Bougainville Women Protest Signing Of Agreement To Reopen Panguna Mine

Landowner deal with Autonomous Bougainville Government signed without input from women

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, June 15, 2017) – A group of women in Central Bougainville, supported by men and children, staged a march to protest the planned reopening of the Panguna mine.

The signing of an agreement is to be between the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the Panguna landowners.

It will pave the way for the Bougainville Copper Limited to reopen the Panguna Mine.

The deadline is before June 2019.

The women are members of the Panguna landowners.

They marched to the office of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association in Arawa where they met former chairman Lawrence Daveona and his executives.

Panguna landowner representative Bernadine Gemel Kama said they raised their concerns with Daveona and his executives because they were the ones who wanted to sign the agreement with the ABG without consulting the women.

She warned that the Panguna issue would cause division among the people of Bougainville.

“As a landowner in Panguna, I want everyone to know that it is only a minority of people especially men who want to open the Panguna mine,” Kama said.

“All of us do not want BCL to ever come back to Panguna and mine.”

Youth representative Robert Baranangko, who joined the march with the women, said they were not aware of the agreement to be signed.

He said there was obviously a lack of consultation.

The National
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Consul widely and LISTEN to the people - make sure EVERYTHING is out in the open. Panguna is in a matralineal society so listen to the WOMEN especially.

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