16 Nov 2005

Solomons plantation to hire 1,000 workers

5:13 pm on 16 November 2005

A new company which has opened up oil palm plantations in Guadalcanal province in Solomon Islands is now engaging 1,000 workers to rehabilitate and reconstruct a mill, the headquarters and workers' houses.

They were badly damaged in the ethnic tension which broke out in 1999.

The agriculture minister, Enele Kwanairara, told parliament today, of the 1,000 workers, eighty per cent of them would be from Guadalcanal province.

He says Malaysian engineers are being engaged to help with the mill's rebuilding, which should be ready for use by next May or June.

But he says the company's headquarters should be completed before Christmas, adding both buildings need a lot of work to be carried out on them.

The new company, Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil limited, jointly owned by the Papua New Guinea-based New Britain palm oil limited, and the landowners, is building 50 houses for its new labour force.

Mr Kwanairara says 2,000 hectares of the oil plantation are being replanted with 190,000 seedlings,