16 Aug 2007

Solomons' Government told to sort land acquisition before nickel mining allowed in Isabel

7:18 pm on 16 August 2007

Nickel mining is a serious prospect in Isabel Province in Solomon Islands, but the Premier, Rueben Dotho, says he fears violence unless the national government sorts out landownership issues first.

He says five companies want to mine the province's substantial nickel deposits.

But the Premier says it is up to the national government to properly carry out the land acquisition process before land is leased to the miners.

Mr Dotho says the acquisition process would clearly identify the rightful owners.

"At the moment we have so many people who claim to be the customary owners of the land, But unless we get the national government to call for a legal acquisition of this customary land, we won't be able identify the legitimate owners of these specific areas."