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2 February 2024

Bougainville Copper Limited (BOC) can today confirm that the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) has taken a decision to award a five-year extension of the Company’s EL01 exploration licence for the Panguna project in Central Bougainville.

At a ceremony in Buka this morning, to mark the granting of the extension, Bougainville President Ishmael Toroama said Panguna was a “high impact project for Bougainville” and that issuance of the licence would pave way for redevelopment. This will commence with advanced stage pre-feasibility and feasibility stage exploration activities over the coming years.

Panguna is one of the world’s largest known copper deposits and BCL Chairman Sir Melchior Togolo said the Company was excited at the prospect of leading the redevelopment work.

“This is a result of constructive collaboration, underpinned by mutual respect, with a common goal to make Bougainville economically strong, create opportunities for business development and for employment of our people,” he said.

“The ABG, Landowners and Bougainville Copper have been working on resolving differences since the refusal of EL01 extension in January 2018. Today marks the successful culmination of these joint efforts. Panguna promises to be a transformative investment for Bougainville that will support greater levels of economic self-reliance for the region,” Sir Melchior added.

The ELO1 extension clears the way for BCL to increase its activities in the Panguna project area in accordance with the Bougainville Mining Act 2015. “The Company has a well-established presence in Bougainville and has forged strong community relations. This provides a very solid foundation for increased activity as we work with mutual respect towards Panguna’s redevelopment,” Sir Melchior said.


DOWNLOAD – EL01 Renewal Statement

// BCL

BCL Today

Bougainville Copper’s main objective is to work cooperatively towards realising the vision of resuming active exploration and sustainable copper, gold and silver mining at Panguna, in central Bougainville, after mining ceased in 1989.

The people of PNG and Bougainville have a significant stake in Bougainville Copper, with the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) holding a 36.4 per cent share in the company, as does the Independent State of Papua New Guinea. This followed the departure of Rio Tinto in mid-2016.

Bougainville Copper has a strong local board and management team that knows Bougainville extremely well. The board is led by chairman Sir Melchior Togolo, a prominent Bougainvillean, with extensive experience in the minerals sector.

// About

About Bougainville

The Autonomous Bougainville Region consists of 168 islands with the most populated being the large island of Bougainville and the smaller island of Buka to its north, separated by the narrow Buka Passage.
Bougainville displays great cultural diversity in a relatively small region. Although the cultures share some commonalities, there is a range of traditional beliefs, customs and languages.
Bougainville has a long human history with the first inhabitants arriving around 29,000 years ago. In 1643, the inhabitants of Takuu and Nissan atolls had the first recorded contact with Europeans from an expedition led by Dutch explorer Abel Tasman.
The political structure of Bougainville as an autonomous region within Papua New Guinea reflects the important need, following the civil war, for parliamentary representation of different interest groups.