Former combatants still occupy ground around Bougainville's enormous open-cut Panguna mine site, which has not seen mining activity since 1989, when Papua New Guinean forces attempted to reassert control over its province and the mine, which once contributed 20 per cent of PNG's annual income.
The civil war, which came about in part due to a demand from Bougainville rebels for higher mine royalties, and their anger at natural destruction, resulted in an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 deaths.
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Since then, Bougainville has rebranded itself the Autonomous Bougainville Government, and is moving towards an independence referendum within five years.
For years, BCL has been accused of providing equipment that assisted PNG forces in attacking the rebels. BCL chairman, Peter Taylor, denies it, and remains optimistic the mine could reopen in five years.
Source: The telegraph