The Wall Street Journal reported today that following the passing of new laws in Papua New Guinea’s Bougainville, Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) could be considering an exit from its copper mine in that part of the country.
As quoted in the publication:
Under the legislation, Bougainville Copper—in which Papua New Guinea’s government holds a 19% interest—would lose its mining lease for Panguna. It would be exchanged for an exploration license. Rio Tinto would have to reapply for the lease. ”Rio Tinto has decided now is an appropriate time to review all options for its 54% stake in Bougainville Copper,” said the company, which is reviewing the implications of the mining bill. Private shareholders own 27% of Bougainville Copper. Some economists questioned the mine’s viability if Rio walked away.