THE country is not ready for mining, says Anglican Church of Melanesia’s bishop and Isabel Paramount Chief James Mason.
He made the observation during this week’s National Conference on Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative.
The British-based bishop Mason:
“I felt that there’s no justification for the poor land owning tribes who were always the losers in their own lands.
“The country is not ready for mining!”
He added that before going into the mining sector, our existing laws and legislations must be reviewed and land owning tribes empowered.
“Our existing laws seemed outdated and must be reviewed to patch up the loopholes. This is to make sure we don’t repeat what happened in our forestry sector.
“For us Isabel people and the entire nation, we need to understand mining because it would be worse than the logging industry if there’s no review of our laws and people were not well aware of its impact.
“Land owning tribes were always blinded and bulldozed by little money that the companies lied to them with.”
Bishop Maso said there must be some kinds of empowerment to land owning tribes to have a say in the legislation.
“People need to know what’s happening now, during the operation and what’s after the operation so that they felt they have a future.
“Also we need to know the genuineness of miners; how genuine were they, some companies ares not really genuine miners. They were only here to experiment in our lands.”
He reiterated that Solomon Islands needs to learn from Nauru.
“We must not repeat but to learn from our neighboring nation Nauru, where what can only be seen were pinnacle of rocks standing idle there. Their resources have been taken away.”
By CHARLEY PIRINGI