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Solomon Islands Government denies links to miners

Staff Reporter | 4:52 PM | |
THE Government has denied claims its ministers have close links with Indonesian mining firm PT Mega Bintang Borneo.

The controversial company has been illegally extracting bauxites on Rennell despite the cancellation of its licence.

Government Media Consultant, Alfred Sasako, while denying any ministerial links with Bintang, said the decision to grant an export permit to the company was a cabinet decision.

The denial comes as more revelations emerged that PT Mega Bintang had registered 10 other companies with different names but with same directors – Sudi Anto and Eric Saniputra.

These associate companies to Bintang Borneo held tenements in other parts of the country where certain cabinet ministers reportedly have influences over.

It was also revealed that the Cabinet meeting held May 15 reaffirmed awarding of the export permit to Bintang, a week after Director Mine’s suspension and the removal of Jeffery Kauha as permanent secretary.

Mr Sasako said there are no involvement of cabinet ministers and the decision made by cabinet granting export permit to Bintang Borneo stands.

He pushed aside the issue of false declaration of documents for the export permit as an issue for the police to deal with.

 “The forgery of documents as claimed if reported to the police is a police matter and not ours,” he said.

But he admitted Bintang and associates having more than three tenements, which he said is unlawful.

 “If there is over three tenements Bintang and its associates have, it breaks the Mines and Minerals Act but it’s not our responsibility.

“It’s the matter for the Mines and Minerals Board to deal and consider. What I can say is they have already broken the law.”

According to documents obtained Bintang Borneo actually has 11 companies with different names registered here but with the same two directors Sudi Anto and Eric Saniputra.

Nine registered under the mining industry and two in forestry, documents revealed.

The companies are, Golden Solomon Resources Ltd with an expired prospecting license on March 8th 2015 for Marau, East Guadalcanal and PT Mega Bintang Borneo on West Rennell.

High Land Mining Limited with an expired prospecting license on January 18th 2015 for a tenement on Nendo in Temotu, Grand Peak Solomon Ltd with expired prospecting license for Rendova Island in Western Province and Richmont Mining Limited also with an expired prospecting license dated March 8th for a tenement in Malaita.

These five companies have been identified to have records with the latest quarterly updated list of mining companies doing prospecting and mining in the country.  

The other four, United Solomon Mining Ltd, Gold Mark Mining Ltd, Mega Solomon Mining Limited and Santorica Resources Limited are registered but were not sighted on the updated list of mining companies at the Ministry.

Those two that have registered under forestry are Grand Wood Resources Limited and Grand Nendo JV Co Ltd.

Interestingly, two locals are identified as directors to Grand Nendo JV Co Ltd; – Fr. Brown Beu and Edwin Meibu.

A close source to the Mines and Minerals Board said the May 15 cabinet meeting revealed many interesting connections.

“It is no secret that several cabinet ministers are in bed with Bintang Borneo either through its associate companies.”

The source added these many registered companies are a diversion to covering up breaking the Mines and Minerals Act.

The Act spells out clearly there is a limit to the number of prospecting licence an applicant or its associates can apply for.

The source further added some Cabinet ministers have been seen with directors of these companies.

Solomon Star