THE BCL TEAM SUPPORTS ARAWA EVENTS
The BCL community engagement team has just spent four productive days at Arawa, in Central Bougainville, meeting with local stakeholders and supporting two major sporting and industry events.
The visit between 5-8 September coincided with the National Boxing Championships – of which BCL was a notable sponsor – and the 2017 Bougainville Chocolate Festival which showcased the island’s cocoa industry.
The BCL team was led by Executive Manager for Bougainville Justin Rogers and Buka-based Bougainville Manager Ephraim Eminoni both of whom are well-known in Bougainville. They were joined by recently appointed senior project officers; Ezekiel Burain and Genevieve Itta.
Mr Rogers, along with other invited guests, had the privilege of addressing a combined opening ceremony for both the boxing tournament and chocolate festival.
“It was a chance for us to acknowledge the important parts played by the cocoa industry and the sport of boxing in terms of fostering economic development in Bougainville and the development of people more broadly,” he said.
“Boxing for example provides opportunities for Bougainvilleans to not only train and compete at the local level, but to shine on the world stage, with no better example than young champion Thaddeus Katoa.”
Mr Rogers said Bougainville’s cocoa industry looked to have a very bright future and had earned international recognition for the quality of its produce.
He highlighted the achievements of Bougainvillean cocoa farmers Martin and Kathleen Linnix, whose award-winning cocoa beans are key ingredients in Jasper + Myrtle Nunu Black Opal 80% Dark Chocolate, which won a gold medal at the recent 2017 Academy of Chocolate Awards in London.
BCL considers the development of primary industries and other areas of potential, such as tourism, as critical to Bougainville’s future economic success, of which employment is fundamental.
“In terms of our efforts as a company in mineral resources, we are certainly looking to complement other sectors and provide impetus for them to prosper and grow,” Mr Rogers said.
As well as attending the boxing tournament and chocolate festival, the engagement team met with a variety of important local stakeholders, as BCL works to implement its staged redevelopment plan for a new Panguna mining project and further build community support.
Meetings were held with landowner association leaders from the project area, representatives from Panguna New Generation Leaders, women representatives from Ioro 2 and Pakia Village, Upper Tailings and Port Mine Access Road (PMAR) leadership, as well as officials from the Arawa Football Association.
Mr Rogers said the local stakeholders welcomed the opportunity to meet with the members of the BCL team.
“We are actively building positive relationships and will continue to increase our presence in Central Bougainville over the coming months as we expand our community engagement activities,” he said.
Media contact: Cameron Hill on +61 400 940 968