B’ville mine reopening still remote

Business, Main Stories

PREPARATIONS to resume active exploration and mining at the Panguna copper mine in the autonomous region of Bougainville are in progress.
The mine will cost about US$3 billion (K8 billion) to reopen.
But access to the mine by the company, Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL), is still not possible, according to BCL as stated in its annual report for the year ending Dec 31, 2009.
“Nevertheless there have been regular and positive interactions with landowners and the Bougainville (ABG) Government,” it said.
In its financial report for the same period, BCL chairman and managing director Peter Taylor said BCL posted a net profit of K8.7 million (A$4.3 million) last year compared with a loss of K4.8mil (A$2.3 millionl) in 2008.
The higher net profit last year was on the back of realised gains on the sale of investments and exchange gains.
In addition, there was an unrealised K63.6 million capital gain which, together with the net profit, amounts to a 24.6% increase in shareholder funds.
Operating expenses during the period in review were in line with those of 2008, he said. 
And due to the relatively modest profit and the need to preserve cash for future development, BCL will not pay a dividend.
In investments, he said BCL’s liquid assets continue to be cash and Australian equities. The weak Australian equity market in the previous reporting period resulted in an adverse impact on both value of and return on investments.
“It is pleasing to report that despite the global financial crisis, the company was able to maintain its portfolio save for modest sales for operating purposes and is now benefiting from the recent strong growth in the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) 200.