BY BEN BILUA
AN exclusive report has revealed that Isabel Province would have hosted a mini-township if Sumitomo had remained the licence holder of the Isabel Nickel Project.
Source familiar with the report says Sumitomo had long term plans which included transforming their operation site in Isabel Province into a major commercial town.
The source said the opportunity disappeared the day Sumitomo pulled out its investment interest from the country this year.
He said Sumitomo has the power and money to established flourishing towns across Isabel province.
A proposed commercial road from Kia to Buala and feeder roads to both sides of Isabel was also contained in Sumitomo’s plan.
“Most beautiful and attractive tourist destination in the world and also major cities are established after commercial mining development.
“Gold Coast, Australia is one example, we miss this chance and I don’t know if other investors can build a mini-township for Isabel with roads from one end to the other,” the source said.
He said the downfall of Sumitomo Mining Company was due to money minded decisions and corrupt dealings by authorities and landowners – which are shallow actions with no long term benefits for Isabel province.
He continues that the withdrawal of Sumitomo has redmarked the country’s mineral industry in the international arena, discouraging big companies like Sumitomo from taking an interest in investing in Solomon Islands’ mineral.
“Sumitomo is like a big boy in the global mineral industry, they have all the capacity and resource needed to deliver the best operation.
“Now Sumitomo is out and definitely there will be communications between all the mineral companies – most of them are described as big boys that Solomon Islands is not a conducive country to operate.
“This will be a major blow to our mineral industry,” the source said.
He pointed out that mining companies who are trying to operate in the country at the moment are small to medium companies which are struggling to survive in the stock market with very limited experience and resource.
Our source warns the Ministry of Mines and Energy to do more research on mining investors before endorsing any mining application.
“How we going to benefit from our minerals depends on decision from the Ministry of Mines and Energy. We will become losers if this Ministry makes one single mistake on their decisions,” the source said.
He calls on landowners and government of Isabel province to halt any mining development until the Mines and Mineral Act Amendments are passed in Parliament.