Posts Categorized: Exploration moratorium

Reconciliation before exploration say Panguna mine associations

 

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The nine associations representing landowners of the former Panguna mine have made a request to Bougainville President, Chief John Momis, that any lift of the moratorium on mining exploration be delayed until after a Bel Kol ceremony is held with Bougainville Copper Limited.

“[Bel Kol] has been requested by the landowners,” President Momis stated.

“They want to see this customary first step towards reconciliation about mining-related issues that caused conflict completed before there is any formal step towards resumption of large-scale mining in Bougainville.

“They are asking all Bougainvilleans and outside mining interests to respect their wishes in this regard.”

The President has stated that a decision on the moratorium may not be made until October and is dependent on the successful implementation regulatory arrangement for small scale mining.

The Autonomous Bougainville Government Mining Act limits the number of simultaneous large-scale mines to two.

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Future of moratorium in the hands of BEC

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Chief John Momis, President of Bougainville, spoke today about debate in Bougainville’s House of Representatives on the future of the Moratorium on mining exploration and development. The House concluded the debate on Tuesday 7 June and passed a motion asking the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) to lift the moratorium completely

The debate followed a request from the Bougainville Executive Council in April, when all members were also asked to seek the views of their constituents.

President Momis took the opportunity to identify some of the issues around the moratorium.

“The moratorium was imposed in April 1971, by the colonial administration,” President Momis said, “it prevented mining exploration or development in all areas except those already under BCL leases.

“Bougainvillean leaders asked for the moratorium [at that time] because of deep concerns that there might be many more mines in addition to the huge Panguna mine.”

The President stated that part of the reason the motion to lift the moratorium was passed was to address problem of public revenue.

“Although I proposed to the House that the moratorium should initially be lifted partially, most members of the House preferred to lift it completely,” President Momis continued.

“A major factor here is National Government failure to fund the ABG as the Peace Agreement requires.

“The ABG’s bad financial position means we must increase our internal revenue.

“Most members see mining sector development as the best way to lift the Bougainville economy, and also provide ABG revenue; My Government has listened to and will implement the motion of the House.”

The motion passed last week by the House was for the purposes of consultation and does not lift the moratorium. Under the Mining Act, it is the Bougainville Executive Council that has power to lift the moratorium and only once it has received advice from the Bougainville Mining Advisory Committee and allowed the House another opportunity for debate on the issues.

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People must inform mining moratorium decision says President

President John L. Momis has told the Bougainville House of Representatives that a decision will need to be made on the moratorium on mining exploration in the future.

He said that the Bougainville Executive Council (BEC), with advice from the Bougainville Mining Advisory Council, has the responsibility for making ultimate decision about the moratorium, but will not do so in isolation.

President Momis wants to see the issue discussed publicly to help inform whether the moratorium should be retained, partially lifted or fully lifted and implored his fellow Members of Parliament to actively seek out the views of their constituents.

“The BEC has not made any decision about the future of the ‘moratorium’,” President Momis told the House of Representatives on Tuesday 5 April.

“We are not coming to you with a proposed decision, instead, we are asking this House to debate what we should do.

“We are doing this to generate broad public discussion of the issues involved.”

The moratorium on mining exploration was imposed in 1971 in response to concerns communicated by Bougainvilleans and was been retained by the Bouganville Mining (Transitional Arrangements) Act 2014 and the Bougainville Mining Act 2015 which followed.

“Ideally we want to have a major Bougainville-wide public consultation and awareness campaign about issues of such great importance,” President Momis continued, “but because of our serious financial difficulties, that is not an option for us at the moment.”

Momis wants the second parliamentary debate on the issue to be inclusive of the variety of views from the Bougainvillean communities.

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