BAUXITE MINING : NO BENEFIT TO COUNTRY
Quoting the Island Sun newspaper – 8 March 2019
“Bauxite mining in Rennell contributes ‘negligible’ amount to economy: PM Hou
Closing the mine will not affect our economy: PM Hou
“THE bauxite mining in Rennell Island, in Rennell and Bellona province, has contributed 0.05 percent to the national economy.
“Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela confirmed to media yesterday that any decision to halt the mining operation due to the ongoing ecological and environmental impact as a result of the oil spills will not affect the economy.
“As such, Houenipwela questioned the status of Asia Pacific Investment Development (APID) that gave licence to Bintan Mining Solomon Islands Ltd to operate mining on the island.
“On level of economic contribution, since its commencement, BMSI has exported more than 64 shipments on which government has received almost negligible amount in tax revenue and royalty payments.
“In fact, at this point, apart from some direct employment benefits to the workers in Rennell the country is not benefitting from this operation at all,” PM Houenipwela said.
“He said it is his government’s view that exporting our resources for virtually no economic return is immoral and unacceptable.
“I am told, that the Government just accepts what the company tells us about the total weight of ore being exported, the moisture content of the ore being exported (as this proportion is excluded from pricing calculations), the market price that they are buying the bauxite ore for which I am told is less than 50 percent of the current market price we can receive from it.
“We do not even have our own verification process, and as the sovereign country that owned the resources, we do not even have a role in setting the price that our ore should be paid at,” he said.
“If all these points are true, it brings into question the genuineness of both APID and BMSI in this operation that is contributing very little into the country’s revenue.
“I have instructed the Ministry of Finance and Treasury and the Ministry of Mines and Energy to investigate these matters further and report back to government on their finding,” he said.
“If this operation is to continue, the environmental and pricing arrangements must be reviewed immediately given the environmental and economic impact on the country of these practices by the company,” he added.”
Copyright @ 2019, Island Sun newspaper.