PRIME MINISTER PETER O’NEILL is welcome to visit the ideal location of the closed giant copper mine at Panguna in central Bougainville.
The Mekamui fighting faction, leaders and people, have assured the prime minister of his safety.
Panguna is home to the world’s largest open cut mine that once produced billions of kina for Papua New Guinea.
Panguna Mekamui Defence Force commander, Moses Pipiru, says the mine was closed due to issues fought between parties involved with landowners which gave birth to the Bougainville crisis; a nightmare that turned into a bloodshed of war and destruction.
Mr Pipiro says it is now a thing of the past welcoming the prime minister to Panguna.
Panguna wants to be part of Bougainville’s independent dream and Mr O’Neill’s visit is significant. It will embrace a strong partnership and open up opportunities between the national and the autonomous governments.
Preparations for the prime minister’s visit to Panguna are well underway. The Mekamui Defence Force, following a traditional ritual, will fire a gun salute to honour Mr O’Neill.
A liquor ban has been imposed and Police with Mekamui help have been working closely to ensure that it is an undisturbed visit.
Mr O’Neill and the delegation will arrive tomorrow and begin the official program. The prime minister will visit north central and south Bougainville regions.