- Mining company Rio Tinto said it had agreed with community members in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea to assess the environmental and human rights impacts of the the Panguna mine, which ceased operating in 1989.

A joint committee of stakeholders would be chaired by an independent facilitator, with representatives invited to join from Papua New Guinea, Bougainville Copper and other landowners and community representatives.

'This is an important first step towards engaging with those impacted by the legacy of the Panguna mine,' Rio Tinto chief executive Jakob Stausholm said.

'Stakeholders have raised concerns about impacts to water, land and health and this process will provide all parties with a clearer understanding of these important matters, so that together we can consider the right way forward.'

'We take this seriously and are committed to identifying and assessing any involvement we may have had in adverse impacts in line with our external human rights and environmental commitments and internal policies and standards.'

The impact assessment would be predominantly funded by Rio Tinto with Bougainville Copper contributing separately.

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