Mining Associations Discuss Re-Opening Panguna Mine

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Landowners say reconciliation must come before any action

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 20, 2013) – The leaders of the six mine lease associations in Panguna in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville (ABG) say they should be fully funded through the new Panguna Peace Building Strategy.

Launched with Australian assistance last week, the Strategy aims to foster reconciliation around Panguna, where the mothballed copper mine that sparked the ten-year civil war is located.

There is widespread interest in re-opening the huge mine but the lease association’s chair Chris Damana, who is heading an interim landowners’ umbrella group, says nothing can happen before a full reconciliation within Panguna communities.

He says they are in Buka for talks with the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the ABG, about key issues that need to be addressed.

"One of those issues that we will be talking [about] is for ABG government to fully fund Panguna landowners’ associations. We have done our in-house preparation and I think are the things that need to be funded from this Panguna Peace Building Strategy."

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