By Alfred Sasako
THE West Rennell Council of Chiefs – the governing body with oversight over the bauxite mining operations on their land – has categorically denied their Chairman Eric Tema is authorised to speak on their behalf on matters relating to APID/Bintan Mining SI Ltd mining operations on West Rennell.
The Council of Chiefs disclosed this in a paid advertisement, which appears in today’s newspaper.
“APID understands that Mr Tema is the chairman of the West Rennell Council of Chiefs. However, it has been informed that Mr Tema’s comments regarding APID, its operations on West Rennell and the grant of Mining Lease (ML) 01/14 to it … were not authorised by the Council of Chiefs or shared by the majority of its members,” the advertisement said.
It said APID denies the allegations, adding they are “untrue and highly defamatory.”
“APID denies the unfounded allegations of corruption and wrongdoing asserted by Mr Tema and asks that he cease making unauthorised and unfounded comments regarding it,” it said.
The advertisement said while APID welcome and indeed invites a review “of the processes for the grant of Mining Leases in the future, it denies that there is any basis to review the grant of ML 01/14 to it.”
“The grant of ML 01/14 to APID has been tested in various proceedings before the High Court. The grant of ML 01/14 to APID has been vindicated in those proceedings.”
As such APID has rejected any suggestion to engage in any discussions with Mr Tema about the grant of ML 01/14, adding Mr Tema’s continued call for discussions ”is unnecessary.”
“APID is not obliged to engage in any discussions with Mr Tema about the grant of ML 01/14,” the advertisement said.
“Mining is an important activity for the economy of Solomon Islands and arbitrary interventions without proper grounds to attempt to suspend operations does not assist it or its promotion internationally.
It denies any connection or correlation between the activities of APID and BMSI and the activities of Worldlink Resources.
“Mr Tema, it said, is associated with Worldlink Resources.”
“The fact that the Ministry of Mines, Energy & Rural Electrification has seen fit to issue a show cause notice to Worldlink Resources and to subsequently cancel the mining lease that was granted to it and that the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management & Meteorology have also seen fit to suspend the Development Consent that was granted to Worldlink does not mean that the same should occur to APID or BMSI.
“Each company is and should be judged on its own merits and by its own actions or inactions. APID and BMSI have complied and will continue to comply with the obligations imposed on them,” the advertisement said.
The advertisement said both companies look forward to “continuing their operations and engaging openly with all relevant stakeholders.”