Panguna mine at centre of bloody Bougainville conflict set to reopen after 30 years – by Leanne Jorari (The Guardian – February 11, 2022)

The mine at the centre of the decade-long civil war between rebels in Bougainville and Papua New Guinea security forces is set to reopen 30 years after it was forced to close, following an agreement between local landowners.

Panguna was once one of the world’s largest and most profitable copper and goldmines and still contains an estimated 5.3m tons of copper and 19.3m ounces of gold, which would make the reserves worth about $60bn at today’s prices.

In 1989, amid rising community anger at the environmental damage and the inequitable division of the mine’s profits, locals forced the mine closed, blowing up Panguna’s power lines and sabotaging operations.

The PNG government sent in troops against its own citizens to restart the foreign-owned mine, sparking a bloody, decade-long civil war. A peace settlement was brokered in 2001.

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