Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Bougainville Copper Development

Download PDFDownload PDF






n wry





(Statement by the Minister for External Territories, the Hon. O.E. Barnes, M,P. )

The Minister for external Territories, Mx. Barnes said today that work had begun on part of the native owned land needed for the port site for the mammoth Bougainville copper project.

The land in question which belongs to the Rorovana people was selected for leasing because it would cause the least disturbance to the minimum number of native people.

Stories of hardships or total dispossession concerning some 500 native people involved were not correct. In the port site area, none would lose their homes, no villages or houses would be moved, and the people have other land resources. If necessary the Administration would make additional land available to individual families.

Mr. Barnes said that land was absolutely essential if the copper project was to develop at all. Accordingly, he had approved the issue of the lease to the company in

spite of the refusal of the land owners to negotiate.

Mr. Barnes said that he was sympathetic to traditional native attitudes to land. It was an unhappy situation where some native people ha.d to be asked to surrender any part of their land. Such situations, however, had to be faced in every

country in the -public interest. It was inconceivable that the attitude of a small number of people could be allowed to block a project which would bring vast benefits to the whole of the Territory. These benefits would included

Jobs for 2,500 New Guineans wi-chin the next five years;

. a township of 10,000 people;

. a $2M training programme for indigenous people by 1973;

• revenue of between $200M and $300M in the first 10 years of operation; and

export income in excess of $100M per annum.

Q.T. 5308/67

i,^ rAIT?

r q

_2_ 1 ,'.UCH

Mr. Barnes said that in addition, the Administration,

on behalf of the people of the Territory, has the option of a 2O equity interest in he project and C.R.A. had indicated that it may also provide opportunities for individual equity participation by the people of Bougainville.

Mr. Barnes said that the Administration had taken g'efuine and patient measures to consult the people of Bougainville about the project over a long period:

• Since July 1966, the Administration ha.d sent 43 patrols into the area mainly to explain to the people of Bougainville the nature of the project and how it would affect them.

• Hundreds of man-days were spent in visits by individual

Administration officers to the villages for this same purpose.

. Senior Administration officers had made repeated visits.

• The Administrator personally visited the people aerlier , in

the year in order to talk with t^aem. directly as : well as

over Administration radio. • A special mission led by an Assistant Administrator last week visited the area in a final effort to reason with the people in their own villages. This party included the local

House of Assembly Members for Bougainville and Ministerial Members of the House of Assembly.

At its last meeting in June the House of Assembly was fully acquainted with all aspects of the project and endorsed it as being "a major and essential development in the economic future of the Territory".

The Administrator's Executive Council on which there is

a majority of elected members of the House of Assembly unanimously endorsed the Administration' a handling of the situation and the decision to occupy the Rorovana land without the consent of the owners if the people refused to sell or lease.

Mr. Barnes said all the people whose land was required for the project would be adequately compensated. The Administration had offered a generous price for the land plus compensation for economic crops and trees.

The Territory Administration, Mr. Barnes concluded, had made every effort to resolve the situation. It had been patient and sympathetic in its approach and as the elected members of the Administrator's Executive Council had recognised, the action now being taken was necessary in the interests of the Territory.



1 August, 1969.