Film by Dom Rotheroe
The Coconut Revolution documents the world’s first successful eco-revolution. Sick of seeing their environment ruined and their people exploited, the indigenous people of Bougainville Island united against the Papua New Guinea army to stop mining giant, Rio Tinto Zinc.
A David and Goliath story for the 21st century.
This 2001 film by Dom Rotheroe won several awards:
Winner: Grand Prize, FICA Festival of Environmental Film, Brazil
Winner: BEMA Richard Keefe Memorial Award – WWF
Winner: Golden Kite, Best Documentary, Mar del Plata, Argentina
Winner: Silver Kite, Best Film for Young People, Argentina
BEMA Best Documentary, runner-up
Amnesty International Awards, Best Documentary, runner-up
One World Media Awards 2001, TV Documentary, runner-up
However, the autonomous island government is caving, per industry reports. The mine is expected to be reopened within 3-5 years, according to Papua New Guinea Industry News:
Rio behind Bougainville civil war: Somare
June 29, 2011
RIO Tinto was directly involved in military operations against rebels on Bougainville Island as part of its aim to reopen the giant Panguna copper-gold mine, according to an affidavit reportedly made by Sir Michael Somare.
The civil war ended 14 years ago, but an ongoing class action case against Rio in the US was supported by Somare back when he was opposition leader in 2001.
Obtained by SBS’ Dateline program, Somare allegedly stated that the financial influence of Rio Tinto and its subsidiary Bougainville Copper Limited resulted in control of the PNG government.
“The government of PNG followed Rio Tinto’s instructions and carried out its requests,” Somare reportedly said in his affidavit.
“BCL was also directly involved in the military operations on Bougainville, and it played an active role. BCL supplied helicopters, which were used as gunships, the pilots, troop transportation, fuel, and troop barracks.”
Somare further stated that the PNG government would not have taken military action without Rio’s activity on the island.
BCL executive chairman Peter Taylor told SBS Somare’s allegations were baseless, however, former head of the PNG Defence Force Jerry Singarok told the program that Rio had a lot of influence over the decision-making process.
Read more at PNG Industry News