Mining executives urge Solomons' Temotu to open up sea bed
Mining executives urge Solomons' Temotu to open up sea bed.
Mining executives are urging people in Temotu province in Solomon Islands to open up their sea bed 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 Mr Harvey Cook - say their company is more than ready to extract seabed minerals for the benefit of island nations using safe, environmentally friendly technology.
Our correspondent in Temotu province, George West, told Annell Husband the local people are angry with the government for granting a mining licence without talking to the community.
GEORGE WEST: Most of these complaints by the people are to do with legislation, the laws of the country, so they are best addressed by their national leaders and provincial leaders. But at the moment, or at this time, what is available to the community... there's nothing available. The company, or any company, can go through the national government, get prospecting licenses, even mining licenses, and extract minerals in the provinces in the communities. The state owns everything under the top-soil.
ANNELL HUSBAND: So what is at risk in Temotu if this mining does go ahead?
GW: The people have a lot of assumptions, fears, about what might happen if something goes wrong during the mining. The main fear involves damaging their livelihoods - the coastal areas and the reefs.
AH: The company has assured people, though, that their technologies are completely safe, hasn't it?
AH: But people don't believe that?
GW: People, maybe they don't believe that, or they do not know it. But the people have heard, have read, about events in other countries, in other places. Even in Honiara - the people are aware of what's going on there, those ... failings out there, and people fear such things happening in Temotu.
AH: Is there going to be any sort of action to stop the mining company going ahead and doing the prospecting work?
GW: At the moment there are no legal avenues to stop the companies doing this?
GW: People can petition, people can march, but there are no legal avenues. Maybe they can use political leaders on a national level, but the political leaders, the provincial government are just like lame ducks.
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