17 Dec 2012

Solomons deputy PM opposes offshore mineral exploration

12:55 pm on 17 December 2012

The Solomons Islands deputy prime minister Manasseh Maelanga has appealed to resource owners not to support under-water mineral exploration.

Mr Maelanga made the comment to the Solomon Star newspaper after Temotu Province's decision to invite an Australian exploration company, Blue Water Mining Company, to search for potential minerals within its waters.

Mr Maelanga says under-water mineral exploration is a threat to the sea environment.

He has told the paper that the government finds it hard to deal with exploration companies operating on land, and if under-water exploration is allowed, it would be very difficult for the government to control.

The Temotu Premier Father Brown Beu says his executive had granted Blue Water a licence to search for minerals off Vanikoro island, with the company promising to upgrade Lata airport and the province's hospital as part of the deal.