BCL to Intensify Community Engagement

Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) is set to intensify its community engagement activities as part of a comprehensive, staged development plan for a new Panguna mining project.

BCL Chairman Rob Burns said a genuine commitment to stakeholder engagement underpinned the development plan and the company was putting in place the necessary resources and personnel to step up its on-the-ground activities in Bougainville over the coming months.

“We fully understand that building trust and widespread support among all relevant parties, as well as the people of Bougainville more broadly, is essential if the aim of renewing mining at Panguna is to be realised,” he said.

“By working collaboratively with all groups, we have every confidence that outstanding issues can be resolved and the necessary benchmarks can be met for the project to advance,” Mr Burns said.

BCL also notes recent comments by a third-party company, RTG, that it had been nominated by one of nine landowner associations as a development partner in a Panguna project.

Notwithstanding, Mr Burns said it was important to stress that BCL’s first right to develop the Panguna tenement was clear and unambiguous under the Bougainville Mining Act 2015. He also noted RTG’s pledge to “fully respect” this right.

“There can be no doubt that we are totally committed to exercising our right through the implementation of our development plan, which has the full backing of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and broad endorsement among the landowner associations,” he said.

Mr Burns said it was unfortunate that there was some dispute over the leadership of one of the nine land owner associations and BCL was hopeful of a lasting resolution of the issue and would continue to work collaboratively with all landowners.

“We know there are people with different views, but equally we are encouraged by the levels of support we have received to date and will work hard to further build our relationships,” Mr Burns said.

The people of Bougainville have a significant stake in the BCL of today, with the ABG a major shareholder.

Media contact: Cameron Hill on +61 400 940 968