A return to mining on Bougainville has moved a step closer with the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) granting mining exploration licenses under its own Bougainville Mining Act to allow exploration to proceed in Tinputs area of the North Region.

Vice President and Minister for Mining Hon Raymond Masono thanked the people of Tinputs.

“I want to thank the people of Tinputs, Taonita- Tore, for your initiative in offering your land for mining exploration as well as your initiative to partner with those who have the capital and technology.”

The exploration would confirm whether or not there is gold in the Blue mountains of Tinputs and whether mining would proceed or not, said Masono.

“With the granting of exploration license we will be in a better position to assess the type and quality of minerals in those Blue mountains.”

Masono said that “The Bougainville Mining Act implements section 23 of the Bougainville constitution, recognising the rights of the landowners of minerals on their land and under the sea.”

“Bougainvilleans have seen how their resources were exploited in the past to benefit a few at the expense of the majority,” he said.

Masono added: “We want to shift the paradigm so that the government and people can derive optimal benefits from the resources.”

The mining exploration is a symbolic milestone achievement that was made possible under the mandated Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and legalized by its own Bougainville constitution.

“It’s been ten years since the beginning of the draw down process. Six years after the first mining workshop in 2011, two years after the mining act in 2015 and twelve months after the Bougainville House of Representatives lifted the moratorium on mining exploration.”

“We can truly say that mining industry in Bougainville is open for Business,” said Masono.

The President Dr John Momis officially handed over the exploration licenses (ELO3 & ELO4) to the Joint Venture Company Kalia Investment Limited & Toremana Resources Limited.

Landowners representatives, company executives and ABG ministers witnessed the hand over ceremony at the Tinputs Station Oval.