PANGUNA COPPER-GOLD DEPOSIT: BY DAVID MIRINGTORO OSIKORE BCL BOARD MEMBER

Bougainville Copper Limited, or BCL for short, is the best-placed company to rehabilitate, re-engineer, re-finance, re-resource, construct and to operate the giant Panguna copper-gold deposit on Bougainville going forward. BCL is well-placed to tap into global mining and investment networks.

BCL efficiently operated the world’s giant copper-gold mine from 1972 to 1989 when it was forced to shut down. It remains closed today. As it is, the Panguna deposit in real terms, has no real benefit to Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, landowners and wider shareholders. Panguna and the copper-gold rocks it hosts remains today just that … rocks in the ground.

To this day, BCL maintains an extensive corporate and technical data base, going as far back from exploration, advanced exploration stages, prefeasibility stage, feasibility, construction and operational stages.

The technical database is a uniquely powerful and invaluable resource. BCL’s technical team stands ready to reactivate this database on the agreement and legal permission of the Bougainville Government, Papua New Guinea Government and landowners within the current confines of the Bougainville Mining Act 2015.

No company in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, Australia or anywhere else have in their possession such as vast database as what BCL has for the Panguna deposit and mining including other related issues such as environmental, human resources as well as social and landowner matters.

BCL of course has historical “mining footprints” on Bougainville. Clearly, over the years of operations there were environmental negatives. These environmental negatives certainly must not be repeated on the new Panguna mine development; modern mining practices must be instituted to the world’s best standard of mining. This new Panguna mine development will also be based on BCL equity arrangement.

Rio Tinto in 2016 off-loaded it’s 53.7% stake in Panguna to Papua New Guinea and Bougainville. This decision has seen majority ownership transferred to the people of Bougainville and PNG.

Recent discussion and subsequent public announcements by the government of PNG is to transfer shares to the people of Bougainville.

In recent times several external companies have shown interest in the Panguna copper-gold deposit. These companies are not majority owned by Papua New Guinea, Bougainville, Panguna landowners or ordinary Papua New Guineas or Bougainvilleans in any form.

My advice to the Bougainville government, Panguna landowners, and all ordinary “mums and dads” on Bougainville, is to support BCL to develop Panguna. One day when BCL declares dividends, most of these dividends will remain in Bougainville. This would be the greatest form of economic independence for Bougainville alongside other strengths like copra, cocoa, tourism and fisheries.