Mining giant Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO)
and Bougainville community members have reached an agreement to identify and assess legacy impacts of the former Panguna copper mine in Bougainville. This follows several months of constructive discussions facilitated by the Australian OECD National Contact Point (AusNCP).
A joint committee of stakeholders will be formed to oversee a detailed independent assessment of the Panguna mine to identify and better understand actual and potential environmental and human rights impacts of the mine which ceased operating in 1989.
The Panguna mine legacy impact assessment committee will be established by the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the parties to the AusNCP process, Rio Tinto, the HRLC and the community members the HRLC represents. It will be chaired by an independent facilitator with representatives invited to join the committee from Papua New Guinea, ASX-listed Bougainville Copper, as well as other land owners and community representatives.
Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm said: “This is an important first step towards engaging with those impacted by the legacy of the Panguna mine. Operations at Panguna ceased in 1989 and we’ve not had access to the mine since that time. Stakeholders have raised concerns about impacts to water, land and health and this process will provide all parties with a clearer understanding of these important matters, so that together we can consider the right way forward."
Shares in Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO)
are trading 1.3 per cent higher at $126.04.