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Bougainville Copper Ltd is a copper, gold, and silver mining company that operated the Panguna open cut mine on the island of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The Panguna mine dominated the economy of the island during the 1970s and 1980s, and was highly significant to the overall PNG economy.
The mine closed in 1989 as a result of sabotage by the Bougainville Revolutionary Army and associated forces, which sought Bougainville's secession from PNG.
The company was controlled by CRA Ltd, an Australian company which in turn was dominated by the British mining company Rio Tinto Zinc.
Rio Tinto Group holds 53.6% of Bogainville Copper Ltd., PNG government 19.1%, The European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper (ESBC) 4%, the rest is held publicly. Ninety-five percent of shareholders hold less than 1,000 shares each. Probably a high percentage of the Bougainvillean people are small shareholders of Bougainville Copper Ltd.
The mine nowadays remains closed but rumors about reopening the mine recently proved to be true with the BCL Managing Director P.R. Taylor stating to be interested in reopening the Panguna mine. At the beginning of March 2006 first negotiations between Rio Tinto Group and the PNG Mining Minister Sam Akoitai have been confirmed.
Bougainville Copper Ltd. furthermore holds 7 additional mining licenses on Bougainville which currently remain under a mining moratorium.