease affected areas met in Buka for two days for official negotiations on reviewing the Bougainville Copper Agreement.

The mine closed as the island descended into a decade-long separatist war which ended with a truce in 1997 and a peace agreement in 2001 that allows for a possible move to independence.

[PIR editor’s note: The National reports the European shareholders of Bougainville Copper (ESBC) have welcomed the breakthrough achieved by the Panguna landowners’ conference in Buka to re-open the mine next year.]

The newly-elected Bougainville President, John Momis, has told the newspaper, The National, that talks were heading in the right direction, adding that the mine needs to be re-opened to kick-start development in Bougainville.

[PIR editor’s note: An earlier report noted that for over 16 years, Bougainville sustained the economy of Papua New Guinea with the Bougainville copper mine tax contribution of 300 million kina [US$114 million] a year. Reportedly the copper reserves are estimated at almost 3 million tonnes and gold production in the range of 400,000 ounces per annum making Panguna one of the world’s largest potential producers of both metals.]

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