Caretaker PM questions granting of Mining Lease to APID – Allgations surface.
Quoting the Island Sun newspaper – 8 March 2018
“PRIME Minister Rick Houenipwela has questioned the granting of mining lease by Mines and Mineral Board to Asia Pacific Investment Development (APID) in January 2014.
“This enabled APID to contract Bintan Mining Solomon Islands (BMSI) to do bauxite mining on Rennell Island.
“I am concerned that adequate checks and balances may not have been complied with in the process of granting the mining lease to the primary company – APID in January 2014.
“APID is also holder of the Development Consent that underpinned the granting of the licence by the Minerals and Mining Board,” PM told the media yesterday.
“I am informed that the mining Lease may have been granted to APID without proper procedures being followed, and that the area approved far exceeds that provided under the Act.
“I am also informed of other irregularities in relation to consultation and vetting requirements,” he said.”
“A further concern is that APID does not have any capability and / or expertise in Mining – raising the question why the development consent and the mining lease was granted to it.
“This concern is validated by the fact that APID contracted Bintan Mining Solomon Islands to conduct the mining operations in Rennell,” he said.
“I have instructed the Director of Mines to undertake a full review of the process involved in the assessment and award of the Mining Lease to APID.
“I have also instructed the Director of Environment to conduct a similar assessment on how or why such an accident and its impact on the environment could not have been foreseen.
“I have also instructed the Attorney General and both Directors to advise on the legality or otherwise issuing the development consent and the mining lease to a company with no expertise in mining – which then on-ward contract another company to conduct the actual mining operation.
“It is my position that should any irregularities and or illegal act, or if the normal due process was not adhered to in the award of the development consent and / or the mining lease, then this would constitute a serious breach in our process and must then be dealt with accordingly including the revocation of the development consent and the mining lease,” he said.
“Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Mines and Rural Electrification, Christopher Vehe said they are working with the Attorney General to substantiate these claims.
“Vehe said they need to take things step by step to avoid any backfire on the government where the company can take the government to court.”
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