Global miner Rio Tinto says it is ready to discuss cleaning up the site of the giant gold and copper site which it abandoned in 2016, four months after destroying a 46,000 year-old Aboriginal site in Western Australia.
Bougainville landowners have filed environmental and human rights complaints against Rio Tinto with the Australian Treasury Department, which has the power to investigate complaints made against Australian companies operating overseas.
Landowners are hoping to secure tens-of-millions of dollars for rehabilitation of the Panguna mine site, abandoned after the mine was shut by a civil war in 1989, which it helped spark, and which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 20,000 Bougainvilleans.
Rio’s about-face – having walked away from Bougainville in 2016 saying the mine was no longer its responsibility – follows its deliberate destruction of ancient Aboriginal rock shelters in May this year.
Read more in our November issue.