It’s 14 years since the war ended over what was once the world’s largest copper mine, at Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, but Dateline has uncovered claims that the PNG government was acting under instruction from mining giant Rio Tinto, when it killed thousands of people who wanted the mine shut down.
The allegations come from PNG’s former Opposition Leader, and now Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, in 2001 court documents obtained by SBS Senior Correspondent Brian Thomson for Dateline.
In them, Somare says the company, and its subsidiary Bougainville Copper Limited, effectively used its wealth to control the government – a claim denied by BCL.
With negotiations now underway to reopen the abandoned mine, could Bougainville be heading for a repeat of the bloody battle over its resources?
WATCH - Click to see Brian’s special report.
WORLD NEWS AUSTRALIA - Brian also did a series of special reports in Bougainville for SBS's World News Australia. They've since won a UN Media Peace Award and were nominated in the 2012 Logies for 'Most Outstanding News Coverage'.
BEHIND THE SCENES - Watch Brian's behind the scenes look at his travels by air, land and sea in PNG and the challenges he faced along the way.
PHOTO GALLERY - Take a look at some more photos from Brian's trip.
On air: 26th June 2011