• Bougainville Copper shares up 100% YTD as new MD appointed to steer redevelopment of once world-leading Panguna copper mine
  • Materials stocks hammered as ASX 200 cops a whack
  • Dalian iron ore futures fall as China port stockpiles reach 13 month high


One of Australia’s most infamous mining stocks has had new life breathed into it with the appointment of a new managing director and CFO.

Bougainville Copper (ASX:BOC) is up an astonishing 100% so far this year in a market where most exploration stocks have tanked.

The silver lining which investors have seen is the potential to reopen the Panguna mine in Bougainville, mined between 1969 and 1989 by a subsidiary of Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO).

At one point the largest open cut copper mine in the world, a dispute over environmental damage and racism at the mine merged with Bougainvillean nationalism and morphed into a civil war that last almost a decade.

The PNG Government has now agreed to transfer its 36.4% share free of charge to the Bougainville government and people who between them will hold a 72.8% share in BOC.

The appointment as MD of David Osikore, independent director since 2019 and former MD of Pacific Niugini Minerals, and Johnny Patterson Auna as CFO is the latest step in efforts to return Panguna to operation for the first time in over 35 years.

The Autonomous Bougainville Government granted a five year extension to the Panguna exploration licence in February this year, ahead of planned pre-feasibility studies.

Announcements that senior managers had been appointed saw BOC’s shares lift 7.2% early today before falling back to a 1.45% gain at a market cap of ~$280m.

But hope springs eternal and it is not the first time BOC has gone on a run in recent years.

Its share price surged in February 2022 on media reports that Panguna clans and the Autonomous Bougainville Government were working on a process with landowners to reopen the mine, then again in early February after the renewal of the exploration licence was confirmed.


Bougainville Copper Limited (ASX:BOC) share price today



Dalian tank hits ASX materials hard

But the news wasn’t so bright for the ASX materials sector, down 2.56% as the ASX 200 suffered its worst single day performance in several months.

Surging gold prices couldn’t prevent Northern Star (ASX:NST) from copping a 4.02% hit, while Rio (ASX:RIO) dropped 3.59% and Fortescue (ASX:FMG) fell 3.54%.

Behind the hammering in iron ore was a 3.8% tumble for Dalian iron ore futures, its May contract down almost $5 to a touch under US$118/t (RMB845). Iron ore port stocks in China rose 2% last week to over 141Mt, their highest point since February 2023 according to MySteel.

EV metals stocks like IGO (ASX:IGO), Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) and Lynas (ASX:LYC) were also heavily sold.

Bulk commodities have been waning since last week, when Chinese Premier Li Qiang failed to elucidate any clear stimulus measures to bankroll an ambitious and possibly illusory 5% GDP growth target.


Monstars share prices today