29 May 2024

Bougainvillean group sues Rio Tinto over mine destruction

From , 6:00 am on 29 May 2024
Perth, Western Australia - February 3, 2017: Office building Rio Tinto, one of the biggest mining companies in the world, with regional headquarter in Perth, Western Australia

Photo: 123rf

A class action involving thousands of people is being brought against Rio Tinto and Bougainville Copper Ltd over the environmental and social destruction wrought by the Panguna Mine in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville.

The action is headed by Martin Miriori, who is the brother of Bougainville's first president Joseph Kabui, and was a former secretary of the separatists' government, the Bougainville Interim Government, during the civil war.

Panguna, which was the spark for the civil war, was forced to close in 1989, but the present autonomous government,  which now controls it, is working to have it re-opened.

Rio Tinto has acknowledged that a class action has been filed against it and Bougainville Copper in the National Court in PNG.

Mr Miriori told RNZ Pacific's Don Wiseman about the suit.