Sustainable Economies

Bougainville – copper or cocoa?

Jubilee Australia's Resource Centre

Bougainville is faced with a choice – to pursue a development path based on mining, or one that is broad-based and sustainable. As Bougainville plans for its long awaited independence referendum, the two questions of mining and independence have become increasingly fused in the public discourse: independence requires economic self-sufficiency and this is only possible through mining revenues. So the argument goes. Our research challenges this.

Customary land is incredibly important in Bougainville. It underpins a life that most rural Bougainvilleans are already enjoying – one that blends the non-cash contributions of the land-based traditional economy with cash earned from small-scale income generating activities such as in the cocoa sector. The cocoa sector is particularly important given that an estimated 29,000 smallholders grow cocoa. In fact, agriculture is easily the most important economic sector for Bougainville and most Pacific island countries. 

Communities around the Panguna mine are certainly not ready for a return to large-scale mining and the many negative impacts that had resulted in a brutal conflict that caused so much pain and destruction. 

We released a short movie on Bougainville in September 2018, called Bougainville: Long Han Blong Yumi (It's in our hands):


Our reports on Bougainville:

Growing Bougainville's Future 2018 Growing Bougainville's Future 2018 (14549 KB)
This report examines the choice facing the people of Bougainville and asks the question of ‘to mine or not to mine’?

Bougainville Mining Act - October 2015 Report Bougainville Mining Act - October 2015 Report (1470 KB)
This 2015 report outlines the serious deficiencies in the new Bougainville Mining Law and what the law might mean for the people of Bougainville.

Jubilee Australia (2014) 'Voices of Bougainville: Nikana Kangsi, Nikana Dong (Our Land, Our Future)' Jubilee Australia (2014) 'Voices of Bougainville: Nikana Kangsi, Nikana Dong (Our Land, Our Future)' (2950 KB)
This controversial 2014 report explores the views of the communities living around the Panguna mine, cite of our regions most bloody civil war, to their past, their present and their future.