17 Jul 2013

Mining executives urge Solomons' Temotu to open up seabed

3:31 pm on 17 July 2013

Mining executives are urging people in Solomon Islands' Temotu province to open up their seabed area for minerals exploration.

The Australia-based Bluewater Metals was granted an exploration licence last year to search for gold in 12 sites near Temotu Province and has said if it is successful, it will upgrade Lata's airport and hospital.

The company's founders, Timothy McConachy and Harvey Cook, say their company is more than ready to extract seabed minerals for the benefit of island nations using safe, environmentally friendly technology.

But our correspondent in Temotu province, George West, says the local people are very unhappy that the national government is allowing undersea mining to go ahead.

"The communities want more consultations and even in the long run maybe they are going to demand some - something for what they think their share of the natural resources is in their seas or bordering their seas."

George West says he understands students are using social networking to organise some sort of protest action.