Rio Tinto shares in BCL not transferred to either ABG or PNG govt

On 30 June 2016 Rio Tinto announced it had transferred its 53.8 per cent shareholding in Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) to an independent trustee.

But, no share transfer documents appear in the records of the Investment Promotion Authority in Port Moresby and, 16 months after the announcement, Rio Tinto is still listed as holding 214,887,996 or 53.5% of the shares in BCL.

In its original announcement, Rio also said, Equity Trustees Limited would manage the distribution of the shares between the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea (PNG).

According to Rio, under a trust deed, the ABG had the opportunity to receive 68 per cent of Rio Tinto’s shareholding in BCL (being 36.4% of all BCL’s shares) from the independent trustee for no consideration and PNG was entitled to the remaining 32 per cent (equal to 17.4 per cent of BCL’s shares).

Rio also added, under the Trust Deed, should either beneficiary of the trust not apply for the transfer of the BCL shares attributable to them within two months, then those shares will be made available to the other party.

According to IPA records, neither the ABG or PNG government has received any transfer of the shares and neither currently has any shareholding in BCL.




Filed under Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

5 responses to “Rio Tinto shares in BCL not transferred to either ABG or PNG govt

  1. Gee Mail

    Sounds eerily similar to BHPB’s departure from Ok Tedi where shares were gifted to PNGSDP but BHPB secretly remained in control of PNGSDP.

  2. Ben Ibiroki

    No mining no BCL

  3. nasioiwriter


  4. According to page 2 the BCL 2016 Anual Report:
    On 30th June 2016, Rio Tinto announced that it was divesting
    its 53.8% shareholding in Bougainville Copper Limited.
    This has resulted in the following significant changes and
    impacts for the company:
    • Shareholding. Rio Tinto divested its shares in trust
    for the benefit of the Independent State of PNG and
    Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG). Each
    became the equal largest shareholders with 36.4%
    of the shares. Subsequently the PNG Prime Minister
    announced in parliament that he proposed to gift the Rio
    Tinto component of 17.4% to the people of Bougainville.
    It remains unclear who is the beneficial owner of this
    shareholding, which is of major concern to the ABG.

    Yet, page 42 of the BCL 2016 Annual Report lists the following shareholders as at 28th February 2017 were:
    Bougainville Minerals Ltd, Bougainville, PNG 36.45%
    The Independent State of Papua New Guinea 19.06%
    EDA Minerals Limited, Port Moresby, PNG 17.39%

    Click to access 13318-BCL-Annual-Report-2016_All-pages.pdf

  5. Pingback: Rio Tinto does not control BCL: Spokesperson | Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

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