Environmental and human rights evaluation of Rio Tinto’s former Panguna copper mine begins 

Bougainville had a historical past of small-scale mining. However the identification of a main gold, copper and silver orebody at Panguna within the Nineteen Sixties prompted Bougainville Copper Ltd, (BCL) a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, to begin operations of a serious mine.

Final 12 months, Rio Tinto publicly dedicated to fund the impartial evaluation in response to a human rights criticism introduced by 156 local people members, represented by the Human Rights Legislation Centre.  

The human rights criticism alleges that the large quantity of mine waste air pollution left behind by Panguna is placing communities’ lives and livelihoods in danger.  

Over a billion tonnes of waste tailings had been launched immediately into the Jaba and Kawerong rivers throughout operations. Air pollution from the mine continues to infect the rivers and flood massive areas of land downstream, which is having devastating impacts on the lives of 1000’s of Bougainvilleans, the Human Rights Legislation Centre mentioned in a press launch Monday.  

The Legacy Impression Evaluation is being overseen by a committee comprised of group leaders, landowners, authorities representatives, the Human Rights Legislation Centre and representatives from Rio Tinto and Bougainville Copper Restricted. 

“This is a vital step in direction of addressing insecurity and ache for the folks within the impacted group areas. Thus, we welcome the evaluation into the impacts of the Panguna mine as quickly as doable,” committee member and conventional landowner Theonila Roka Matbob, mentioned within the assertion.

“We’re at all times worrying that the meals we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe is just not protected. We fear about levees collapsing and mine waste flooding our lands and communities,” she mentioned. “We welcome Rio Tinto’s dedication to this course of,” she mentioned. 

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