12 Jul 2016

Calls for sanctions on Rio Tinto in Bougainville

2:56 pm on 12 July 2016

The President of Bougainville, John Momis, wants the International Council on Mining and Minerals to sanction Rio Tinto.

This comes after the multi national miner gave away its shares in Bougainville Copper Ltd in equal amounts to the Papua New Guinea and Bougainville governments.

The move means Bougainville has not got the majority shareholding in the company it had been demanding ahead of a possible resumption of mining in the autonomous PNG region.

Rio Tinto also told Bougainville it now has no ongoing obligations over environmental and social issues blamed on the mine.

President of the autonomous Bougainville government, John Momis.

President of the autonomous Bougainville government, John Momis. Photo: RNZI

Mr Momis said he is angry Rio Tinto appears to have discussed its exit with the PNG government but did not speak with him ahead of its divestiture.

He said Rio Tinto claims to adhere to the principles of the International Council on Mining and Minerals, including its Sustainable Development Freamework which includes requirements for members to rehabilitate land where mining has taken place and to build effective and constructive relationships with indigenous peoples.

Mr Momis points out the Council website said it carries out annual assessments of its members' performances and he is calling on the Council to investigate Rio Tinto and take action over its failures.