By EDDIE OSIFELO
MINISTRY of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification has made its stand clear during discussion on the Blue Economy Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with China.
The Solomon Islands Government and Peoples Republic of China (PRC) is still to formalise the MOU, which covers various field of industries.
These include fisheries, marine, infrastructures, energy and exploration and development of offshore oil, gas and mineral resources plus deep-sea mining.
Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet recently said the Blue Economy MOU is a normal bilateral development initiative and at present it is in the consultation process with six other line government ministries.
MMERE Permanent Secretary Dr Christopher Vehe said his ministry has no issue with the Blue Economy MOU.
He said the MOU can go but they are certain that Acts and Regulations in the ministry will take care of implementation of any projects.
“For example, if it is to do with mining, it has to follow the process of the Mines and Mineral Act.
“If it is do with Petroleum, it has to follow the Petroleum Act and same for energy as well,” Dr Vehe said.
Furthermore, Dr Vehe, who holds a doctorate in Geology, states there is no legislation in the country on Deep Sea mining.
As such, he said Solomon Islands is not ready to welcome deep sea mining.
The OPMC statement highlighted that at the end of the day the beneficiaries of the Blue Economy MOU will be Solomon Islanders and anyone who opposed it is a stumbling block to the economic development and welfare of the people.
Government has repeated with emphasis that it remains stand firm to regional unity, maintains its respect for each other’s sovereignty, and will continue to explore pathways for development partnerships for the common good of the Pacific family.
The OPMC statement reiterated that the MOU is still work in progress and government did not flinch one bit about the document’s revelation, as the MOU is fully compliant to national and international laws and treaties.
“In the event that the MOU is signed by PRC government and the government respectively, its implementation will have to comply with other statutory obligations as required by our domestic laws and regulations,” the statement reiterated.