Bougainville MPs silence over Rio Tinto shares irking local people


MPs urged to protect interests

Anthony Kaybing | Post Courier

The four Bougainville National MPs have been urged to support the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s stand in acquiring the 17.4 per cent Bougainville Copper Limited’s stake given to the National Government by Rio Tinto.
The four MPs have remained passive throughout the squabbling over Rio Tinto divesting its 53.8 per cent shares in BCL in the defunct Panguna Mine.
The deafening silence by the National MPs has irked a lot of Bougainvilleans who believe the Autonomous Region’s national representatives should be proactive in protecting Bougainville interests.
ABG Mining Minister, Robin Wilson has offered a subtle approach by proposing a meeting with the four national MPs by asking them to support the transfer of the shares and to make their case in Parliament and the National Executive Council.
“Similarly I propose that the members of the Bougainville Executive Council work with the Regional Member, Joe Lera who is the Minister for Bougainville Affairs to persuade the National Government and the Prime Minister to ensure that the 17.4 per cent is transferred to us,” Mr Wilson said.
The action by Rio Tinto has also prompted legal ramifications in the Bougainville Mining Act which brings sections 112(1) and 284(1) into operation.
These sections stipulate that if there are dealings in more than 25 per cent of the shares of a company holding an exploration licence then the ABG’s Secretary for the Department of Mineral and Energy Resources must issue the company a notice to show cause.


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Filed under Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

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