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BCL Still Keen On Panguna Mine

BCL still keen on Panguna mine

Bougainville Copper Limited still has its eyes on Panguna as it completes work to understand the economics and technical challenges associated with the reopening of the abandoned mine.

BCL company secretary Paul Coleman reported to the Australian Stock Exchange that the company was continuing this work with its vision of a "return to active exploration and profitable mining".

"While undertaking this work the company will continue to consult with a broad cross-section of the Bougainville and PNG community," Mr Coleman said. Last year BCL undertook a comprehensive review of its exploration data aimed at defining targets and developing a work program in anticipation of being able to resume active exploration.

No company officials have been allowed into the abandoned Panguna mine since it closed in May 1989. This has prevented the company from working out the value of its assets and the costs involved if the Panguna mine would ever be reopened.

BCL has said that it would work together with the landowners to gather their support for exploration and mining.

Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) is owned 53.58 per cent by world mining giant Rio Tinto Limited. The Papua New Guinea Government owns 19.06 per cent while public shareholders hold the remaining 27.36 per cent of the share capital.

Meanwhile, BCL has posted a net profit of K3.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2007 compared to K3.7 million it made in the corresponding period of 2006.

According to the report lodged with the ASX, there was a K22 million capital growth which together with the net profit equates to a 7 per cent increase in shareholder funds. The company said operating expenses also increased last year but the costs were offset by increased investment incomes.

BCL revenue increased by 9 per cent last year due to growth in dividends (plus 16 per cent) derived from the investment portfolio while general and administrative expenses grew by 10 per cent reflecting the nominal real growth in expenses, upward movements in PNG inflation rate and the PNG kina exchange rate fluctuations.

ENDS

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