PRESIDENT of the Autonomous Bougainville Government Chief Dr John Momis has announced his support of the new Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL), which has shaken itself off after the sudden exit of Rio Tinto last year.
The government believes BCL has stepped away from the post-colonial, pre-crisis model that left Bougainville at a disadvantage.
The company is now partly owned by the Bougainville government, the PNG government, Panguna landowners, the people of Bougainville and minority private shareholders and, together with the landowners, it still plans to redevelop the defunct Panguna copper and gold mine for the benefit of Bougainville.
Dr Momis said the ABG as regulator will work with and support BCL to explore alternative Panguna development options that will accommodate the interest of stakeholders in fast tracking the redevelopment of the Panguna resource.
“Since BCL was invited to formally re-engage in discussions in Bougainville in 2012, the landowners have consistently stated their preference to work with BCL as the developer,” Dr Momis said.
This was recently reaffirmed by the nine landowner associations at a meeting in Buka last month after the BCL team led by new chairman Rob Burns made presentations to government leaders and landowner association executives and representatives.
Mr Burns presented a development proposal outlining a new BCL approach to Panguna.
The ABG and landowners intend to work on a positive strategy for an outcome that will be beneficial for all stakeholders, especially landowners.
The ABG and the landowners have committed to addressing the immediate challenges to progressing the Panguna project and look forward to working in partnership with BCL through the project development cycle.