Mining and Reconciliation: Negotiating the Future of the Panguna Mine in Bougainville


Author/s (editor/s):

Kylie McKenna

Publication year:


Publication type:

Policy paper

In 1989, the massive Panguna copper mine,which was at the centre of a decade-long conflictin Bougainville, was forced to close. Twenty-fiveyears on, Bougainville is readying for a deferredreferendum on independence — one of the centralpillars of the Bougainville Peace Agreement — tobe held sometime between 2015 and 2020. As theterritory contemplates its political future, and howit will generate the revenue needed to supporteither meaningful autonomy or an independentstate, the possibility of reopening the Pangunamine is prominent on the political agenda. Threeof the options being considered are: 1) The minenever opens again; 2) The mine opens again underBougainville Copper Limited (BCL); 3) The mineopens again under control of some other company.This In Brief focuses on one of these possibilities:reopening the mine under BCL. In particular, itdiscusses a variety of local expectations in relationto material and symbolic reparations that face BCL,operator of the closed mine, if it were to resumeoperations in Bougainville.

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