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PNG Prime Minister O'Neill clarifies Bougainville Paguna Mine issue

Staff Reporter | 10:47 PM | |
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill  says the Government’s priority to Bougainville is improving services for the people.
He was responding to Rio Tinto’s interest in the Bougainville Copper Limited shares raised in the media.
“The Government is committed to improving the delivery of basic services to the people of Bougainville as a priority,” O’Neill said.
He said these included the rebuilding of the main roads from Kokopau to Arawa, and to Buin, and the awarding of contracts.
“The restoration of the Aropa sirport, sealing of the Buka town road and Arawa roads are important ongoing investments,” he said.
“As I stated in Arawa and in Panguna, the Government is not interested in talking about anything else, including the opening of the Panguna mine,” he said.
“That decision is entirely up to landowners and the people of Bougainville.
“In all of our meetings with the ABG, these issues have been openly discussed between the leaders and my position has not changed.
“There have been some discussions between the ABG, the Government and Rio Tinto about the possible divestment of Rio Tinto’s interest in Bougainville.
“But again, this is a decision on which the landowners and the people of Bougainville will have to guide the Government on.
“We have no interest in owning the mine or reopening the mine. We will remain focused on delivering better education and healthcare, rebuilding infrastructure and improving the economic opportunities of people on Bougainville,” he said.  The National