Division delays mining works

THE government in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville says it will not allow exploration or mining activities at the Panguna mine site until landowners unite.

Two companies have been battling to reopen the mine, a move government had been touting as vital to developing Bougainville’s economy.

But at the end of last year President John Momis announced a moratorium on mining at Panguna and in a new statement he says it is “absolutely clear the landowners and the people of Panguna are divided over their preferred developer”.

He said after debate in the ABG House of Representatives, it was very clear this decision could not be avoided and had been made in the best interests of the landowners and the people of Bougainville.

Mr Momis says landowner leadership at Panguna remains unresolved creating factional groups with opposing views and positions on how the mine should be developed.