The year 2020 was a tumultuous one globally as the world navigated its way through the Coronavirus pandemic which affected our everyday lives and disrupted many business activities as countries including PNG grappled with its highly contagious and unforgiving nature.

Bougainville Copper like everyone else faced major hurdles such as the travel restrictions, lockdowns and curfews which formed part of PNG and Bougainville’s response to combat the virus. Through our dedicated local teams on the ground, we were able to continue operating, albeit in a much limited capacity, to deliver on projects and support community initiatives where possible.

We were for example pleased to be able to finalise the Baiaruai Village water supply project, which provides fresh, running water to the local community and we will remain actively involved in its ongoing maintenance. The company also supported training for vanilla bean farmers throughout Central Bougainville aimed at further building the skills needed to grow premium product. Further diversifying Bougainville’s agricultural sector is among ABG economic priorities and we are committed to supporting capacity building in this area.

Education is another vitally important area that the company continues to support and that has included previous vocational training for teachers. During 2020 we also presented prizes to top performing students and those who had displayed exceptional leadership skills at Arawa Secondary School, ELO1 Upper Primary Schools, St. Mary’s Asitavi Secondary School, Tonu Secondary School as well support for the UPNG Bougainville Students Association.

Company chairman Sir Mel Togolo said: “We think it is important to ensure that students are continually inspired and rewarded for achievement. By striving through education and working to be best of their abilities we know Bougainvillean students can achieve special things”.

The company is also proud of its support for Bougainville sporting groups, which are so important in promoting healthy and active lifestyles as well as other invaluable attributes such as working together as a team, communicating effectively with others and good sportsmanship. Bougainville Copper was delighted to continue supporting the provision of sporting equipment, trophies and equipment for maintenance and upkeep of sports fields.

Supporting cultural and festive events also remains a company priority, and although major public gatherings were postponed because of coronavirus last year, 2020 ended on a festive note when BCL had the pleasure of supporting New Dawn FM’s Christmas Carols broadcast, which was enjoyed across the region.

Over the year ahead, Bougainville Copper will continue to provide community support where appropriate and is dedicated to maintaining respectful and constructive relations with government, landowners and community groups more broadly as the region works towards a better future.