Time running out to stop prospecting on Ngella

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BY BARNABAS MANEBONA

TIME is now running out for Ngella in Central Islands Province (CIP) to stop mining prospecting on their island.

This comes after Ngella landowners and Chiefs signed a surface agreement on prospecting last month, July 23, along Sandfly Passage with SOLFISH Company causing stir of conflict amongst the indigenous people of the island not wanting such activity to take place there.

The only hope to stop the operation to take place now falls under the mining regulations that other members of the same land area signed may object within 30 days being a requirement under ‘The Mines and Minerals Regulation 1996’.

Taking on this task now is the famous Ngella Forum (NGF) Team who are to facilitate signings of objection from family members within the land signed to operate on. Out of the agreement signings that took place last month, 48 out of 53 participants signed the agreement having five ignoring it.

According to Mr Kenneth Sagupari on behalf of NGF to Island Sun yesterday, they will be focusing on North Ngella’s side along Mboli and Belagha Districts because it is most Chiefs from there who had signed the surface access prospecting agreement with SOLFISH Company.

“If we do not make the appeal then the Ministry of Mines will issue the license. As soon as the Ministry issue’s the license then CIP’s Provincial Government will have to issue the licence because the company has completed the process and there is no reason the Provincial Government will not have to issue the license,” said NGF Team worrying.

CIP’s Provincial Government on the other hand feels uncomfortable with the recent signings confirming in standing ground to not issue the business license for the prospecting to take place being understood that they are even yet to complete the assessment over logging impacts in Ngella too.

The Premier Hon Patrick Vasuni stressed that when they are yet finding ways to totally ban logging on Ngella and come up with plans in how to replant forest trees and such after damages to trees and the environment have taken place, mining activities will only disturb their aim.

“How come will we accept mining or prospecting activities to take place on Ngella when logging has already caused negative impacts on the island causing us yet to re-solve the destruction it has left behind on our island,” said the Premier.

On focusing, the priority now on this task is the appeal of the signatures that will make sure the Ministry of Mines does not issue the license.

By 22nd of this month August, the 30 days for any objection should be lapsed meaning time is running out before Ngella will experience an unsure future concerning their environment.

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