Photo: Panguna Mine - Credit: Ilya Gridneff/AAP
The Department of Mineral and Energy Resources (DoMER) has set its strategic objectives for the next five years, according to Secretary Mr. Peter Kolotein.
These are being captured in the Bougainville Integrated Strategic Development Plan (BISDP) 2023-2027 and the DOMER Strategic Plan 2023-2027 to be launched this year.
Mr Kolotein said in 2022, the Department reviewed existing strategic directions around the departments three core functions which are; mineral resources development, energy resources development, and geohazards management.
The revised strategic directions include:
- Mineral and energy sector contribution to the Toroama-Nisira Governments Six-Point Strategy and vision for Economic Growth and Control.
- To provide sustainable development policy and regulatory frameworks with best practice social, environmental, technical and safety expectations.
- Building organizational and strategic capacity to acceptable standards.
- Promote good governance, accountability and transparency in administration of the sector.
- Strong popular support for the development of the mineral and energy sector.
- Ensure government and the resource owners effectively participate and benefit from the development of the mineral and energy resources.
- High quality, up to date geological information available at the department
- Establishment of geohazards management functions.
Mr Kolotein said the Department has redirected its focus towards delivering on the Toroama-Nisira government’s economic growth priorities.
“The strategies also show commitment to reviewing and developing our laws consistent with international best practice in the sector and there is commitment to enhancing the organizational capability of DOMER,” Secretary Kolotein said.
“The new strategies further provide the basis to improve on good governance, accountability and transparency and acknowledge the importance of local stakeholders and local content and revenue management considerations in fully realizing resource-sector derived social and economic development in Bougainville.”
“In 2019 we all voted 98% in favor of Independence, the economy needs to support this and a high impact economic development project is the required catalyst. Bougainville is blessed with natural resources including minerals, energy, agriculture, fisheries, to name a few. Each of the responsible ABG departments have been tasked with looking at their respective sectors for economic development opportunities to tap into for Bougainville’s benefit,” Kolotein added.
He said for the minerals sector, the most viable development potential lies in Panguna mine redevelopment. 2021 and 2022 have seen some positive progress on Panguna mine dialogue between the ABG and landowners. In 2023 there will be ongoing dialogue with landowners and other key stakeholders towards realizing this mineral sector development opportunity.
On small-scale mining, Mr Kolotein says the strategies are to enhance the economic benefits for those involved in the sector and to reduce the negative social and environmental impacts of small-scale mining.
He says ideally, it would be good to not have this activity in Bougainville at all, but the reality is that our people in those communities are involved in this activity, some depend on it even, so it an issue that needs to be addressed. The ABG is also pursuing strategies to ensure government is able to realize revenue from small-scale mining gold that leaves Bougainville.
Speaking on good governance, Secretary Kolotein appealed to mineral sector decision makers and stakeholders to respect the laws of Bougainville, especially Bougainville’s mining laws.
“Our laws set the standard and draw the line between what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in Bougainville. Investors who are not able to meet standards set by law will not be entertained.”
“I appeal to landowners and key local stakeholders to work with the Department to ensure Bougainville is established as a place with high standards so we can also attract credible investors and credible development,” he urged.