Traffic incident halts meeting

Turarana river, where the WinWin mining company is operating.
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THE traffic accident at Tenaru, east of Honiara, on Wednesday night which resulted in five people confirmed dead has affected the meeting between Win Investment Ltd and Turarana Landowners Taskforce and other leaders.

The meeting was scheduled at Henderson Police Post conference room from 10am to 12 noon yesterday.

However, the meeting could not take place because the vehicle involved in the accident belongs to a person in Turarana village.

Therefore, people in Turarana could not travel down town at this time to avoid any dispute with relatives of the deceased.

The so-called Taskforce called the meeting for the company to clarify outstanding issues and due payment need to be settled relating to the mining operation on Turarana tenement.

One of the Directors of Win Win, Charles Meke said a new date will be set for the meeting because of the traffic accident.

The taskforce said failure to meet with them, the company expect to see all four tribes would stage a road block on 13th July, which is the deadline of the 14 days’ notice issued on 29th June to Win Win.

Win Win does not recognize the existence of Taskforce as it was set up outside the 24 trustees of Turarana where Win Win signed the Surface Access Agreement and Surface Access Rights Agreement with them.

In a letter sent to the Managing Director of Win Win mining Company Ltd on 1st July, the four landowning tribes (Garavu, Lasi, Koe’naho and Manuki) tribes who owns the Turarana tenement where the company is operating, agreed on this during their extra ordinary meeting held at Turarana village on Wednesday 30th June.

Some of the log of claims which are dued payments are:

1.            Premium – $26,000 (Surface Access Agreement)

2.            Access fee – $250,000 (SAA)

3.            Rental payments – $1,000/square kilometer multiply 12 square kilometer – (2018-2021)

4.            Campsite payment – $3,000 per month from 2018-2021

5.            Pits

6.            Damages

However, Elemelek Vamule, mines officer in the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification confirmed the royalty payments of the landowners are still with Central Bank of Solomon Islands.

Vamule said CBSI can only release the payments once the landowners sorted out their land boundaries and open a bank account.

He said so far there were 19 shipments of the minerals made so far and the company overseas has already paid eight shipments to CBSI.

Vamule said this is in accordance with Mines and Mineral Act that payments must be made within three months on the day of shipment.

Further to that, he said regarding information of the company’s operation, no one can access it because of its confidentiality and its property.

Vamule said under the Mines and Mineral Act, the ministry cannot issue the information of the company until it loses its tenement and move out after three months.

Meke said Bred Bank has willing to help open accounts for the company, 24 trustees and the employees.

Meke said work is ongoing to sort out the land boundaries on the tenement as well.

Win Win has extracted alluvial deposits on the stream beds of Mamasa and Turarana to get the minerals, especially gold.

The company started operations on Mamasa in October 2019, however the company discovered the tenement had low alluvial deposits on its stream beds.

Win Win is now operating on Turarana which is believed to have high alluvial deposits.