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Solomon Islands halts Mining Operations on Renell Island

Staff Reporter | 8:58 PM | |
MINISTRY of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification has instructed PT Mega Bintang Borneo Ltd to halt all mining operations on Rennell island.

This came after the Ministry had received reports that the company continued its mining operation despite the cancellation of its prospecting license on 23rd December 2014.

In a letter to the managing director of the company, Eric Saniputra, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary (PS), Jeffrey Kauha instructed the company to halt all mining operations and remove all its equipment and machines from Central Rennel.

This in particular, from those tenement areas currently covered by Sian Pacific Investment Development Limited (APID) PL 04/08 A and PL 05/08 B.

Kauha said, the Ministry has confirmed the reports of your illegal operations over certain pockets of tenement B on Rennel Island.

“This is a criminal offence and failure to immediately halt all operations and withdraw your machines will result in legal actions taken against you and your associates,” he said in the letter.

Kauha also informed Saniputra that his application for an Export Permit has been rejected by the Mines and Mineral Board in its meeting on 26th November 2014.

He said, the non-compliance and illegal actions of your company or associates will not be tolerated and by copy the Commissioner of Police is hereby informed for immediate actions.

Solomon Star understands the Ministry of Mines has recognised Asia Pacific Investment Development Ltd after it granted a mining lease (ML 0112014) to mine the bauxite deposit on Rennell.

It did not recognise PT Mega Bintang Borneo Ltd, which was granted mining lease by the last government.

These two foreign companies have been competing for the bauxite deposits on Rennell since early this year.

By EDDIE OSIFELO