MP blames Rio Tinto for Bougainville war

By Jeffrey Elapa

CENTRAL Bougainville MP Jim Miringtoro has blamed Rio Tinto, the former operator of the now-closed Bougainville copper mine, for the losses in the Bougainville war. He said the company and the government of Australia were directly involved in the Bougainville crisis and used the PNG government to start a war against its own people for the benefit of the company.

Miringtoro said the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare had revealed that Rio Tinto was directly involved and responsible for the war on the island as reported on the television network SBS. He said more than 15,000 people including PNG defence force soldiers died during the crisis when it started in 1988 and which lasted 15 years.

“The Australian Government and Rio Tinto used the government to declare war on its citizens as a tool to protect itself, and not the lives of the citizens,’’ he said.

“Somare’s testimony revealed what the people of Bougainville knew of Australia’s and CRA’s (Rio Tinto) involvement in the crisis after destroying the environment and the unfair treatment of landowner,” he said.

Miringtoro said Rio Tinto was not welcome to Bougainville and any intention to reopen the mine by the company with no considerattion for the people would not be allowed. “We do not want the same pig that destroyed our garden to come back. “Those pigs are looters and we do not want them in Paguna or Bougainville,” Miringtoro said.

He said the Bougainville government and the people had their own plans to bring other foreign investors. Miringtoro said the problem in Bougainville was no different from other mining operations in the country. He said the foreign companies had no regard for the welfare and the lifestyle of the landowners as wel. And they did not respect the environment. He said the big companies mistreated and suppressed the people, dictated and controlled  the government to allow them to continue destroying the environment and the people.

Miringtoro said although Peter Taylor continued to deny their involvement in the crisis, the truth remained as revealed by  Somare.

“I thank the Grand Chief Sir Michael for being honest in revealing the truth. He is a true leader and he could have solved the crisis the Melanesian way if he was the prime minister,” he said.


Filed under Corruption, Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

3 responses to “MP blames Rio Tinto for Bougainville war

  1. Ecesis

    Just like the he is doing for Hidden Valley and Ramu? Once again we are failing to take responsibility for our own actions. Where is the evidence that the Australian Government was involved? I hear people talking about compensation but not land rehabilitation. Why are we not asking for Rio to come back and repair some of their damage? I think most people would rather have clean water and healthy children than a rich government.

  2. Ples man

    You mean Rio to come back to Bville and refill the pit it dug?????…Shame on them….Desperate thugs!!!…

  3. Don Quixote

    My latest info from a person who was in bougainville at the time is that our super efficient government missed three consecutive 7yr meetings to renegotiate the mining agreement (21YRS). CRA’s hands were tied during this period. Why is there no definitive history of the period leading up to the eruption. IS IT BECAUSE OUR LEADERS OF THAT PERIOD WOULD BE EXPOSED. I have nothing to contribute to the civil war period

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