Landowners satisfied with plan to re-open Bougainville copper mine

copper mine

Bougainville Copper Limited’s (BCL) proposal to the Autonomous Bougainville Government (AGB) on re-opening Panguna copper mine has brought satisfaction to landowners.

The details of the BCL forward plans for Panguna were made at a presentation by the company recently.

The chairman of the Port Mine Access Road, Mr Peter Miriona, said the proposal was satisfactory because ABG had its own mining laws in place guaranteeing full participation by the people and the flow of benefits, unlike the past plans which he said favoured only a few people.

The company proposed that from 2020 it would inject $US350 million dollars into the ABG’s coffers.

And it said $US25 million would be available for distribution among the nine landowner associations closely connected with the mine.

Bruno Babato of the Panguna Mine Negotiations Office clarified that there were six original associations before the Bougainville conflict and four of the associations have received a total of over K5 million as initial payment of outstanding royalty from 1989 to 1990.

Babato said two other associations will get their payments once compiling of data is completed when officers from the office will be travelling there next week.

He said 70 per cent of the landowners listed have passed away so what they have to do now is identify the eligible next of kin for the two associations.

The three remaining associations were established after the crisis.

BCL operated the Panguna copper mine for 18 years as a subsidiary company of Rio Tinto until it was shut down by the Bougainville crisis from 1988 to 1999.

The company now is under a new regime after Rio Tinto off-loaded its majority of 53 per cent shares, of which a majority of 36 per cent belongs to Bougainvilleans, to the ABG.

The National Government owns 19 per cent, Panguna landowners 17 per

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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