MAC: Mines and Communities

Bougainville Legal Action May Still Go Ahead

Published by MAC on 2002-04-02

Bougainville Legal Action May Still Go Ahead

Pacific Beat, Radio Australia

Tuesday, 2 April 2002

In the United States a legal action taken by Bougainvillean landowners against the mining giant Rio Tinto alleging genocide and environmental damage in operating the giant Panguna copper mine on the island may not be over.

The judge hearing the class action suit in California dismissed the case after hearing from the US State Department that the case might adversely affect US foreign policy interests. But she made her dismissal conditional on the landowners being able to continue their action in a PNG court, which is contrary to PNG law. Nick Styant-Brown of the US legal firm Hagens Berman, which represents the landowners, says that law will probably mean the case is reopened in the United States.

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