NEW AGREEMENT NEEDED TO RESTART BOUGAINVILLE

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PANGUNA MINE

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (February 2, 1998 - Niuswire/The National)---Bougainville Copper Ltd. will require a new agreement between the company and shareholders before mining can resume at the multi-million Panguna mine, according to the company secretary, Paul Coleman.

However, the company does not want to jeopardize the Bougainville peace initiatives by prematurely raising questions concerning the future of the mine, he said.

Mr. Coleman made the remarks while announcing a K1.4 million ($US 790,000) profit for the year ending December 31, 1997.

Mr. Coleman said access to the mine site at Panguna to enable a detailed review of the company's assets has not been possible.

When the conditions on Bougainville permit, an assessment of the economic viability of restarting operations will be undertaken, he said.

Mr. Coleman said the net profit of K1.4 million for the year was based on actual transactions for the year. No provisions have been made for depreciation and amortization and no further provisions have been made for deterioration, damage and pilferage of assets over K350 million ($US 198 million) provided in 1991.

It is emphasized that even with resumption of operations, a major write-off of assets from the pre-closure value may be required, he said. Accordingly, the 1991 provision of K350 million may eventually prove to be an inadequate sum with which to reflect the loss in value of the company's assets.

On this basis, the net carrying value of fixed assets at the balance date was K200.1 million ($US 112.96 million) and the cash balance was K63 million ($US 35.56 million), he said.

Mr. Coleman said "of particular interest to the company is the encouraging move towards peace on Bougainville."

He said the meetings in Burnham, New Zealand, which resulted in the signing of the "Burnham Truce" and the "Burnham Declaration Monitoring Group" and the recent talks held at Lincoln University have provided hope that sustainable peace is possible.

"Notwithstanding the encouraging prognosis for peace on Bougainville and the company's commitment to the peace process, we remain cautious about an early return to Panguna.

"The first and paramount issue is a sustainable peace settlement. The company does not want to jeopardize the current peace initiatives by prematurely raising questions concerning the future of the Panguna mine.

"It is recognized that any return to production at Panguna will require an agreement between the company and shareholders on the terms under which mining can be carried out," he said.

Title -- 1140 BOUGAINVILLE: New deed needed for Panguna Date -- 2 February 1998 Byline – None Origin -- Niuswire Source -- The National (PNG), 30/1/98 Copyright -- The National Status -- Unabridged

This document is for educational and personal use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source for reprinting. This service is provided by Journalism Studies, University of Papua New Guinea. Please acknowledge NIUSWIRE.

Queries: niusedita@pactok.net.au http://www.pactok.net.au/docs/nius/

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