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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

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Solomons Official Warns Against Marine Mineral Exploration
Mining exploration ‘threat’ to environment, says Maelanga

By Denver Newter

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 17, 2012) – Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga has appealed to resource owners in the Solomon Islands not to support underwater mineral exploration.

He was referring to Temotu Province’s decision to invite an Australian exploration company, Blue Water Mining Company, to search for potential minerals within its waters.

Mr. Maelanga said underwater mineral exploration is a threat to the sea environment.

"I urge resource owners not to support this type of development," he told the Solomon Star in an interview yesterday.

He said the government finds it hard to deal with exploration companies operating on land.

"If under-water exploration is allowed around the country, it would be very difficult for the government to control."

He said the nation must protect its waters from potential pollution from under-water exploration.

Temotu Premier Fr. Brown Beu said his executive had granted Blue Water a license to search for minerals in waters between Vanikoro island and Vanuatu.

He said the company had promised to upgrade Lata airport and the province’s hospital as part of the deal.

Solomon Star
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