There's been a further breakthrough over a human rights complaint brought by 156 residents in Bougainville calling on multi-national Rio Tinto to repair the damage caused by its Panguna mine.
The Bougainvilleans, aided by the Australian Human Rights Law Centre, in September made a complaint, alleging human rights and environmental violations against Rio Tinto.
The complaint was filed with an agency within the Australian Department of Treasury, which has accepted it for investigation.
The legal director of the Human Rights Law Centre, Keren Adams, said the residents want Rio Tinto to fund an environmental and human rights impact assessment to identify the most urgent health and safety concerns, "And to come up with solutions for addressing those, and for addressing a clean up at the site. And then secondly that Rio Tinto makes a substantial contribution to an independent fund to ensure that that clean up and that those problems can be addressed."
In September Rio Tinto agreed to discuss the complaint.
An estimated 12-14,000 Bougainvilleans live downstream of the mine along the Jaba-Kawerong river valley in central Bougainville.
The complaint, filed with the Australian OECD National Contact Point in the Department of Treasury, alleges that Rio Tinto's failure to clean up the billion tonnes of waste pollution left by the mine and mitigate the risks it poses to these communities breaches human rights and environmental standards set out in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, a leading international standard on responsible business conduct.
Bougainville is about to begin independence discussions with Papua New Guinea after the resounding result of a referendum this time last year.