Operations start at the Panguna copper-gold mine in Bougainville, an island off the coast of Papua New Guinea. The mine is operated by Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL), a subsidiary of Conzinc Riotinto Australia, one of the precursors of what is now Rio Tinto. The mine displaces and dispossesses local people of their lands, on which they depend for their livelihoods. Moreover, between 1972 and 1988, BCL dumps toxic mining wastes from its Panguna mine straight into the local river system, compromising people’s health, food security and causing catastrophic consequences for the environment.
The Panguna mine’s entire history of displacement, toxic waste dumping and its severe impacts on people’s health and livelihoods is noticeably absent from Rio Tinto’s own timeline.
Cut and Run report by LMN