Letter from a BRA General.

Monday 13th December, 2010

BRA’s stand on mine reopening

Following all the media coverage in the recent weeks and the recent meeting by the so called landowners of Panguna Mine with the President for Bougainville, I would like to highlight certain issues that need to be taken into consideration before continuing discussions and plans to reopening of the Panguna Mine.
To set the record straight, the so called Panguna Landowners “Did not close the mine”. Let it be known that it was the Bougainville Revolutionary Army that closed the mine because of environmental damage and for the interest of everyone on the Island. The BRA consists of fighters from the North, Central and South Bougainville. So everyone have to be considered and accommodated in any discussions in regard to the reopening of the mine.
A lot of BRA soldiers died during the conflict, fighting to protect the environment that was destroyed by the mining giant, fighting for the Land and lastly for total independence for Bougainville. For the so called Panguna land owners to try to reopen the mine without considering and accommodating those who have given their lives and died for the closure of the mine would be an inconsiderate and greedy move.
When the mine was shut down, there was a claim to the BCL by the late Francis Ona on behalf of the landowners and Bougainville, the amount was K10 billion. Let it be known to all parties interested in the reopening of the mine that we have not forgotten and we still stand firm with this claim.
The move to reopen the mine is welcomed but is a sensitive issue. We don’t want to go down the same road we came out from. We fought against environmental damage, land rights and independence for Bougainville, therefore any discussions to reopen the mine must have a fair representation. I call on the National Government not to raise false hopes without gauging the views of all parties involved.
Ishmael Totoama
BRA general

For more on Bougainville see here and here.

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