What happened at Bougainville

SBS World News Australia reports that BougaInville copper mine, one of the world’s largest deposits of copper, could open if past combatants could be fairly compensated.

The report also alleges new complicity in the conflict that cost the lives of around 15,000 to 20,000 people.

The open pit mine was established in Papua New Guinea in the early 1970s by Bougainville Copper Limited, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto ( NYSE:RIO). While operating, it accounted for 20% of the country’s national budget.

However, local residents did not feel fairly compensated and they claimed their land around the mine was being adversely affected by pollution. Unaddressed grievances escalated to open revolt. The mine was closed in 1989 after civil war broke out.

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