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EU Shareholders Respond To Offer To Reopen Panguna

The European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper

Press Release 2007-03-08
Our statement is referring to the article published in:

THE NATIONAL (Port Moresby / PNG), March 8th, 2007 :
ABG offers to re-open Panguna mine

THE Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) has proposed to Ord River Resources, a junior Australian mining company, the possible re-opening of the island’s gold mine.

However, ABG President Joseph Kabui said outstanding issues concerning the mine should be dealt first.

These issued involved the Bougainville copper agreement alongside the critical environment, legal and social issues,” he said.

“We are moving ahead, even as the landowners are reconciling on the ground, we are moving ahead to resolve the issues.”

“ABG, as the government of the people on the ground, is in the position of making decisions on the future of mining for the people,” he said.

He said ABG would not be dictated by a small group of people living in Port Moresby.

Mr Kabui was reacting to statements from Lawrence Daveona, who said Bougainville Copper Ltd would be the only mining company that will be allowed by the Panguna landowners to discuss the future of the Panguna mine.

Mr Daveona is the director of Road Mining Tailings Lease Trustee Ltd and spokesman of the Panguna Landowners’ Association.

“I spoke with senior representatives of the landowners from Panguna and they do not recognise Mr Daveona as their spokesman,” Mr Kabui said.

He said the landowners recognise ABG and its need for the mine to be re-opened and the efforts that it is making to re-open the mine.

Please take note of The Europeans Shareholders of Bougainville Copper’s statement here:

European Shareholders praise ABG President

The latest statement of ABG President Joseph Kabui caused positive resonance amongst the European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper Limited: “It is a very wise decision of Mr. Kabui to consider to the re-opening of the Panguna mine now,” said ESBC-spokesman Axel G. Sturm last Thursday in Andorra. The European Shareholders of BCL have always asked for the reopening of the world’s third largest copper and gold mine as a foundation for strong economic development in Bougainville. “Bougainville Copper Limited is the only internationally listed company of the island it has always been the island of Bougainville’s link to the world of economy too. And that was in a positive and in a negative sense as well” said Mr. Sturm. “Our dream is that Bougainville Copper becomes a shining example for modern mining that respects the environment and an outstanding model for a young emerging nation also!”

Ord River Resources that is supposed to have strong economic interests in common with the People’s Republic of China seems to be Joseph Kabui’s favourite in the Paguna re-opening deal. “For legal and for image reasons,” says Mr. Sturm, “it would be wise to keep the company’s name as a national brand to be proud of. So it would be an elegant solution if Ord River Resources tries to become the major stakeholder of Bougainville Copper Limited. But that also implies that Ord River has to buy out Rio Tinto. Even if Ord River enjoys strong support by the state of China, we doubt if they are able to shoulder 1 up to 2 billion AUD minimum for the 53% block of Rio Tinto Shares plus a round about 1 billion US-Dollars for the re-opening. Our experts here in Europe consider even the fair value per BCL-share between 5 and 10 AUD minimum once the mine’s re-opening is announced, when the mine is operating the price per share might rise to something between 20 and 30 AUD according to the prices of the precious metal market .” The actual price of the Bougainville Copper share is only 0, 76 AUD. But there might be other topics too: “If I were Mr. Kabui, I would be very careful,” says Mr. Sturm “I think the President would not like to see Bougainville becoming a second social mining disaster such as the Chinese operated Ramu mine in PNG! We believe that Joseph Kabui has a good chance to play an outstanding and even historical role in Bougainville if he succeeds in unifying and satisfying all parties involved.”

Andorra, March 8th, 2007

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