Cabinet to discuss BCL shares

The Cabinet will be meeting this Thursday to discuss the Rio Tinto’s shares that was split between the autonomous provincial government and the national government.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill confirmed this to Loop PNG this morning.

He said the discussion will not only relate to Bougainville shares but LNG shares, Western Province Ok Tedi shares and others.

“This government wants to empower landowners to have rights and ownership of their resources.

“And I will deliver that before I go to the elections in 2017”.

This was O’Neill’s reply to an article on Radio New Zealand which stated that Bougainville was furious that it was not given all the shares, and that Rio Tinto said it is was no longer obliged to do anything about the damage caused by the Panguna mine, which sparked a civil war that lasted through the 1990s.

The province hoped to reopen the mine as a way to generate revenue should it vote to become independent from PNG after a referendum scheduled for 2019.

Last month, the autonomous government held an emergency session of its parliament and issued a number of resolutions.

Bougainville president John Momis said his government, and all Bougainvilleans, opposed the shares in BCL being transferred to the PNG government.

He said the justification for the transfer advanced by Rio has no basis.

Bougainville accepted its 36.4 percent of BCL but will negotiate with the PNG Government for it to surrender the Rio Tinto shares it was given.

They (ABG government) is threatening to press the global mining giant, Rio Tinto, on several fronts after it last month divested itself of its majority shareholding in Bougainville Copper Ltd.


Picture source:

Freddy Mou