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ASM Regulatory Enforcement Taskforce Awareness Campaign underway

Following the announcement by ABG President Hon. Ishmael Toroama, who is also Minister responsible for Mineral and Energy Resources, an Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) Regulatory Enforcement Taskforce is currently undertaking a stakeholder awareness campaign on the existing sector regulatory framework and the offences and penalties provisions in relation to unauthorized ASM activities under the Bougainville Mining Act 2015.

The awareness campaign is primarily towards informing stakeholders that the ABG will now be effectively enforcing these provisions.

The Taskforce is also incorporating awareness towards addressing the negative impacts of the sector including awareness by the ABG Department of Education, Bougainville Police, and awareness on the health, environment and safety aspects related to ASM.

The aim is to encourage those involved in ASM to responsibly undertake their ASM activities and to formalize their activities.

After the initial awareness campaign, there will be notification of a six (6) months grace period to allow those involved in unauthorized ASM activities to licence their activities.

This notification will effectively remove the legal protection that has allowed Bougainvillean’s to continue to undertake ASM related activities without a licence. The Taskforce will immediately commence its enforcement activities after the lapse of the six (6) months grace period.

On Friday 15th December, the Taskforce was welcomed by Ioro Constituency Member Hon. Theonila Roka Matbob, who is also Minister responsible for Community Government. Minister Matbob highlighted that many people in her Constituency were engaged in ASM activities; this included people from all over Bougainville who have migrated there specifically for ASM activities and this has created a lot of social problems.

Minister Matbob in support of the Taskforce activities, explained to her constituents that the Bougainville Executive Council made a decision to establish the Taskforce towards addressing the negative socio-economic and environmental issues associated with ASM activities.

The Taskforce, through respective Community Governments and Ward Member’s, has so far covered the the Kanavitu/Atamo and Kopani areas in the Eivo-Torau Constituency, and the Pump-Station and Panguna and Moroni areas of Ioro Constituency.

The Taskforce’s awareness campaign will continue this week in areas of Kongara Constituency and in the Kupei area of North Nasioi Constituency before the team breaks on Friday 22nd December for the festive season.

ASM related awareness and training campaigns will be ongoing into 2024. Key targets for these exercises include formalization of the ASM sector towards responsible ASM mining practices, the reduction and/or eradication of mercury use, and the improvement of the dire health, education, and law and order statistics in the ASM sites.

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