The National – Friday, December 3, 2010
BOUGAINVILLE Copper Ltd’s share price has soared as talks to unite the landowners of the mine site under a single umbrella company proceeded.
If successful, the talks will streamline negotiations for the reopening of the mine in Bougainville.
According to Australian security exchange last Friday, the share price of the Rio Tinto-controlled company rose 4.08%, and on Monday 4.58%.
The shares had doubled in price since August and tripled since May, even though the mine had not operated for 21 years, the ASX stated.
The new president of the Autonomous Bou-gainville Government John Momis, told the media last week that discussions between landowners were going well.
“I am satisfied we are doing OK … we need to get the mine reopened … it will kick start developments in Bougainville,” Momis said.
The copper mine, at Panguna, provided about 20 % of government revenue during the 1970s and 1980s.
It closed in 1989 as the island disintegrated into civil war, in part due to disagreements about the mine’s impact and the way royalties were shared. Rio Tinto owns 53.58% of the company.
The PNG government has a 19.06 % stake, and the other 27.36% is held by public shareholders.
“With copper reserves estimated at almost three million tonnes and gold production in the range of 400,000 ounces per annum, Panguna is one of the world’s largest potential producers of both metals,” BCL, as quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald this week, said.
“It is expected that the Bougainville copper agreement renegotiation will be actively pursued towards the end of 2010.”
The company said market values for both copper and gold were higher than at the time of mine’s closure.