The new BCL is a step away from the post-colonial and pre-crisis arrangement that had Bougainville at a disadvantage.
It is partly owned by the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the National Government, Panguna Landowners and people of Bougainville to develop the defunct Panguna Mine with the landowners for the benefit of Bougainville.
President Momis said the ABG as regulator will work together and support BCL explore alternative Panguna development options that will accommodate the interest of project stakeholders to fast track the development of the Panguna resources.
“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,” Momis said.
This was recently reaffirmed by the nine Landowner Associations in Buka on February 23, 2017 after the BCL team led by Chairman Rob Burns made presentations to the ABG leaders and the mine landowner association executives and representatives on the new BCL’s development proposal for Panguna.
During that visit the Chairman presented to the ABG leaders and the landowners a development proposal outlining how different the new Panguna approach will be under the new BCL which is now owned by the ABG, the Panguna landowners, people of Bougainville and the National Government.
Due to the recent majority of shares transferred by the Rio Tinto to ABG and the National Government, the ABG and the landowners now view BCL as not the devil we know but the devil we won.
The ABG and the landowners will now have to take advantage of this scenario and work out a positive strategy for an outcome that will be equitably beneficial for all stakeholders especially the landowners.
The ABG and the landowners have also committed to addressing the immediate challenges to progressing the Panguna project and looks forward to working in partnership with BCL through the project development cycle.
During discussions held this week between the BCL and the ABG, the two parties reaffirmed their commitment in which a way forward can be agreed for the immediate addressing of stage 0- Removing impediments under the BCL proposed staged development proposal presented during February 23-24 visit.
In those discussions it was also mentioned for BCL’s consideration to find ways and opportunities in its exploration to project development financing phase to support the ABG’s immediate development agendas as a way of building a long term unwavering development in Panguna.