Rumbles from the Pacific – a new Bougainville play? « Mining Blog

Rumbles from the Pacific – a new Bougainville play?

10. May 2012,

Loch, Shefsky & Brennan…Sounds like a law firm?

Actually these are the names of three venture capitalists who have diversified from oil exploitation in Alberta, Canada, into hard rock mining ventures in the south Pacific, under the title Morumbi Resources.

What’s controversial about their initiative is that they have managed to secure deals with indigenous landowners on Bougainville, which give them a 15% share in potentially highly lucrative mining plays on the island.

Bougainville was the site of the bloodiest mining-related conflict ever in the region, which started in 1988 when a landowner sabotaged part of the Panguna copper-gold operations managed by Rio Tinto, and it lasted a decade.

The war and accompanying blockade by Papua New Guinean forces cost the lives of around 20,000 people – mainly children and women.

Although relative peace has returned to the island, which is ruled by an interim autonomous government, Rio Tinto has so far not returned to Bougainville.

However, five landowner groups are now working with Morumbi Resources, envisaging a start-up for other mines.

The move is controversial, not only because there is still heated disagreement between the landowners over whether the country should return to reliance on mineral extraction, but because Bougainville is by no means bereft in agricultural resources.

For further details of Morumbi, see:

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