MAC: Mines and Communities

Landowners push for BCL share split

Published by MAC on 2005-08-19

Landowners push for BCL share split


19 August 2005

The Autonomous Bougainville Government has been called on to push for state shares in the Bougainville Copper Limited to be transferred to the ABG.

Company secretary of Road Mining Tailings Leases Trustee Limited, a Panguna landowners’ company, Lawrence Daveona said Mining Minister Sam Akoitai was working to have the Bougainville copper agreement reviewed and one of the issues that would be discussed was the state’s interest in this once successful mining company.

“Therefore, we would like to call on the Autonomous Government of Bougainville to push to become a shareholder in BCL,” Mr Daveona said.

“The Bougainville Autonomous Government is well advised to pursue shareholding in BCL first instead of the litigation option which is underway in the United States.” It is understood officers from the Department of Mining are working on a proposal for the review of the Bougainville copper agreement to be presented to the PNG National Executive Council by Mr Akoitai.

This follows a letter to Mr Akoitai by the former Interim Bougainville Provincial Government members to have a review into the agreement.

Mr Daveona said under an equal tripartite distribution arrangement, the National Government’s shareholding of more than 76 million shares should be split one-third each between the ABG, National Government and the landowners.

The one-third split will enable each party to own 25,476,936 shares each in BCL.

On top of that Mr Daveona said there would be tax benefits which would also be shared equally if the proposed arrangement was in place.

Mr Daveona also said the National Government should intervene immediately into the current lawsuit being pursued by the Internal Revenue Commission for tax evasions.

He said the Government’s focus at the moment should be to attract investment from Rio Tinto and not tax than when everyone knew that the Bougainville copper mine had been closed for many years.

President of the ABG Joseph Kabui said on the inauguration day of the government that the future of the Bougainville copper mine would be a priority for the new government and everything would be fast tracked when Central Bougainville MP and Mining Minister Sam Akoitai was still the minister responsible.

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