18 Jul 2013

Onus on government if seabed mining unsafe, says Temotu premier

7:02 pm on 18 July 2013

The premier of Solomon Islands' Temotu province says if seabed mining in his region turns out to be enviromentally unsafe, the onus will be on the national government to put a stop to it.

The government has granted the Australian company Bluewater Metals a seven-year licence to prospect for gold in waters bordering those of the province.

Local people are reported to be unhappy about mining going ahead but Father Charles Brown Beu says there is no proof that undersea extraction poses any environmental risks.

"At this point in time all I can say is that perhaps we give it a try and if it doesn't work then perhaps it would be an area where maybe in the future we wouldn't allow it in any other places in Solomon Islands. We try and take the risk."

Father Charles Brown Beu says Bluewater Metals has promised to upgrade the provincial capital's hospital and assist with the upgrade of the airport to international standard, as well as to assist wherever possible.