Rio Tinto exits Bougainville Copper Limited

Rio Tinto exits Bougainville Copper Limited

Rio Tinto (LSE:RIO) has transferred its 53.8% shareholding in Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) to an independent trustee.

Equity Trustees Limited will manage the distribution of these shares between the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) for the benefit of all Panguna landowners and the people of Bougainville and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The ABG has the opportunity to receive 68% of Rio Tinto’s shareholding from the intendent trustee.

ABG and PNG will both hold an equal share of BCL, ensuring both are equally involved in the Panguna mine.

“Our review looked at a broad range of options and by distributing our shares in this way we aim to provide landowners, those closest to the mine, and all the people of Bougainville a greater say in the future of Panguna,” said Chris Salisbury, Rio Tinto Copper & Coal chief executive. “The ultimate distribution of our shares also provides a platform for the ABG and PNG Government to work together on future options for the resource.”

Rio Tinto will give the required six months’ notice today to terminate the arrangement.