MEDIA RELEASE – 16.12.2019

Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) said it was both regrettable and disappointing to see members of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (SMLOLA) issuing misleading and provocative statements following Bougainville’s peaceful and successfully conducted referendum.

BCL would again repeat its calls for the SMLOLA to desist from purporting to speak on behalf of all Panguna landowners as part of its ongoing campaign to undermine Bougainville Copper. Under the Bougainville Mining Act 2015 the SMLOLA is afforded no status in representing landowners nor does the association own mineral rights.

As members of the SMLOLA well know, BCL retains strong levels of support among customary landowners and has a local team on the ground that continues to constructively engage with the community. The company also retains exploration rights which remain subject to a judicial review – a process that should be respected.

BCL today is a predominantly local-owned company and decisions about the future will be made by our management, board and shareholders, and certainly not individual members of SMLOLA.

It is also important to note that the Panguna development proposal that has been championed by the SMLOLA was categorically rejected by the ABG earlier this year; something the association conveniently neglects to mention in its latest statement.