Panguna landowners have chosen to partner with Australia-based Caballus Mining in reopening the copper-gold mine in Bougainville, an autonomous region in Papua New Guinea, according to a statement released by Panguna Tangku'urang Chiefs.
Vincent Bangki, chairman and spokesperson for the group, said that the Autonomous Bougainville Government had already selected Caballus as a partner, but were waiting for the Panguna Tangku'urang Chiefs to “perform their own due diligence.”
Caballus was established by NRW Holdings founder Jeff McGlinn in August 2018.
“With Jeff by our side, working with us, encouraging us and negotiating the best opportunities for us, we know we will be able to take that first step towards economic recovery and financial independence,” Bangki said.
Previously run by Rio Tinto, the mine is home to some of the world’s biggest copper and gold deposits. It was at the centre of the region’s decade-long civil war, which was sparked by locals angered over environmental damage, unfair wages and profit distribution by foreign mining companies. The mine closed in 1989, and Rio Tinto divested its controlling stake in Bougainville Copper Ltd in 2016 to national and local governments.
Bangki noted in his statement that the group “strongly believe[s] that once operation begins, all other business opportunities, job creations and investments will open up, and it is hoped that Arawa town be resurrected to its fitting glory.”