30 Aug 2016

Bougainville Copper Ltd has "minimal value"

1:33 pm on 30 August 2016

The Bougainville Government says, as it stands, the once powerful mining company Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL), now has just minimal value.

The company had operated the now closed Panguna mine, but in June its former majority owner Rio Tinto pulled out and gave its shares away.

Bougainville's Panguna copper mine

Bougainville's Panguna copper mine Photo: Supplied

But the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) now has a 36 percent stake in the company and wants the Papua New Guinea government to give it the shares now gifted to the landowners on Bougainville.

The ABG wants majority control and said without this, the company could be denied an exploration licence, which would end its chances of future involvement in Bougainville.

The government said the only way the BCL shares will ever have significant value is if three condition are met including that a new and technically qualified developer agrees to participate; that that developer has the billions needed to prepare the mine for re-opening; and that the mine operates profitably.

It said the real value for landowners will come from the guarantees in the Bougainville Mining Act for mine lease landowners for free equity, royalties and preference in employment and business opportunities.

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