18 Nov 2013

Solomons' nickel-rich province lacks experienced deal negotiator: Premier

6:49 am on 18 November 2013

The leader of the administration in Solomon Islands' Isabel province says his region needs lawyers experienced in striking mining deals.

The comment follows a mining forum in Buala, the capital of the province, which is rich in nickel deposits and has two companies vying for extraction rights.

The forum's main resolution is that Isabel is not ready for mining, and delegates have returned to their communities to discuss the issues involved.

The premier James Habu says exposure to overseas communities' experience of mining would be beneficial to resource owners in Isabel.

"But I think more importantly is the lack of experienced negotiators. We haven't negotiated for a mine in our experience. Most of our legal people here do not have the long-term attachment to the mining industry to be aware of how you negotiate benefits."

Isabel province's Premier James Habu.