MMERE holds consultation at Gold Ridge - Solomon Star News

MMERE holds consultation at Gold Ridge

15 May 2019
Former premier of Guadalcanal province, Stephen Panga, thanked the Ministry of Mines for carrying out the consultation.

THE Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification (MMERE) on Tuesday conducted a successful consultation with members of the land owning groups at Gold Ridge Mine site.

The consultation mainly focused on the National Minerals Policy, Mining Bill and the Solomon Islands Minerals Advisory Centre (SIMAC), a new avenue the government has decided to include in to the mining bill.

The land owning groups comprises of members of the Kolobisi Tailings Dam Association (KTDA), Matepona Downstream Association (MDA), Gold Ridge Land Owners Council (GRLC) and the communities. 

One of the important areas discussed yesterday was the inclusion of the SIMAC which will act as an independent body like a watch dog to oversee the operation and would also provide feedback as well as recommendations for the purpose of influencing the ministry.

The consultation draft May 2019 Mining Bill was also discussed where some landowners have shared their views and recommendations to change some of its content.

MMERE Chief Miners Inspector Augustine Rota said the draft Mining Bill is currently in its draft form  and if it is approved by Cabinet and passed by Parliament passed will become the law of the country. 

“The Mining Bill is the next step to implement the changes in the National Minerals Policy,” he said.

Mr Rota said once the Mining Act is passed; Mining Regulations will need to be made under the Act before the new law can be implemented.

He said the recent experiences in Rennell, Isabel and Guadalcanal highlight the need for improvement in how the minerals sector is regulated.

“In developing the Policy and the Act, both of them are overseen by an inter-ministry task-force.

“Consultation for the Policy took place in Choiseul, Isabel, Guadalcanal, Malaita, Rennell and Honiara,” he said.

He added consultation for the Bill took place in Honiara in September 2018 and is planned for Guadalcanal, Isabel, Rennell and Choiseul in May 2019.

Meanwhile, a member of the GRLC Titus Soba said the consultation yesterday was a good one which allowed landowners to share their inputs that will also be looked at when considering the policy amendment.

Former Premier of Guadalcanal Stephen Panga also thanked the Ministry to carry out the consultation as it would be the first ever consultation to be done for the purpose of formulating new policies or amendments.