10 May 2017

Solomons resource interests linked to Temotu leadership change

9:28 am on 10 May 2017

The former premier of Temotu province in Solomon Islands claims his removal was all about approving licenses for mining and logging interests.

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Photo: Supplied

The Temotu provincial assembly replaced Nelson Omar and voted in a new premier, David Maina, in March.

Mr Omar said it was no coincidence that shortly after he was removed, an Australian mining company, AU Capital Mining, co-owned by Pacific Bauxite, was granted a business license to begin drilling and sampling in Temotu.

The former premier had previously refused to grant a license to both the miner and the Malaysian logging company Xing Lin.

However, Mr Omar said he warned the assembly in advance that the basis for moves to oust him were to approve the two controversial licenses.

"In fact it did happen. Days after the closure of the assembly, the license was granted in an urgent executive meeting, exactly as I predicted."

The new provincial executive has denied the claim that the companies were involved in influencing the change in the provincial executive.

It has told local communities in and around Temotu's capital Lata that mining activities can bring economic development to the remote province.

Members of the community have voiced concern about the potential environmental impacts of bauxite mining in Temotu, and say they weren't consulted enough.

However Pacific Bauxite insists it has consulted extensivelyand engaged with the local community and "is ensuring that all stakeholders are made fully aware of current and future activities regarding the project".