Copper & Gold at Panguna

  • RTG is nominated as the Landowner’s Developer of Choice.
  • Under the Bougainville Mining Act (2015), the Customary Landowners, being members of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (SMLOLA), own not only their land but also the minerals on the surface and below their land at the old Panguna Mine.
  • The SMLOLA was established by the Autonomous Bougainville Government to exclusively represent the Customary Landowners of the land within the original Special Mining Lease which contains the resource endowment of the Panguna Mine.
  • The Panguna Mine was the largest operating copper and gold mine in the world prior to closure. The mine operated for 17 years and produced 3Mt or 6.6Blb of Cu and 9.3Moz of Au.
  • Joint Venture established between the SMLOLA and Central Exploration.
  • RTG owns 70% of Central.

Old Panguna Mine Announced Resources 

Dec 2015* Billion Tonnes Au g/t Cu %
Contained Au
Contained Cu
1.54 0.33 0.3 16.1 4.6 (10.12Blb)
0.3 0.4 0.3 3.2 00.7 (1.54Blb)
Total 1.84 0.34 0.3 19.3 5.3 (11.66 Blb)
Indicated & Inferred Resource Cu Au
1.8Bt 0.3% 0.34g/t
Contained Metal 5.3Mt 19.3Moz
*Resource statement based on announcement from Bougainville Copper Limited on the ASX released Feb 2016
**Equivalent calcs at US$5900/t Cu or $2.68/lb and US$1200/oz Au and calculated before recoveries


45.3 Moz @ 0.80 g/t Au eq**


9.3Mt (20.5Blb) @ 0.52% Cu Eq**

World Class

Whilst in operation, Panguna was the largest porphyry copper mine in the world. The remaining resources are still amongst the world’s largest.

Geological Setting

Solomon Island Ridge

  • Bougainville and the Solomon chain rise from a submarine ridge bounded on both sides by deep sea trenches.
  • Three successive cycles of volcanic activity created the Solomon Island Ridge resulting in repeated accumulations of volcanic rocks from 45M years ago until the present day.

Copper Porphyry

  • The rocks are a mixture of lavas, volcanic breccias and volcanic sediments.
  • Copper mineralization at Panguna was identified in 1961 by Clark as porphyry in style.  Additional porphyry coppers and epithermal mineralization were identified by Dr Rogerson (1989) throughout the island.

The Region

  • Coarser grained intrusive granodiorites and diorites within the volcanic sequences represent the magma cores. These host the copper and gold mineralization on Bougainville (Davies, 1992).
  • Copper and gold mineralisation at Ok Tedi, Frieda River and Wafi are of similar style.

10th Largest Undeveloped Copper-Gold Project

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Source – S&P Global Metals & Mining Properties Database


Ripe for

1975: Bougainville Independence

Bougainville was granted independence from Papua New Guinea in 1975 and is now governed by the Autonomous Bougainville Government ("ABG")

1989: World's Largest Gold/Copper Mine

Bougainville was home to the largest copper/gold mine in the world, the Panguna Mine which operated until 1989. The mine operated for 17 years and produced 3Mt of Cu and 9.3Moz of Au. Landowner concerns with their treatment when the mine was previously operated led to civil unrest and closure of the mine.

2001: Peace Treaty

A peace treaty was signed in 2001.

2015: New Mining Act

A new Mining Act was introduced in 2015. The Mining Act passed ownership of the minerals to the Landowners and requires their consent for land access.

June 2016: Moratorium on Mining Lifted

The moratorium on exploration and mining was removed in June 2016.

June 2016: Rio Transfers Ownership of BCL

In June 2016, Rio Tinto transferred their 54% ownership of BCL to ABG (36.4%) and to PNG (total 36.4% including original 19%).

September 2016: EL1 Granted to BCL Subject to Renewal

Previous operator (BCL) licence expired in September 2016 and subject to a renewal application.

January 2018: Exploration License Renewal Denied

ABG denied BCL renewal application and BCL sued ABG.

March 2018: Moratorium on Exploration License

The ABG issued a moratorium in March over the granting of a new exploration licence covering Panguna until landowners are united.

2018: RTG is Landowner's Developer of Choice

Joint Venture established between the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Land Owners Association (“SMLOLA”) and Central Exploration. The SMLOLA are the landowners that now own the mineral rights at the old Panguna Mine under the new Mining Act. Referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea is currently scheduled for June 2019.

Panguna Project

RTG is the Nominated Development Partner for the Landowner Proposal for the Redevelopment

Strong ABG and Landowner support for recommencement of mining

50/50 joint venture signed with the Landowners in both the old Panguna Mine and Seven Sisters Area (original seven prospecting licences awarded in the 1960s surrounding the Panguna Mine)

ABG initially expressed support for renewing the exploration licence with BCL, which was opposed by Landowners, with ABG denying BCL renewal application in January 2018

BCL sued its 36% shareholder, the ABG, for a Judicial Review of EL renewal denial

Landowners are entitled under the Mining Act to a minimum free carry of 5%

RTG took a consortium of Landowners and ABG Cabinet members to Masbate Mine

Since denial of BCL EL renewal, landowner unity has been achieved with extensive awareness programs to achieve 90% consensus backing RTG development proposal

Medical Supplies for New Arawa District Hospital

Together with the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Association (“SMLOLA”), RTG donated much needed medical supplies to the new Arawa District Hospital, which is soon to be officially opened in Bougainville by the Australian High Commissioner and leading Government officials from both the Autonomous Bougainville Government and Papua New Guinea Government. RTG has been working with the SMLOLA team, who represent the Customary Landowners who own the minerals at the old Panguna Mine and is thankful for the opportunity to work with the team on this project.

Naming Sponsor for Bougainville Day

RTG was pleased to be invited as the major and naming sponsor for the festivities on Bougainville Day in Arawa. Bougainville Day is an annual celebration to commemorate the day on which Bougainville was granted autonomous self-government. The celebration is a community event with backing of local business houses and the Kieta District Administration.

Working with Bougainville Women's Federation

RTG is pleased to be working with the Bougainville Women’s Federation who participated in the national congress of women representatives from throughout Papua New Guinea and Bougainville, focusing on a customary reconciliation of all groups attending to support a peaceful and successful decision on Independence. Most of Central Bougainville is a matrilineal society recognising strongly the importance of the women to the family unit, while also being the customary landowners of much of Bougainville, including the Panguna region.

Support for Bougainville Weapons Disposal Plan

RTG is pleased to provide financial assistance to participants in the recent Central Bougainville Regional Parliamentary Committee Conference held in Arawa in October to assist their Weapons Disposal Plan and Containment Process (launched Q4 2018).