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Me’ekamui invites stakeholders to Panguna mine talks

Panguna mine truck

An abandoned Panguna mine truck on Bougainville. Photo: ABC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Aloysius Laukai in Buka

Me’ekamui tribal government has insisted it will not allow anyone to reopen the Panguna mine on Bougainville until all outstanding issues are resolved.

President Philip Miriori today rejected reports by an Australian newspaper on May 19 claiming that Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL) owned the Panguna mine, saying: “BCL – Rio Tinto has no rights to Panguna and any discussions or commitments with anyone including PNG or ABG [Autonomous Bougainville Government]  is counterproductive”.

He said the Me’ekamui government, which controlled the assets at Panguna and all natural resources within its boundaries, has refuted Bougainville President John Momis’ authority to enter into any understandings or agreements with Me’ekamui-owned land.

Miriori has personally invited the Acting PM, Minister for National Planning, Minister for Mining, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Chief Legal Counsel from the PNG Government, ABG President, Vice President, Minister for Mining and Legal Counsel and BCL-Rio Tinto chairman, Secretary and Legal Counsel to an open-dialogue meeting at Hilton Hotel in Cairns, Australia, to settle all unresolved issues.

He urged people attending the planned June 14-17 to bring with them all licences, documents and relevant materials to enable all issues with “truth and honesty”.

Miriori urged all parties to act wisely in their pursuit of closure and future promise.

He added that the meeting was not a media event but an “honest effort to bring all parties together [to]  gain resolution”.

Miriori asked the stakeholders to email their response to the Me’ekamui Foreign Affairs minister Pius Taboa by June 3.

Aloysius Laukai is manager and chief reporter of the New Dawn FM95.3 radio.