“Bougainville has the potential to drive its economic capacity forward after the proposed referendum in 2019,
To boost economic development in Bougainville, its leaders must work towards one common purpose – to target the mineral resource industry and other important sectors which can generate revenue.
The onus lay with the Autonomous Bougainville Government to lift the mining moratorium so that the people could partner potential explorers.”
Former Bougainville Revolutionary Army commander Sam Kauona.
A complicating factor here is the various business and other economic interests of several key former combatant leaders. Some of them use their ex-combatant networks to advance such interests;
Former BRA leader, Sam Kauona, who has long had interest in establishing mining operations in association with dual Australian/Canadian citizen, Lindsay Semple, and who – whenever they fear their mining interests are not sufficiently guaranteed – attacks the ABG as being under the control of Bougainville Copper Ltd (or BCL) and its 53 per cent majority shareholder, Rio Tinto.
The lifting of the mining moratorium will be discussed when the ABG meets next month. Kauona said the Bougainville resource owners representative committee had been formed to encourage locals to enter partnership deals in the industry.
“We are encouraging locals who have minerals to register their groups and negotiate with potential explorers,” he said.
Kauona said it would also stop Rio Tinto or the Bougainville Copper Ltd from resuming operation in Bougainville.
“The old mining lease gave the right to Rio Tinto and BCL to own every mineral which the locals did not benefit from. And that is what we don’t want,” he said.
Kauona accused Rio Tinto and BCL of not compensating the lives lost during the civil crisis.
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