Nende community celebrates victory over bauxite mining on their land
By Alfred Sasako
THEY are little known even in their own native Solomon Islands. But members of the community on the tiny island of Nende in Temotu province are today celebrating a rare victory.
An Australian-based company had just lost its bauxite prospecting licence over the community’s land.
Reports say the Nende Community has been fighting for three years to keep Pacific Bauxite out of their community. They got just that.
It is not clear whether there are provisions in the Mines and Minerals Board for an appeal.
Work by Australian exploration companies in the 1960s, and the British and Solomon Islands geological surveys up to and including the early 1980s, identified bauxite deposits in residual soils on up-lifted limestone reef platforms on Nende.
Pacific Bauxite began extensive auger drilling and pit sampling there in 2016.
Large bauxite deposits were discovered.
Highlights of the company’s work show:
- First phase auger drilling and pit sampling confirms extensive bauxite mineralisation at the Nendo Project;
- Identified areas of mineralisation are significantly larger than historically defined;
- Main area is approximately 12km x 12km and growing;
- Average results from all samples include:
- 21 percent Aluminium Oxide and 1.7 percent rx Silicon Oxide (for Laboratory results +40 percent Aluminium Oxide & <5 percent rx Silicon Oxide)
- 35 percent Aluminium Oxide and 4.22 percent tot Silicon Oxide (for Field XRF results +40 percent Aluminium Oxide & <7 percent tot Silicon Oxide
- Deposit exhibits average depths of +3 metres, with some areas +6metres
- Strong public support for Project activities – ongoing community engagement and awareness
- Pacific Bauxite is targeting high-quality bauxite amenable to direct shipping and low-cost development
The results were announced by the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) on July 7, 2016.
At the time it said it identified the presence of widespread high-quality bauxite mineralisation over a large area on the western end of Nendo Island.
The main target area presently defined by this work is approximately 12km by 2km and remains open to the east, within similar terrain.
“Results indicate the tenor of [Aluminium Oxide] content is fairly consistent, with little variation throughout the soil profile.”
“Importantly, results show that mineralisation has low impurities and low reactive silica content,” the report said.
“The Company believes there is good potential to identify large areas of high-grade direct shipping bauxite mineralisation within the Project area.”
Field XRF Results for Al2O3
“The result of the Company’s initial phase of reconnaissance exploration attempted to cover as much ground as possible in the shortest period of time, without a particular focus on areas of potentially higher grade mineralisation.”
On May 19, 2016, the Australian Stock Exchange announced that Pacific Bauxite had commenced field work at the Nendo Bauxite Project.
The exploration program formed part of the due diligence process for the Company’s option to acquire a 50 per cent interest in private company Eight South Investments Pty Ltd. Eight South, formerly Au Capital Mining Pty Ltd was the holder of the mineral tenure over the Project.
A condition precedent of the agreement with Eight South is that the initial exploration activities completed by Pacific Bauxite identify the capacity for the Nendo Project to host resources of a minimum eight million tonnes of bauxite at greater than 45 percent total Aluminium Oxide and less than 5 percent total SiO2 (Silicon Oxide or silica).
Pacific Bauxite’s recent phase of exploration included sampling of hand-dug pits and hand-auger holes to test the residual soil profile in areas historically identified as favourable for bauxite deposits.
The Company said then that its personnel have worked closely with the local people to identify areas of high-quality bauxite which are amenable to low-cost development.