21 Jul 2016

Bougainville wants international pressure on Rio Tinto

5:18 pm on 21 July 2016

A special meeting of the parliament on Bougainville has strongly condemned the way Rio Tinto walked away from its obligations to the province.

The multi-national mining company, which had had the controlling interest in Bougainville Copper Ltd, split its shares between Bougainville and the Papua New Guinea governments.

It also said it was no longer obliged to fix the environmental and other issues resulting from the shut down Panguna mine.

But Bougainville President John Momis said the region needed to unite to demand that all of the Rio Tinto shareholding be given to Bougainville.

And he wants an international campaign to pressure Rio Tinto to accept its responsibility for the mine legacy issues.

Mr Momis said Bougainville must also try and persuade the PNG Government to accept its responsibilities for those same legacy issues.

The Bougainville Mining Minister Robin Wilson is calling for the establishment of a Task Force to lead a campaign to look into possible legal action against Rio Tinto or have the company censured by international bodies.

He also wants the churches and landowners involved in a broad campaign to pressure Rio Tinto.

Panguna mine.

Panguna mine. Photo: Wellington Chocolate Factory