Rio offer appreciated by Bougainville Panguna damage campaigner

8:20 am on 1 October 2020

Landowners around the Panguna mine in Papua New Guinea's autonomous region of Bougainville are pleased with a change of heart by mining giant Rio Tinto.

New MP Theonila Roka Matbob said the destructive effects of the Panguna mine in central Bougainville were still being felt, more than 30 years after it shut down.

Theonila Roka Matbob

Theonila Roka Matbob Photo: Human Rights Law Centre

She and 155 others, with the help of the Australian Human Rights Law Centre, have placed a human rights complaint with the Australian Government.

Rio Tinto was the Panguna mine's majority owner for years leading up to the civil war, which was sparked by the damage it caused.

The company previously rejected any responsibility, but now said it was willing to meet with stakeholders and discuss the issues.

Matbob said she appreciated the offer.

"Which Rio has given by acknowledging the complaint that there is a possibility, and I am very much looking forward to that. So that at least we would hear what Rio would say about the complaint. We could also have the opportunity to present the grievances of the people to the rightful person," she said