Bougainville’s new mining policy results in MOUs
Papua New Guinea’s province of Bougainville, which is administered by an autonomous government, has recently introduced a draft mining policy to facilitate exploration of mineral resources on its islands.<!--more-->
While the policy moots licences to be granted to landowner companies, stock market listed mining company Morumbi has already signed an MOU with landowners in two areas of the autonomous province. Several other proposals for exploration around the province are also waiting in the wings.
Thirty-nine members of the House of Representatives in capital Buka unanimously passed the motion mooting the draft policy, enabling the MOU to be pursued last month.
The draft mining policy reaffirms that the ownership of minerals and oil and gas resources reside with the landowners, and that mineral exploration licenses on Bougainville will be registered only to landowner companies and their qualified partners. The motion called for the government to act in 2012 to review and finalise the draft and present it to the House for its final passage.
Two of Morumbi’s subsidiaries, Eruupia Mining & Development and Karato Mining & Development have entered into MOUs with local landowner companies. The former is geographically close to the historically famous Panguna mining project and covers an area of approximately 8000 hectares. Karato’s site is larger covering some 14,000 hectares. The boundaries are still to be established and sophisticated GPS technology is being used to determine these.
As well as compensating the landowning firms on mutually agreed terms, Morumbi is committed to carry out social development programmes around the areas of operation.