Rio Tinto’s withdrawal shameful, Momis says

The National,Tuesday July 5th, 2016

AUTONOMOUS Bougainville Government President John Momis says Rio Tinto’s decision to withdraw from its involvement in the Panguna copper and gold mine was “unprincipled, shameful and evil”.
“Bougainville cannot accept this. I am writing to the International Council of Metals and Minerals asking them to end Rio Tinto’s membership for failure to adhere to its principles,” Momis said.
Momis said the ABG was also seeking legal advice on the environment and social impacts of mining conducted by the Bougainville Copper Limited.
“I believe that with the Government’s cooperation, we can find ways to turn Rio’s shameful and evil move in to one that offers positive outcomes for all major stakeholders, including the Panguna mine-affected landowners, Bougainvilleans, the ABG, the Government and BCL,” Momis said.
Momis said the opportunity for a positive outcome would arise if the Government was prepared not to take up the transfer of Rio shares in BCL now on offer. “If it (Government) refuses the shares, then they would be offered for transfer to the ABG in two months,” he said.
“The ABG would then become the 55.8 per cent owner of BCL. The Government could continue to be the main minority shareholder, with its existing 19 per cent shareholding.”