The election of Dame Carol Kidu to the Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) board in April 2013 was a clear indication of the company’s intent to learn from its past mistakes and push forward with a new approach to resource development in the Autonomous Province.
“The major consideration should be learning from the past to create a better future for all stakeholders using inclusive strategies,” said Dame Carol, who was appointed to the Board of BCL earlier this year.
“It is important for BCL and the people of Bougainville to acknowledge that the old Panguna existed in a very different era.
“We need to analyse the mistakes of that era, rectify them where possible and learn from them when creating the new Panguna.”
Dame Carol said that resource development was not the ultimate goal, but rather a means to a greater end.
“The primary role of mining and resource firms in PNG is as economic drivers of development,” she said.
“Large economic resource projects potentially give a government the financial resources to provide an acceptable standard of living for its citizens as well as the resource owners.
“The basic guiding principles should be minimising harm to the environment and the people and communities in the area of the resource development and maximising the restorative processes.”
There are few people as well versed in the challenges of social inclusion and cultural complexities in Melanesia as Dame Carol Kidu, and she hopes her vast experience can be utilised by BCL.
“My Ministerial background in community development and human rights provides me with the ability to provide strategic advice that will align company community engagement and development programs with government social policies,” Dame Carol said.
“I see myself as being most effectively used as an adviser for the work of the [Bougainville Copper] Foundation as well as in community engagement and community affairs in the lead-up towards mine re-opening.
“I also hope I will be able to facilitate increased and meaningful involvement of women in all aspects and levels of the mine re-development process.
“I hope the Bougainville people might see the role of BCL as an important partner to create prosperity and peace,” she said, “ensuring that the wealth from their non-renewable resources is used wisely and re-invested to ensure a sustainable future.”