Bougainville Island - Panguna Copper Mine Conflict

Posted on: Fri, 08/04/2017 - 19:29 By: admin

The following page is a collection of information, links and documents relating to the conflict between the people of Bougainville Island and the Papua New Guinea government arising from the activities of the Panguna Copper Mine project owned and operated by Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL).

Recent News

22 Dec 2004

PNG Prime Minister looks forward to economic independence "...2004 has been a year of achievements as the government endorsed the final Bougainville Constitution allowing for elections for an autonomous government to be held next year."

21 Dec 2004

Bougainville: Autonomous Bougainville a step closer 
Papua New Guinea's Governor-General, Sir Paulias Matane, signed the constitution for an autonomous Bougainville as approved by the PNG government and the island's constituent assembly on Tuesday.

30 July 2002

Rio Tinto Court Case
On 25 March this year, Judge Margaret Morrow of the Federal District Court of California dismissed the claim for environmental damage and human rights abuse brought against mining giant Rio Tinto by the people of Bougainville.The claim, arising from the operations of the Bougainville copper mine, was dismissed by Judge Morrow following intervention by the US State Department on behalf of the Papua New Guinea government (PNG).

18 Apr 2002

U.N. Wants Faster Disarmament In Bougainville
The U.N. Security Council yesterday urged stepped-up efforts to complete the weapons disposal program on the Papua New Guinean island of Bougainville, a required part of the political settlement of the 10-year civil insurgency there.

June 2001

Bougainville: towards a new autonomy status
Following the signing of the Bougainville Peace Accord in January 2001, negotiations between the parties have been focussing on the details and implementation of its articles. It has already been agreed upon that all government functions should be transferred to Bougainville, except for defence, foreign affairs, international shipping and aviation, and the supreme court, furthermore the Panguna copper mine, that sparked the violent conflict in Bougainville will not be reopened. Bougainville Copper Limited, the owner of the Panguna mine, is leaving Bougainville and will sell all its assets.

6 Sep 2000

Rio Tinto sued over Bougainville: Oceanic Islanders Use Federal Law to Sue British Mining Giant Rio Tinto for Alleged Ecocide and Human Rights Crimes. - Business & News Editors/Legal Writers, San Francisco - 6 September 2000.


Major Groups and Individuals Involved with the Conflict

Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) 
BCL is owned 53.9% by Rio Tinto, 19.1% by the PNG government and 27.3% by public shareholders.

Bougainville People's Congress

Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) - Ishmael Toroama - commander of the BRA. Joseph Kabui - political leader of the BRA, and also leads the Bougainville People's Congress.

Bougainville Resistance Force (BRF)

Mekamui Defence Forces (Defence Forces of the Sacred Land) - Francis Ona is the leader of the Mekamui Defence Forces (Defence Forces of the Sacred Land). Francis was the leader of the original Bougainville rebellion and a member of the landowning clan that rose up against the Panguna copper mine in 1988. Ona is advised by a team that includes William Nakin and Michael Poposan, two businessmen from Buka.

Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) - Armed forces of the State of Papua New Guinea.

Peace Monitoring Group (PMG) - The PMG played a crucial role in facilitating the peace process and supervise the ceasefire. It comprised a mix of unarmed military and civilian personnel from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu. The group ceased activities in mid-2003 handing over to the Bougainville Transition Team.

Bougainville Transition Team (BTT) - The BTT was a small, unarmed team of civilians from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu deployed for a six month period in the second half of 2003 on the withdrawl of the PMG. The team helped maintain confidence and facilitate the peace process.