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Friday, September 18, 2015

My valley is changing

 

The building of the giant open-cut copper mine on the island of Bougainville, of which I was part as senior auditor for the American construction company Bechtel Corporation from 1970 to 1973, brought profound change to local landowners.

Despite royalties, training programs and extensive development, landowner concerns eventually escalated into conflict, which resulted in the closure of the mine in 1989. These issues are already clearly evident in the film My Valley is Changing, made shortly after the mine opened in 1970.

My work on this project, the then largest construction job in the world, was a major milestone in my private and professional life which I celebrate in my Bougainville Copper Project website and blog.

Needless to say, I bought this 26-minute film which is available for $24.95 (plus postage) from the National Film & Sound Archive of Australia - watch this short excerpt:

In this clip, Gregory Kopa, a resident of Moroni village, explains that the local people were fearful of the consequences of a mine and how he told the CRA mining company and the government (Papua New Guinea was then under Australian Administration) about their opposition to the mine, which was to be located on land traditionally owned by his people. In response, Gregory was told that the resources found on his land belonged not just to his people, but to everyone in Papua New Guinea.

Should you wish to order a copy yourself, simply click here, change your pricing category to "Home DVD", then go to "How to Order", or click here for the ready-made order form.

And here's a video clip from the ABC Australia:

The more things change, the more they stay the same.