By Mike Puia
MEMBER of Parliament for Aoke/Langalanga, Mathew Wale, has called for a cease to all bauxite mining operations on Rennell Island, Renbel Province.
Mr Wale made this call when staff of the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification (MMERE) appeared before the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recent inquiry.
The outspoken Wale urged staff of the Ministry to bring an amendment to Parliament to address issues relating to bauxite operations on Rennell or cease all bauxite mining operations on the island.
He said it appears the Ministry has been careless when handling this matter.
Wale said the Ministry should not wait on its new law to deal with issues relating to mining on Rennell but treat this issue with urgency by bringing an amendment to Parliament.
“The Ministry must come to Parliament with an amendment to deal specifically with bauxite issues as a matter of urgency,” Wale said.
He described the situation the country is facing with regards to bauxite mining as a “leakage”.
Wale said even if the country is not having issues with cash flow, it is immoral to get minerals out of the country without any legislative oversight or system to test and know what is going out and what returns the country is getting.
He was making reference to statement from staff of the Ministry who revealed that the Ministry has no formula to calculate what the country will get from the bauxites exported.
“I think the Ministry has two options here. You come to Parliament with an amendment urgently or cease all operations on Rennell,” Wale said.
He said the Ministry cannot allow bauxite mining operations to continue on Rennell when it has no law to cater for bauxite mining operations.
“This is a very concerning issue therefore the Ministry must not take it lightly,” Wale said.
Since the commencement of mining on the island in 2014, a total of 47 exports have been made.
On average, about 70,000 of metric tonnes are shipped out in one shipment.