The Bougainville conflict: A classic outcome of the resource-curse effect?
(Michael Cornish, October 07, 2010, University for Peace, Peace & Conflict Monitor)
Pre-existing ethnic and economic divisions between Bougainville and the rest of Papua New Guinea and the mismanagement of the copper wealth of the Panguna Mine exacerbated existing tensions and provided radical Bougainvilleans an excuse to legitimise the pursuit of violence as a means to resolve their grievances.
This article examines the causes of the Bougainville conflict in Papua New Guinea from 1988 -1997, specifically investigating the role of the resource curse (as propounded by Collier) and briefly discusses implications for democracy and future development on the island.
The article finds that not one single factor should be isolated as a sole cause of the conflict but that there is a series of predominant causes which can trace their roots directly to the Panguna Mine. Pan-Bougainvillean ethnicity should not be discounted as an important factor but should be seen as an external projection of economic and inter-ethnic grievances.