22 Feb 2005

Solomon Islands Plantation Limited yet to reopen

7:16 am on 22 February 2005

In Solomon Islands, the reopening of the long awaited oil palm plantation, Solomon Islands Plantations Limited may be delayed.

Dorothy Wickham reports.

"The plantation which was closed during the height of the ethnic crisis 1999 was to have reopened this month by a Papua New Guinea, East New Britain company. However because demands by landowners that restrictions be put on the employment of outsiders and a better deal be reached with landowners, the plantation has yet to reopen."

Two months ago a memorandum of understanding was signed between land owners, the Solomon Islands government and the company to restart the company. However, the recently held Guadalcanal Leader Summit held in the province has agreed that the reopening be delayed until landowners and leaders are satisfied and more importantly pending the Province's adoption of the state government system.

The Kemakeza government wants the plantation and the Gold Ridge Mine reopened, the two amongst the country's largest revenue earners before the ethnic turmoil. This is Dorothy Wickham for Radio New Zealand International in Honiara.