14 Nov 2013

Solomons' Choiseul province says no to mining

2:50 pm on 14 November 2013

The acting head of Solomon Islands' Choiseul province says people in his region are opposed to mining because of the environmental consequences.

Alpha Kimata says the provincial population of about 30,000 depends on natural resources and is already having to manage the effects of logging.

A forum on mining finished yesterday in the capital of the neighbouring Isabel province, where two companies are vying for the rights to mine nickel.

Mr Kimata, who is Choiseul's deputy premier, says companies are also eyeing his province for nickel and bauxite but their operations would bring little local benefit.

"Six feet below it belongs to the state. Therefore any rental of the land belongs to the Solomon Islands government, not the province. We only get money on licence, provincial licence."

Alpha Kimata says fishing and tourism are lucrative alternatives to mining.