BCL re-states commitment to get Bougainville's Panguna running

3:37 pm on 19 June 2020

At its annual general meeting last week, Bougainville Copper Ltd chairman, Mel Togolo, told shareholders the company remains committed to re-opening the Panguna mine.

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Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

BCL is at loggerheads with its majority owner, the government of Bougainville, over the issue.

A re-opening of Panguna is a vexed question for Bougainvilleans, given its central role in the civil war, with people both for and against it.

The outgoing Bougainville government had been pushing new mining legislation that BCL, and others, had been highly critical of it.

Mr Togolo said this legislation would effectively monopolise Bougainville's mineral resources.

BCL also told the meeting that it expected to return to court in Papua New Guinea later this year in an endeavour to regain its exploration licence, after it was denied an extension.

Mr Togolo also said that BCL had maintained constructive links with customary landowners from the projected area, though a rival company for any Panguna re-opening said it in fact retained the backing of the key landowner groups.