Bougainville leaders call on mining giant Rio Tinto to assist communities – by APR editor (Asia Pacific Report – June 7, 2023)


Community leaders around Panguna mine in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville want mining giant Rio Tinto to help out following recent flooding. Rio Tinto was the owner/operator of the mine which has laid derelict for more than 30 years.

Fears of the threat from flooding in the river system near the mine have increased in recent years. Recent heavy rain has choked rivers with mine tailings waste, resulting in several communities being swamped.

Residents have reported peoples’ homes have been inundated, water supplies and food crops compromised. The flooding risks were highlighted in an independent report by Tetra Tech Coffey published last year.

This report was prepared as a baseline to inform an independent human rights and environmental impact assessment that launched in December 2022 and which Rio Tinto committed to fund in response to a human rights complaint by 156 local residents. Phase 1 of the assessment is due to report in mid-2024.

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