According to the National Research Institute, given Bougainville's position within the Pacific Rim of Fire, the possibilities for mining various minerals, especially gold and copper, are vast (NRI).
Following the collapse of the Panguna mine, NRI noted in a recent report on Bougainville that regaining foreign investor trust in mining in Bougainville was proving difficult.
“Even more difficult is the effective management of the revenues from the sale of public resources such as minerals, forestry and fishing, which has long been a challenging problem for developing countries,” the report highlighted. “The primary management problem has been with the effective expenditure of resource revenues. Therefore, a major issue for discussion in Bougainville should be on whether institutional arrangements can be devised that will ensure that the resource revenues collected by the ABG – from, say, fishing, forestry or mining – will be put to good use in developing the economy.”
It continued, “We have argued for a management system where a share of mineral rents are directly paid to the public in the form of compensation for the sale of their asset. This has several advantages, including the fact that such transfers will bind the public across space and generations, concentrate attention on the returns from publicly owned assets, and create economic spillovers in the form of increased output and revenues for the budget. The model used in Alaska to manage the collection and distribution of its oil and gas revenues seems to be very worthy of consideration by Bougainville. This regime establishes a political constituency with an interest in protecting the revenues from corruption, waste, and so forth. If Bougainville is to adopt a policy of this kind, the nature of politics dictates that it should be done as soon as possible. Otherwise, if an alternative policy is adopted, it will be impossible to dismantle later as it will have formed its own constituency by then.”