21 Feb 2015

RIPEL re-opening a priority for Solomons govt

4:56 pm on 21 February 2015

The Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare says a revival of the Russell Islands Plantations Estate Limited is a priority for his government.

He says the government hopes to address some of the underlying issues at the troubled company by the end of this year.

RIPEL, which was once the biggest company in the Solomons, has been riven with disputes for more than ten years involving the foreign owners, the government, unions and workers.

Mr Sogavare says it is almost a national shame the resources of the estate are not being fully utilised.

He says the government has already had talks with the general manager, John Whiteside, to try and find ways to re-commence operations.

Mr Sogavare says there is now strong potential for downstream processing of coconut products and the vast RIPEL estate should be part of this.