Carmella Gware | Loop PNG | March 13, 2020
The PNG Government has fully transferred its entire 36.4 percent share in the Bougainville Copper Ltd to the Autonomous Bougainville Government.
This was one of the resolutions reached during the first, and possibly the final, post-referendum Joint Supervisory Body meeting held on Thursday, the 12th of March, at Port Moresby’s APEC Haus.
It was the first Joint Supervisory Body, or JSB, meeting to be held since the referendum last year. It is also the last JSB as its name has been changed to Joint Consultative Body, and this body will continue to provide oversight to the post referendum consultation processes.
During the JSB, teams from the PNG and Autonomous Bougainville governments, including President John Momis and Prime Minister James Marape, sat together to decide a future for Bougainville.
The sixth out of the 13 agendas discussed and passed included the transfer of Bougainville Copper Ltd shares.
The JSB noted that in 2017, the National Executive Council made a decision for the National Government to transfer 17.4 percent from its 36.4 percent shares to the landowners of Panguna. Following that, on the 13th of December, 2019, at the joint announcement of the Bougainville Referendum results, Prime Minister Marape further announced that the National Government will transfer to ABG its remaining 19 percent of the BCL shares.
“This JSB affirmed that the entire shares of Bougainville Copper be passed to Bougainville Mining Ltd – the Bougainville Government and Bougainville people’s subsidiary company,” the PM, flanked by the ABG President and members of their technical teams, told media after a full day of meeting.
Rio Tinto and the ABG both own 36.4 percent each while public shareholders hold the remaining portion of the share capital.
Apart from BCL shares, the PNG Government has made it clear that the constitutional Restoration and Development Grant (RDG) will be given to support the budget on Bougainville while the National Planning Ministry has been directed to clearly define the K100 million commitment and report back in the next Joint Consultative Body meeting this year.
The JSB has also acknowledged and accepted the democratic choice of the Bougainville people for Independence.