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In a meeting held recently with Rio Tinto PNG Country Director Andrew Cooper and the Deputy Country Director Cornelius Soagai, Prime Minister James Marape extended his gratitude towards Rio Tinto for its diligent efforts in conducting an effective legacy impact assessment for the Panguna mine and its affected communities.

Prime Minister praised Rio Tinto’s remarkable progress in the mining sector since its return to Papua New Guinea, marking over three decades since its operations ceased at Panguna mine through Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL).

During the meeting, Director Cooper updated Prime Minister Marape on the Panguna Mine Legacy Impact Assessment’s progress, initiated by an agreement between Rio Tinto and representatives of the Bougainville community members through the Human Rights Law Centre. This process began following several months of dialogue facilitated by the Australian Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) National Contact Point (AusNCP). The assessment aims to identify and understand the environmental and human rights impacts since the mine’s closure in 1989.

“The Legacy Impact Assessment for Panguna is progressing well, with a final public report expected later in the year,” Cooper stated.

Mr Cooper said Tetra Tech Coffey Limited, a global consulting firm, has been tasked with completing Phase 1 of the independent assessment.

Prime Minister Marape reaffirmed government’s commitment to securing greater benefits for PNG landowners from major resource projects, emphasizing the importance of ensuring that the people of Bougainville receive fair resource benefits in line with their autonomy status.

He assured full support for Rio Tinto’s efforts in the impact assessment, and the full transfer of BCL shares to the Bougainville Government and its people.

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