Posted By Staff Reporter
Former Papua New Guinea leader Julius Chan has applauded Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for giving landowners and local governments a bigger stake in mines in Bougainville and Western Province.
The Panguna mine on Bougainville island is one of the South Pacific’s largest for copper and gold but has been shut since 1989.
Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto had a 53.8 per cent stake in Bougainville Copper Limited, which controls Panguna, but last month said it would give its share to the PNG government and Bougainville’s autonomous administration, leaving both parties with a 36.4 per cent stake.
It was the first time Bougainville’s autonomous administration had owned a stake in Panguna.
Mr O’Neill told parliament on Wednesday his government — which already has a 19 per cent share of BCL — would transfer the 17.4 per cent stake from Rio to Bougainville to “help to alleviate some of the legacy issues of the past”.
Mr ONeill also announced that 33 per cent of the Ok Tedi mine — originally developed by BHP Billiton, which ceded its control to a trust that his government controversially nationalised — would be given “to the people of Western Province”.
Sir Julius said Mr O’Neill’s announcement “has taken a long time, but nevertheless, I welcome it”.
Papua New Guinea daily News updates
Let Your Voice be heard: Submit your news articles, commentaries, letters , Photos, Media Releases etc to us on this email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subscribe for News Alerts
Get Breaking News Headlines through Email: Subscribe Now