20 Aug 2014

Bougainville Copper shareholders cry foul

3:19 pm on 20 August 2014

A group of minority shareholders in Bougainville Copper Ltd are crying foul over Bougainville's new mining law and say they want billions of dollars in compensation.

Under the new law, the autonomous Papua New Guinea province has stripped Bougainville Copper or BCL of its exploration and mining licenses but has given it first right of refusal when negotiations over new licenses get underway.

The president of a group of BCL's European shareholders Axel Sturm says it is an unfriendly gesture after 25 years of investment in Bougainville.

"I consider this more or less as an attempted blackmail for getting more money from the company. We already invested a lot of money on the island, a lot of that money was lost because unlawful people destroyed our equipment with the value today of around 6 billion US dollars."

Mr Sturm says the European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper are urging the major shareholder Rio Tinto to take further legal action against not only the Papua New Guinea government and the province but local landowners and former leaders of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army.