Isabel leaders call on Mines to stop playing ‘consultant’


Leaders in Isabel province are calling on the ministry of Mines to stop playing the role of consultant in a controversial mining operation there.

A full scale operation is underway at Suma in Bugotu area Isabel Province following an agreement signed between Solomon Islands Resources Company Limited (SIRCL) and some landowners.

According to reports, Environment Impact Assessment carried out had failed twice but the Ministry is pushing to please the government’s ambition and that is to launch a full-scale mining operation in Isabel.

The report adds that there is no agreement of benefit sharing, let alone a failed term and condition agreement between the company and the landowners – meaning the investor and the government is running away with the benefits.

To date already SIRCL have about 90,000 plus wet metric tonnes of extracted nickel ore at 1.5% nickel to 2% nickel at their designated stock piles at their Suma Mining Project in which to date putting more pressure on Mines Division.

It is said that all the mess behind Isabel Nickel Project is driven by the government through the Ministry of Mines and Energy for acting like a consultation company rather than an institution established to respect the law of the country when comes to fulfilling process according to legal procedures.

Report has it that the push towards fast tracking the nickel mining operation is for economic growth and development of Solomon Islands – a move spearheaded by the Ministry of Mines and Energy without thorough check to make sure everyone including the landowners and other stakeholders are involved.

It states that Mines Division is implementing an “in-country Nickel Mineral Processing and Extraction Project but sadly, there is no involvement of resource owners and that makes the proposed ambition unpopular.

Internal dialogue is currently underway between the Director of Mines and Deputy Director of Mines and mines officials in liaison with Commissioner of Lands to appointing an Acquisition Officer aiming at conducting a brand new land acquisition for all customary land areas being earmarked for nickel mining developments – A process established to invade the EIA process as EIA process failed twice.

While the development will certainly boost the country’s economy, Isabel leaders fear that the project will be similar to bauxite development in Rennell where landowners are still waiting for their benefits.

Isabel leaders now calls on the Ministry of Mines and Energy to stop acting like a consultation company and start doing what is right.

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