Just days before Rio Tinto holds its AGM in London, Bougainville’s President Momis has announced that the company will likely abandon its Panguna mine operations. It seems likely this will be discussed publicly in London by Rio Tinto management tomorrow.
Since 2010 the Momis government and aid donors have invested a significant amount of the nation’s limited resources, to fund Panguna’s reopening by Rio Tinto. Despite warnings of obvious widespread landowner opposition, and the commercial barriers facing a return to mining at Panguna, the Momis government persisted with its controversial plan.
Now, with Rio Tinto expected to wash its hands of the whole idea, as a responsible government Momis must account to the people of Bougainville for how much money has been wasted on this whole exercise.
- How much has been spent on the Office of Panguna Negotiations and its body of full-time personnel?
- How much has been spent on expatriate advisers from Australia involved with the Panguna negotiation efforts?
- How much has been paid to the controversial landowner body which the ABG set up to negotiate with BCL?
- How much has been spent on overseas visits to meet with BCL and Rio Tinto staff?
- What other costs have taxpayers and donors footed to facilitate the reopening?