Following discovery of the Bougainville copper deposit in Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 1964, Espie was appointed to manage the design, construction, financing and operation of the world’s largest copper mine. Panguna was an experiment that would one day become the 'biggest jewel in the RTZ crown,' but also its greatest curse. More noble intents led the Catholics, in 1902, to Bougainville but the advent of the Missionaries of the Catholic Society of Mary, or Marists as they were commonly known, had their own impact on Bougainvilleans' traditional ways. The administration was forced to negotiate with the villagers over the price of the land at least. The complex thread of custom which had governed the lives of the Bougainvilleans for millennia did not really begin to unravel until the arrival of the radically different Europeans at the end of the eighteenth century, although there is evidence of a Polynesian integration into Bougainville's Melanesian populace 33,000 or so years earlier. As the 1990s progressed, anarchy bred anarchy and conflict spread throughout the island's communities and language groups. They are destroying people's property, shooting cars, destroying their food gardens. As the violence spread, in Port Moresby and Canberra the race was on to vilify Ona, first as a disgruntled former employee, then as a 'hysterical extremist' and finally as 'mad' or even dead. They were part of the Australian-administered territories of Papua and New Guinea until 1975. The interim government, announced by Ona, included the former Premier Joseph Kabui as Minister of Justice and Sam Kauona as Minister for Defence. A year later, when land at Arawa was being purchased for the site of the mining town, the women whose land it was lay down in front of bulldozers and grappled with police in riot gear. It chose the latter. Jerry Singirok, with the job of commander dangling before his eyes, had assured Chan, privately, that he could do what no commander before him had managed – subdue the BRA and take control of Bougainville once again. In the end, there was no final burst of gunfire, no mad rush of expatriates to the airport but through a mixture of deception and disobedience, Bougainville, in the first half of 1990, slipped from Port Moresby's control. The same year, Teori Tau, a Nasioi from Pakia village, challenged the colonial administration's right to compulsorily acquire their land before Australia's High Court. What Ona is fighting for is that everybody, right down to the last born, should get compensation because our traditions have been broken and we will not be able to pass anything down to them.' This Accord examines the creative initiatives that helped to end the violence, and describes an indigenous peace process that drew on the strengths of Melanesian traditions. The views of the authors do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the editorial board. Technology was changing; an open-cut mine of the scale which was being planned for Bougainville had never been tried before. The introduction of Australian and New Guinean workers caused resentment and the exploitation of the mine became increasingly intertwined with issues of indigenous identity. More were to follow. Life before Christianity had been harsh. 'We are generally peace-loving, law-abiding people. The Bougainville Copper Project in the then Territory of Papua New Guinea ran from 1966 to 1973 and cost some US$350 million. Bougainville Explained: How the world’s newest country might bloom out of protests against a copper mine The conflict in Bougainville and the desire of Bougainvillean people for independence is rooted in the historic plunder of the resource-rich island that has large deposits of copper and the unequal distribution of wealth that followed. Former employee of the company Bougainville Copper Limited and Bougainville native, Francis Ona, came to lead the resistance against the Panguna mine, and in turn the resistance for independence from Papua New Guinea. It had promised much but delivered very little for the local people. In a decision of the full court it was ruled that section 122 of the Australian constitution empowered the Commonwealth Government to make such laws without having to provide 'just terms of acquisition'. English. Facing a Vietnam-like situation, the PNGDF not only failed in their stated task, but they demonstrated an alarming lack of discipline, training, planning and leadership. BCL, 56 per cent owned by the Australian subsidiary Conzinc Rio Tinto, Australia (CRA) itself a subsidiary of the multinational mining company, RTZ and 20 per cent by the Papua New Guinea Government, reacted with disbelief. The giant copper mine struck at the heart of this matriarchal structure. The dispute was essentially a land owners' revolt over getting none of the massive profits generated by the mine. It had been a long time coming. At one point the vast Panguna mine accounted for more than 40 percent of Papua New Guinea's exports, but it has been shuttered since 1989. According to various sources, the war had a total death toll of between 15 to 25 thousand people. They railed against the national government. Louis De Bougainville never actually set foot on the island that would eventually bear his moniker. At present we have been blamed for the lawlessness in the province. In December 2019, a referendum was held as promised. A new report by the Human Rights Law Centre in Australia details the continuing devastation wrought by a copper and gold mine that closed more than 30 years ago in the Papua New Guinean territory of Bougainville. Credit: Ben Bohane try to quell the rebellion water border with Solomon Islands an state... 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