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Company Response

19 Sep 2022

Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto statement on Panguna Mine Preparatory Phase report

19 September 2022

The Panguna Mine Preparatory Phase report was commissioned by Rio Tinto and the Human Rights Law Centre on behalf of the Panguna Impact Assessment Committee (the Committee) to inform priority areas for the upcoming environmental, social and human rights Impact Assessment. The report identified risks of potential failure of the levee at the former Main/Pump station, and potential flooding events along the Kawerong and Jaba Rivers that have been prioritised for further investigation.

With people’s safety as our first priority, community representatives in Bougainville have been advised of these preliminary findings and the work being undertaken to better understand the risks and mitigations. The Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) has selected Tetra Tech Coffey, who completed the Preparatory Phase report, to complete an on-the-ground assessment which commenced in late August. Rio Tinto is supporting the ABG in gathering further data and is funding the assessment.

The Committee has met five times since its formation in November 2021, with the September 2022 meeting taking place in Buka with representatives from Rio Tinto joining all other Committee members in person for the first time. The tender process to select a third party to conduct the full Impact Assessment is underway and the Committee recently met to select a vendor. The Impact Assessment is due to commence on the ground this year and will provide all parties with a clearer understanding of the impacts, so that together we can consider the right way forward.

Further information is available at https://www.riotinto.com/en/news/panguna-mine