Panguna group frustrated with Aust firm

The Panguna Young Generation Leaders (PYGL) are frustrated that Australian company RTG is creating false expectations among the Special Mining Lease area of the Panguna mine.

Chairman Sylvester Birou Pisi said promises of financial assistance at this time when parents are looking for school fees is not the way to gain social licence if they want to mine Panguna. 

He said RTG and its agents have done more damage than good in Panguna and have created disunity among the people.

“You cannot issue a receipt to a parent and tell them to go enroll their children at school when the fees have not been paid. The receipt means nothing to the school and the children will not be enrolled,” a concerned Pisi said. 

He also called on the Autonomous Bougainville Government to explain why they are allowing RTG to go directly to the villages and make promises of cash payments to the Panguna landowners on compensation, school fees, and business developments including employment opportunities when there is a moratorium over the Panguna Mine lease area. 

“The ABG wanted the landowners to unite and invite back BCL because of the Bougainville Mining Law under the provision of the ‘First Right of Refusal’.

“We did what the ABG wanted and now they sideline BCL with the moratorium and refuse to extend the exploration licence BCL holds,” Pisi said in a statement.

“The PYGL is aligned with the 367 title holders of Panguna and we will continue to align with ABG and we want BCL back as the preferred developer of the Panguna Project.

“Only BCL can mine Panguna and address outstanding issues with the landowners.”

Pisi said RTG did not mention anything about addressing legacy issues.

“We doubt its ability to talk about the legacy issues if it is allowed to mine Panguna,” continues the chairman.

“We also doubt its financial and technical capabilities to mine a project of Panguna’s magnitude as we do not know the background of the company and how many mines it operates.

“We fear that if Panguna is given away to RTG, it will on-sell the mine to a highest bidder and escape.”

He said the Panguna Young Generation Leaders will push for fresh elections and it is the only way there will be total unity among the landowners of Panguna when there are new executives in the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association.

(File pic)

Press release