RTG Mining | Stockhouse | 26 June, 2017
RTG Joins Landowner Backed Consortium Proposal in Respect of the Copper-Gold Panguna Project in Bougainville – Announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange
RTG Mining Inc. confirms recent press statements that it has been nominated as the development partner with the joint venture company of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (“SMLOLA”) and Central Exploration Pty Ltd (“Central”) in their proposal with respect to the redevelopment of the 1.5B tonne Copper-Gold Panguna Project located in the Central Region of the island of Bougainville, within the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea (“PNG”). RTG has subscribed US$0.75M into Central for a minority position in Central. The proposal being led by the SMLOLA is a landowner initiative and will be subject to the success or otherwise of the SMLOLA in securing a role in the redevelopment of the mine.
This proposal is also, ultimately conditional upon the support of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (“ABG”) and others. RTG appreciates the trust and support the SMLOLA has shown the Company, recognising the community engagement track record and the development experience of the RTG management team, having successfully developed seven new mines in five different countries. RTG makes no representation that the SMLOLA led consortium proposal will be successful. Both the show cause notice issued by the ABG to Bougainville Copper Limited (“BCL”) in connection with the previous exploration permit, which expired in September 2016 and the application for extension of the term of the licence are still under review by the ABG. The ABG has expressed its support for BCL
The members of the SMLOLA are the owners of the customary land which is the subject of the old BCL operated Panguna open pit mine area. In implementing the Bougainville Peace Agreement, a change in the mining law in 2014 resulted in the PNG ownership of mineral rights being expunged and the customary landowners becoming owners of the minerals within their land. Accordingly, the SMLOLA own the minerals of the old Panguna Mine and are in control of access to their land, namely the Panguna pit. The SMLOLA has stated that it will not grant access to their lands to BCL, a position they have held and expressed for an extended period of time. The Autonomous Region of Bougainville has gone through transformative changes over the last couple of years and has recognised the reopening of the Panguna Mine is an important economic initiative for all Bougainvilleans, which is supported strongly by the SMLOLA.
RTG will fully respect any rights of BCL and has agreed to act as the development partner should the SMLOLA be successful in their proposal. RTG believes that the SMLOLA led consortium could provide a constructive and valuable contribution to resolving outstanding issues between all parties, with their proposal including the development of Panguna on a staged basis, starting at an initial targeted 15Mtpa plant size before then optimising the processing plant, subject to completion of a Feasiblity Study. This will enhance the prospects of a successful referendum on Independence for Bougainville and much earlier access to financial rewards for all Bougainvilleans. There are strong parallels between this proposal and the redevelopment of the Masbate Gold Mine in the Phillipines, which was successfully developed by the RTG Management team. The proposal also includes a Bougainville Redevelopment Fund to assist the landowners and ABG in implementing much needed social and infrastructure programs to enhance the livelihoods of all those in and around Panguna.
RTG’s three largest long term shareholders, whose publicly reported parent company net worth is in the order of US$30 billion, have expressed support for entering into the Panguna redevelopment proposal should it be successful.
ABOUT RTG MINING INC
RTG Mining Inc. is a mining and exploration company listed on the main board of the Toronto Stock Exchange and Australian Securities Exchange. RTG is focused on developing the high grade copper/gold/magnetite Mabilo Project and advancing exploration on the highly prospective Bunawan Project, both in the Philippines, while also identifying major new projects which will allow the Company to move quickly and safely to production.
RTG has an experienced management team (previously responsible for the development of the Masbate Gold Mine in the Philippines through CGA Mining Limited), and has B2Gold as one of its major shareholders in the Company. B2Gold is a member of both the S&P/TSX Global Gold and Global Mining Indices.