Bougainville: shareholders v board

Radio Australia, 8 May 2014

Bougainville Shareholders support corporate review

Updated 8 May 2014, 9:30 AEST
The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility says it is encouraged that most Bougainville Copper shareholders are in favour of appointing an independent jurist to investigate the company’s involvement in counter-insurgency activities during the Bougainville civil war.

The Centre’s resolution, put to the Bougainville Copper annual meeting in Port Moresby was overwhelmingly defeated.

Presenter: Jemima Garrett

Caroline le Couteur, Executive Director of the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility

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  1. Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsiblity Media Release
    Shareholders want Bougainville Copper to heal wounds of the past.
    The Annual General Meeting of Bougainville Copper (BCL) was held in Port Moresby on 6 May 2014. The Australian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR). moved two resolutions at the AGM. Ms Caroline Le Couteur, Executive Director of ACCR said “These resolutions would give Bougainville Copper (BCL) a chance to say that it wants to move on from the issues of the past.
    The board did not express an opinion on the resolutions while the biggest shareholder, Rio Tinto (53%) voted against them. However a majority of other shareholders who voted, voted in favour of the resolutions.”
    “The fact ordinary shareholders, many of who are Bougainvillian natives, voted for a resolution calling on BCL to appoint an independent person to investigate what happened in the past and make a public report with recommendations about the way forward shows that they appreciate that all the wounds from that time have not healed.”
    “They also voted for BCL to sign on to international agreements which are designed to prevent the sort of disaster that occurred on the Bougainville when the mine was operating. If BCL did this, it would show their commitment to not repeat the mistakes of the past.”
    The PNG government, who owns 19% of BCL, did not vote on any resolutions and has not voted in previous years.
    “This is disturbing. The mine was a major project and the PNG government is a major shareholder. The PNG government has a responsibility to express its views and support positive developments for it as a shareholder and the citizens of PNG who should be the ultimate beneficiaries of any development.” said Ms Caroline Le Couteur.
    BCL operated the Panguna mine at Bougainville between 1972 and 1989. The mine was closed as a result of industrial sabotage by local landowners arguing that the mine polluted the environment and waterways, harmed culture, custom and kinship, killed wildlife, damaged crops, caused illnesses and significant inequalities. The group demanded compensation and the mine closure. The PNG government responded using military force and a blockade, prompting a decade long war leading to 10,000 to 20,000 dying.
    In moving these motions, ACCR is working with Jubilee Australia, an NGO with strong links to development organisations and faith groups in Australia including the National Council of Churches of Australia.
    For further information please contact:
    Caroline Le Couteur Executive Director ACCR
    0405 221 587
    Or our website
    Australian Centre for Corporate Responsibility

    Added 25 August 2016 – see


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