Former Bougainville Rebel Leader Sees Great Potential From Mining

People, not international mining companies, must benefit: Kauona

By Francis Pulu

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 27, 2016) – Bougainville has the potential to drive its economic capacity forward after the proposed referendum in 2019, says former Bougainville Revolutionary Army commander Sam Kauona.

Kauona said to boost economic development in Bougainville, its leaders must work towards one common purpose – to target the mineral resource industry and other important sectors which can generate revenue.

He said the onus lay with the Autonomous Bougainville Government to lift the mining moratorium so that the people could partner potential explorers. 

The lifting of the mining moratorium will be discussed when the ABG meets next month. Kauona said the Bougainville resource owners representative committee had been formed to encourage locals to enter partnership deals in the industry.

“We are encouraging locals who have minerals to register their groups and negotiate with potential explorers,” he said.

Kauona said it would also stop Rio Tinto or the Bougainville Copper Ltd from resuming operation in Bougainville. 
“The old mining lease gave the right to Rio Tinto and BCL to own every mineral which the locals did not benefit from. And that is what we don’t want,” he said.

Kauona accused Rio Tinto and BCL of not compensating the lives lost during the civil crisis.

The National
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