Mining company jumps the gun in Isabel

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SOLOMON Islands Resources Company (SIRC) has constructed wharf, pad and road in Suma, Isabel province without a Mining Lease (ML) to extract nickel.

Minister of Mines and Mineral is mandated to grant ML to a prospecting company on recommendation from the Mines and Mineral Board after the company complies with all the processes.

The processes the company needs to complete in order to receive ML are acquisition, exploration, evaluation, commercial discovery, environment and social impact assessment, land acquisition and feasibility study.

Director of Mines, Nicholas Biliki told journalists during the reporting workshop on extractive industries and endemic species in Solomon Islands, that SIRC is ready to launch its Feasibility study.

Biliki said it has engaged an Australia consultancy firm to review the Feasibility following a lot of recommendations.

He said it is highly likely the company can get its ML this year and go on with its construction and extraction.

However, Biliki said from information the company had already built wharf, road and pad for extraction.

SIRC is owned by logger, Garry Cheah.

On the other hand, Biliki said Solomon Islands Mining Company Ltd has submitted its Feasibility Study on the mine at Siruka in Choiseul province.

He said the company is still working on its environment impact assessment study.

However, Biliki said the company is expected to start construction and extraction next year.

SIMCL is owned by Filipino businessman Johnny Sy who is also the Director of the Samlimsan Logging Company.

The proposed mines at Suma and Siruka are part of the mining projects the government wanted to fastrack in June 2020 to earn revenues because of the impact caused by covid-19.

Suma has estimated deposits of 10 million tonnes of nickel while Siruka has 90 million tonnes of nickel ores.

The Goldridge Mining on Central Guadalcanal is currently in operation while the government abandoned the bauxite mining on West Rennel by Winning Resources Limited because it did not meet some requirements.