Bouganville condemns killing of geophysical consultant


The Autonomous Bougainville Government vice-president and minister for mining, Raymond Masono, has condemned the fatal shooting of a Thailand geophysical consultant in the strongest possible terms.

Masono has vowed to commit the full resources of the Bougainville Police Service to apprehend the perpetrators and making sure they face the full force of the law. About 9am last Thursday, the Thai technician conducting exploration fieldwork on behalf of San Roque Metals Incorporations (SRMI) Bougainville Ltd, was shot dead by armed individuals within the Siurai area in South Bougainville.

This area is under an exploration tenement held by the Philippines based SRMI Bougainville Ltd issued by the Bougainville government.
“This type of brutal act towards foreign individuals who are invited into Bougainville under government sanctioned activities paints a really bad picture of Bougainville to the outside communities, especially when we have to present a strong case to support our push for political independence,”  Masono said.

“Moreover, it undermines investor confidence in our resource sector. In light of this incident which unfortunately happened just a few months after a similar incident in another exploration tenement in Melelup, the ABG will be reviewing all its activities and approaches, particularly with regard to how land access issues are addressed and the risks are assessed.

“I appeal to all relevant stakeholders, community government leaders, chiefs, veterans and youths within the area to cooperate and work with the Bougainville police service so that that the suspects are swiftly rounded up and dealt with.

“The Bougainville Mining Act 2015 provides multiple avenues for interest groups to air their grievances and complaints if they are unhappy with how things are progressing during exploration stages.

It’s unfortunate that some people in our communities fail to see the importance of working within such systems and resort to extreme measures resulting in loss of lives. These types of people do not deserve to be a part of the new Bougainville we are building. “I offer my sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the technician, Chanon Lumpoo, who travelled thousands of kilometres to our shores to lend his expertise and met this fate at the hands of cowards.
“The ABG will commit all its resources into ensuring that the perpetrators are apprehended and justice is served,” he said.