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Bougainville to revive overhaul of mining laws after independence referendum

Credit: REUTERS/HANDOUT

Bougainville Vice President Raymond Masono says he will revive a plan to overhaul the region's mining laws after the independence referendum, which could strip the former operator of the Panguna gold and copper project of its interests.

By Jonathan Barrett

SYDNEY, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Bougainville Vice President Raymond Masono says he will revive a plan to overhaul the region's mining laws after the independence referendum, which could strip the former operator of the Panguna gold and copper project of its interests.

Under the proposed mining law amendments, Bougainville would take a 60% share in all projects and retain all mining licences, leaving a 40% share investors can bid for, Masono told Reuters.

Companies like the former Panguna operator, Bougainville Copper Ltd BOC.AX, which counts the PNG government as a major shareholder and claims the exploration rights at Panguna, would not get "special treatment", Masono said.

A Bougainville parliamentary committee has previously criticised the proposal, and it is likely to face opposition, according to landowners.

(Reporting by Jonathan Barrett in Sydney; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

((Jonathan.Barrett@thomsonreuters.com;))

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