In a statement, SMLOLA chairman, Philip Miriori, and his advisor Lawrence Daveona say BCL has shown that they have not changed or learnt any lessons “from the tragic history they put us through”.
“The Warden’s Hearing could not have been a stronger message from our community – BCL is not welcome at Panguna ever, yet they try and say they have majority landowner support.
“Respect the call of the people and the Government and leave.
“The decision of the ABG to deny their purported renewal application has been incredibly positive for our landowners, allowing the real facts to come to light and getting rid of the menace that was trying to divide our people. We are now united behind a fresh new development of Panguna with our preferred developer, RTG Mining Inc. and want nothing to do with BCL again.”
The following comments are in response to the 2017 Annual Report of BCL which was released to the Australian Stock Exchange recently.
Miriori says for a company that:
- Has been given almost 30 years to fix up their failings of the past with no progress;
- Accepted a further 2 year exploration licence under the very Bougainville Mining Act they now conveniently say is illegal;
- Sought a renewal of the exploration licence under the very Bougainville Mining Act they now conveniently say is illegal;
- Were given a further 18 months after the expiry of their 2 year exploration licence to secure landowner support and still failed throughout that 3 and half year period to overcome or even acknowledge the legacy issues and win landowner support;
- Attended a Warden’s Hearing under the very Bougainville Mining Act they now conveniently say is illegal and failed;
- They now try and cry wolf saying they have been treated unfairly and actually have strong landowner support despite the obvious facts. How naïve do they think the landowners and the ABG are?
Daveona says: “I know BCL well, I sadly supported them for 34 years till 2017 but I have now seen the truth.
“My fellow SMLOLA members are now all united against the return of BCL at any time. We will not be taken advantage of again. Even if they tried to finally step up and listen to us and compensate us for the past, it is too late, we cannot trust them. Too many broken promises.”
Miriori adds: “The Annual Report accuses the ABG of expropriating BCL’s Panguna mine assets in breach of the Bougainville Copper Agreement Act 1967; the same Bougainville Mining Act that they were happy to take advantage of and use to prolong their involvement in Panguna.
“They also say the ABG has no legal powers in respect to mining on Bougainville and that the ABG has now illegally expropriated its mine. Could there be any greater show of disrespect for our ABG and Bougainville at large?”
The landowners have made their choice on the redevelopment of Panguna and are committed to working with the ABG to implement a successful new mine that will benefit all Bougainvilleans.