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Panguna stakeholder awareness hosted in Guava village today

The ABG team conducting the community engagement program in the Panguna Mine-affected areas visited Guava village today where they consulted with the communities in Guava, Mosinau and Kokore villages.

Today’s engagement was significant as the government team was hosted in Guava village, which holds the legacy and is the final resting place of Bougainville Revolutionary leader, Late Francis Ona.

The purpose of the multi-stakeholder awareness is to effectively communicate correct and vital information about the issuance of EL01 to Bougainville Copper Limited and address community concerns and questions surrounding the issuance of the exploration license.

Acting Chief Secretary explained to the communities today that following the granting of the exploration license early this year, the ABG had appointed a Committee to be led by the Office of the Chief Secretary and other key ABG departments to facilitate community awareness and dialogue sessions with the communities in the mine-affected areas in Panguna.

He said this direct engagement between the Government and the communities was critical to educate them about the issuance of the exploration license and clarify any rumors or misinformation, and more importantly, to build trust and alliance and facilitate the space for honest and open dialogue between the Government and the landowners.

ABG Member for Central Veterans Hon. Junior Dake was also present at the community program today. He reminded the landowners that the issues that the Late Francis Ona fought for when he shut down the mining operations in Panguna, has served also as a lesson for resource owners in other parts of the country and in the world.

He emphasized that the suffering and hardships from Panguna have resulted today in better benefit arrangements for resource owners in other parts of the country that have mining operations, while Bougainville continues to suffer the consequences.

The ABG Department of Bougainville Independence Mission Implementation provided an overview on the current political journey that Bougainville is on and how it requires strong economic backing to ensure that Bougainville can fund and sustain its political aspirations for independence.

The ABG Department of Finance also presented to the stakeholders the current economic situation in Bougainville, highlighting the fiscal gap that must be filled through transformative economic interventions.

An update was also provided to the Guava community on commitments made the ABG President Hon. Ishmael Toroama, for key projects in Guava village, including road infrastructure and the construction of special monuments as a way to preserve the memory and educate future generations about Bougainville’s history, the conflict and the sacrifices made during those times.

The ABG Department of Mineral & Energy Resources presented a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of the proposed Panguna redevelopment project in comparison to the former Panguna mine, emphasized on the mineral project life cycle of which the ABG and the landowners are now in following the issuance of the exploration license. Clarity was also provided on the license conditions under the Bougainville Mining Act, that are attached with the exploration license issued to BCL.

Landowners were then provided the opportunity to voice their concerns to the ABG team, with a diverse range of perspectives shared by veterans, youth representative, people living with disabilities, women and the elderly.  

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