By EDDIE OSIFELO
A leading academic Dr Transform Aqorau has offered some advice on how to screen so-called mining companies applying for licences.
This came after Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification is screening the application of Nickel Enterprise SI Limited (NESI) showing interest to do bauxite mining on West Rennell.
Dr Aqorau, CEO, iTuna Intel and Founding Director, Pacific Catalyst and a legal adviser to Marshall Islands posted on Facebook that it is not rocket science.
âAsk for their profit and loss accounts; any financial statements if they are listed on a stock exchange somewhere, and ask them to produce evidence of prior mining overseas,â he said.
âMany of these so-called mining companies we are seeing are bogus companies with no history of mining, but because the governance arrangement surrounding mining has become so politically charged, it is a mess,â he said.
Aqorau, who was the former CEO of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement Office said it happens when politicians and ministers allow themselves to be controlled by these Asians (no insult and harm meant).
He said the last genuine mining company that would have set the standard was Sumitomo but they gave up and left.
âNicolas Biliki was given early retirement when he tried to follow the law and apply tighter controls on applications etc but these Asians ran to the Prime Minister Office and Nicolas was asked to retire early.
âWhat about the resource owners, what about those who own the land? What effort is there to protect them?â he asked.
Aqorau, also a visiting Professor at Solomon Islands National University at the newly established Institute of Ocean, Islands, and Sustainable Development, said a mining company that uses a law firm as its address is the first indication when due diligence is done, that it probably does not have a known track record of mining.
âIt is simple, ask for their profit and loss account, and ask Interpol to investigate if they have any mining experience where they come from.
âThe case of Solfish going into mining is a classic example. It is just a grab. Get a few wantoks from China, form a JV and lets mine the crap out of Solomon Islands,â he said.
âNever mind about their laws. Just give their politicians and Ministers stacks of cash.
âThey are always broke and need money, so just pay them to ransack their system,â he said.
Dr Aqorau said it is time people and our younger generation stand up and revolt against this practice.
âOur Ministers, Cabinet and Caucus are taking us to the cleaners on resources that do not belong to them.
âWhere are the youths, where are our university students? Can’t you see your future is being stuffed?â