Prime Minister Marape Commends Rio Tinto on Legacy Impact Assessment for Panguna Mine

By: PNG Business News April 02, 2024

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape recently extended his gratitude towards Rio Tinto for its diligent efforts in conducting an effective legacy impact assessment for the Panguna mine and its affected communities.

The meeting saw the attendance of Rio Tinto PNG Country Director Andrew Cooper, along with Deputy Country Director Cornelius Soagai.

Prime Minister Marape praised Rio Tinto’s remarkable progress in the mining sector since its return to Papua New Guinea, marking over three decades since its operations ceased at Panguna mine through Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL). “It is a step in the right direction,” he remarked.

During the meeting, Mr. Cooper updated on the Panguna Mine Legacy Impact Assessment’s progress, initiated by an agreement between Rio Tinto and representatives of the Bougainville community members through the Human Rights Law Centre. This process began following several months of dialogue facilitated by the Australian Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) National Contact Point (AusNCP). The assessment aims to identify and understand the environmental and human rights impacts since the mine’s closure in 1989.

“The Legacy Impact Assessment for Panguna is progressing well, with a final public report expected later in the year,” Mr. Cooper stated. Tetra Tech Coffey Ltd, a global consulting firm, has been tasked with completing Phase 1 of the independent assessment.

Prime Minister Marape reaffirmed his government’s commitment to securing greater benefits for PNG landowners from major resource projects, emphasising the importance of ensuring that the people of Bougainville receive fair resource benefits in line with their autonomy status. He assured full support for Rio Tinto’s efforts in the impact assessment, and the full transfer of BCL shares to the Bougainville Government and its people.

Additionally, Mr. Cooper briefed Prime Minister Marape on ongoing exploration activities by Rio Tinto in PNG, including in Manus.

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