Miner clarifies Isabel tenement

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By EDDIE OSIFELO

NEW shareholder company, Hangzhou Gowin Mineral Product Ltd, has clarified the nickel operation by the former Solomon Islands Resources Company Limited (SIRCL) and operator, New Asia on Suma tenement, Isabel province.

This was after landowners called Three Brothers objected the transfer of shares from Hong Kong based New Origin which owned SIRCL and New Asia to another Hong Kong company, Hangzhou Gowin Mineral Product Ltd.

The Three Brothers wanted to stop the transfer of shares between both Hong Kong investors because of Hangzhou’s link to the controversial Win Win Win Investment Mining Limited that carried out alluvial mining on Turarana in Central Guadalcanal.

They accused Win Win company of trying to smuggle 1.7kg of gold in January 2020 and its alleged failure to address issues such as Corporate Social Responsibility of landowners.

However, General Manager of SIRCL, Charles Meke has rebutted the allegations because the 1.7kg of gold are released back to Win Win and should not be an issue any more.

He said Win Win is doing alluvial mining on Turarana, while SIRCL carries out nickel prospecting on Suma tenement.

Meke said the management and shareholders of SIRCL and Win Win are two different entities.

Furthermore, the Director said Suma landowners’ demand sent to Mines Division over the range of $100,000 US for the company to pay is highly questionable.

“The landowners have signed a document with former SIRCL in the Surface Access Agreement, therefore they should negotiate for such rates in the past,” he said.

Meke said such demand by the landowners need to be sorted out by the landowners, company and the Mines Division.

Director Meke said according to Company laws, Hangzhou Gowen Mineral Product automatically owns SIRCL and New Asia after it bought the 100 percent shares from New Origin.

He said the Foreign Investment Division and the Company Haus in the Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration have also approved the change of names already.

The Director said the Minister of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification, Bradley Tovosia has also approved the transfer of shares already.

He said currently they are waiting for the Attorney General to endorse the transfer of shares between New Origin and Hangzhou and the granting of Mining Lease for the company to carry out mining on Suma Tenement.

SIRCL held a Prospecting License over Suma tenement after it signed a Surface Access Agreement (SAA) with the landowners.

It is currently waiting for the Attorney General to grant the Mining Lease to allow SIRCL to get the Surface Access Rights to carry out mining on Suma land.

Further to that, Director Meke said SIRCL has also signed a SAA with landowners of Tenement D and Tenement E after number of consultations were held with them.

Due to Government’s fastrack policy to start mining operation to help the economy due to the COVID-19, the investor decided to maintain SIRCL and operator New Asia in Isabel rather than incorporating two new companies.

He said it will be a long process to go back to start engagement with landowners to get the Surface Access Agreement under a new business entity.

Currently the Government has hired two lawyers, Steward Tabo to deal with the three Brothers namely Martin Tango, Willie Denimana and Hugo Bugoro while Whitlam Togamae lawyer negotiates with Isabel Provincial Government.

The Director said once they get the approval of the Mining Lease from the Attorney General, they will go to the three Brothers to negotiate for Surface Access Rights to commence mining operation on Suma.

He said they had held three meetings with the Three Brothers already following three trips to Suma.

Meke said an audience was also held with  Isabel Premier and Deputy Premier last Thursday.

On the other hand, the Three Brothers highlighted in a document the allegations that SIRCL is not a genuine prospecting or mining company.

These include:

  1. lack of expertise,
  2. poor feasibility study,
  3. false promise by Garry Cheah of a package to landowners never eventuates after they signed the SAA;
  4. landowners given employment opportunities only as securities,
  5. cleaners while the Asian occupied rest of the jobs,
  6. SIRCL failure to protect the environment after carried out excavation on the land and
  7. lack of consultation with the three brothers.

However, Meke said these allegations fell under the former administration of SIRCL and not the new administration after the transfer of shares done between the two investors.

“Landowners should not refer to the old SIRCL because the company is still to carry out operation on the ground.

“Landowners have no right to criticize company that never go into the land as yet. To criticize the investor is unfair,” he added.


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