19 Aug 2016

Confusion over latest gifting of Bougainville mining shares

From , 5:02 am on 19 August 2016

At the end of June multi national miner, Rio Tinto, sparked anger in Bougainville by ending links with the province and giving its shares in Bougainville Copper Ltd away.

Rio Tinto had divested its shares to both the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the Papua New Guinea Government, although Bougainville had wanted them all.

Bougainville President John Momis has promised to take legal action against Rio Tinto for its move, and for its failure to do anything about the destructive legacy of the Panguna mine which was at the heart of the ten year long civil war.

Now the PNG Government has given the shares it got to Bougainville.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill told parliament on Wednesday the divestment of the Rio shares to the landowners and the people of Bougainville will ensure the province has majority control of BCL, something Mr Momis's government has been pushing for.

Mr Momis told Don Wiseman he is grateful but his government is unclear as to just who in Bougainville will get the shares.