Momis confident of winning over PNG Govt

6:16 am on 18 July 2016

Bougainville's President John Momis is still confident he can win over the Papua New Guinea Government after a walk out by mining giant Rio Tinto.

Two weeks ago Rio Tinto split its majority stake in Bougainville Copper Ltd between both governments.

This means they each have 36.4 percent of BCL, despite Bougainville's expectation of a majority stake.

Mr Momis has written to Rio Tinto and complained to the International Council of Mining and Minerals.

He has also called a special week long session of the ABG to sit from Tuesday to discuss the matter.

Mr Momis said the best way to get the closed Panguna re-opened is for Bougainville to get majority shareholding.

"Even if Rio Tinto walks away the Bougainville Copper could go ahead with the Bel Kol (custom reconciliation) and we can have the mine re-open."

"Outside of that they would [have a] lose/lose situation where the national government and BCL might have the majority shareholding but they will not have the right to operate in Bougainville," he said.

Under the Bougainville Mining Act, if 25 per cent or more of shares in a company holding an exploration licence are transferred, the Bougainville Government has to start action to terminate the lease.

The transfer by Rio to the Trust means that the termination process must now begin.

President of the autonomous Bougainville government, John Momis.

President of the autonomous Bougainville government, John Momis. Photo: RNZI