7 Sep 2022

Damage continues to be caused by shutdown mine says Bougainville MP

9:23 am on 7 September 2022

A Cabinet Minister in the Papua New Guinea autonomous region of Bougainville says damage continues to be caused by long shut down Panguna mine.

Education Minister and Ioro MP Theonila Roka Matbob led a campaign that successfully filed a human rights complaint against multi-national Rio Tinto over the damage its Panguna mine had caused.

Theonila Roka Matbob

Education Minister and Ioro MP Theonila Roka Matbob Photo: HRLC

Rio Tinto has committed to pay for an independent assessment of the damage and that work has begun.

An on-site assessment is now being conducted by experts, Tetra Tech Coffey, which had earlier done a desktop survey using satellite images.

A lake in the pit of the long defunct Panguna mine in Bougainville Photo:

Matbob said this confirmed what the community has long said about the ongoing environmental damage.

"The activities of what Rio Tinto left behind is still very much the everyday impact to the people.

So the waste, everything, it is still very destructive, and there are high levels of chemicals that are still present, which the desktop review has verified," she said.

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