Abandoned Bougainville mine still an environmental headache
Rio Tinto’s subsidiary, Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL) is on record as wanting to return to the eponymous Pacific island, and re-open one of the most conflict-ridden mines in recent history. Although the Panguna mine was closed down by militants in 1989, two tanks which formerly fuelled its operations are now leaking heavy oil into the ground, only a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean. BCL’s chairman has dismissed the dangers of the spill, claiming it is “only minor”. Although the recently elected new president of Bougainville, John Momis, is on record as favouring the revival of Panguna, no official decision has yet been taken. There are still significant numbers of Bougainvilleans who oppose the return of BCL or other mining companies, and some former landowners who have pledged to oppose a re-opening at any cost.
See http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=10180.
Reopening of mine possible: Momis
THE reopening of the Panguna mine in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville is a good possibility under the new regime, newly-elected president John Momis said last Friday. “I want the mine to reopen. However, this issue will depend mostly on the outcome of consultation and consensual meetings between the landowners and the administration,” he said in his first official trip. Momis said the landowners would be consulted and their consent sought as this was the Melanesian way of decision-making. “Realistically, this reopening will help generate money for the people to participate in the economy,” he added.
See http://www.thenational.com.pg/?q=node/10139.
BCL shares rise on mine rumours
SPECULATION about reopening the Panguna copper/gold mine has resulted in shares of Bougainville Copper Limited hitting an all-time high of 80 cents (K2.02) on the Australian Stock Exchange. This is the highest share price level reached since the mine closed 20 years ago.
See http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20100622/business.htm.
Death of leading ally of Bougainville independence movement
HUMAN rights activist Rosemarie Gillespie, also known as Waratah Rose, has died at 69 after suffering a stroke. A founder of the Bougainville Freedom Movement, Ms Gillespie, a lawyer, wrote books and made films about her experiences and observations.She was a political prisoner in Fiji in a military coup in 1987, was a human shield during the 2003 Iraq war, and campaigned against a military blockade on Bougainville in the 1990s, according to her website. She is survived by two daughters, three grandchildren, two sisters and a brother.
See http://www.theage.com.au/national/waratah-rose-dies-20100622-yvua.html
and http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/waratah-rose-has-died-in-melbourne-20100622-yua8.html.