The premier of Solomon Islands' Temotu province says until he receives proof that seabed mining is environmentally unsafe, he will not stand in the way of it taking place in the region.
The comment follows reports that local people are unhappy the national government has granted a licence to an Australian company, Bluewater Metals, to do exploratory drilling for gold in the seas off Temotu province.
But Father Charles Brown Beu says there is no evidence to show that undersea mining will have any impact on either fish or the marine environment.
"If the people are made aware of these things in no uncertain terms most definitely people will welcome this. It's only because they still do not understand and it's not easy to understand these things, it is the first time ever in Solomon Islands."
Father Charles Brown Beu says if there is any sign that the mining is unsafe the onus is on the national government to put a stop to it.