Rio Tinto lets go of Bougainville Copper shares

8:12 pm on 30 June 2016

The multi-national miner Rio Tinto says it has transferred its 53.8 per cent shareholding in Bougainville Copper Limited to an independent trustee.

In a statement, Rio says Equity Trustees Limited will manage the distribution of these shares between the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.

Under the arrangement, the ABG has the opportunity to receive 68 per cent of Rio Tinto's shareholding, which equates to 36.4 per cent of Bougainville Copper Limited shares.

Bougainville's Panguna copper mine

Bougainville's Panguna copper mine Photo: Supplied

PNG is entitled to the remaining 32 per cent of Rio's shareholding, or 17.4 per cent of BCL's shares.

If the transferrals are completed, the ABG and PNG will both hold an equal share in BCL of 36.4 per cent.

Meanwhile, BCL chairman Peter Taylor has repoertedly resigned following Rio's share transfer.

BCL's closed Panguna mine was at the centre of the violence that tore Bougainville apart in the 1990s.

The ABG recently reiterated that it was keen for a resumption of mining, however some landowners and local stakeholders are opposed to re-opening until a range of grievances around the mine's prevous operations are fully addressed.

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