15 Apr 2004

Solomons Marovo logging to be probed

5:12 pm on 15 April 2004

The Acting Forestry Commissioner in Solomon Islands says he will investigate reports that the logging company, Bulo Enterprises, is continuing to operate despite having its license suspended.

Mahlon Ali says the license was put on hold because of concerns over the way it was issued by the Forestry Commission.

It allows Bulo Enterprises to log the island of Mbulo in the Marovo lagoon area which local people believe is tribal land.

They are now starting court proceedings against the company.

Greenpeace's Forestry Campaigner in the Solomons, Geoff Dennis, has just visited Mbulo and says the company has not suspended its operation and is logging at a high level.

Mr Ali says he has not yet been able to establish if that is true but takes the matter very seriously.

"Due to staff shortage, funding problems, our staff are not able to reach as far as Mbulo. If I prove this allegation is true, then I will put forward a notice for the cancellation of license."

The Acting Forestry Commissioner in Solomon Islands, Mahlon Ali.