Gov't rejects Bingtang bid - Solomon Star News

Gov't rejects Bingtang bid

31 December 2014

APID gets the nod

AN Indonesian mining firm eyeing the rich bauxite deposits on Rennell has had its prospecting licence cancelled.

Minister for Mines Samson Maneka informed PT Mega Bingtang Borneo Ltd of the decision in a letter dated 23 December 2014.

At the same time, the Ministry of Mines has granted Asia Pacific Investment Development Ltd a mining lease (ML 0112014) to mine the bauxite deposit on Rennell.

The ministry’s Permanent Secretary Jeffrey Kauha, in a letter to Asia Pacific Investment Development, said:

“I write to confirm that Asia Pacific Investment Development Limited (APID) is the only company in the Solomon Islands who has been granted a Mining Lease, ML 0112014 to mine bauxite in the country.

“I also wish to confirm to you that APID has recently been awarded an Export Permit No. 01/14 as approved by the Mines and Mineral Board in its meeting in 26th November sitting.”

These two foreign companies have been competing for the bauxite deposits on Rennell since early this year.

The ministry’s latest decisions are expected to shock Bingtang Ltd. Attempts to speak to their bosses yesterday were unsuccessful.

But for APID, this is great news.

A spokesman yesterday hailed the decision, adding they can now look forward to concentrating on their operations on Rennell.

Minister Maneka also told Bintang Ltd that his decision to cancel its prospecting licence is opened for appeal.

He also explained that the Minerals Board’s resolution on Bintang’s licence was reached based on the fact that during the issuance of a prospecting license to Bingtang Ltd on 12 June 2014, the earmarked tenement overlaps into APID’s tenement of interest that was given a prospecting licence earlier in February 2014.

“The Mineral board has noted that the current Prospecting License PL-03/14 issued and dated 12 June 2014 to PT Mega Bingtang Ltd, contravenes Section 20 subsections(6)(a) and(6)(b) of the Mines and Minerals Act 1990,” Mr Maneka said in his letter to Bintang.

“The ministry will therefore excise the overlap area accordingly as required by section 20 subsections 5, 6, and 7 of the Mines and Mineral Act 1990.

“The Minerals' Board has confirmed that at the time of the submission of your application for the Prospecting License, part of that tenement area of interest falls under another current and valid Prospecting License Holder of PL-04/08-A and PL-05/08-B issued and dated 4th February 2013.

“The Mineral's Board further resolved that the Mining Lease issued to PT Mega Bingtang Borneo Ltd is null and void as it is not in accordance to the condition of the Mines and Minerals Act section 30, subsections (1), (2) and (3),   section  ll(a)  and section 6(a) (iii) of the Mines and Mineral Act 1990.”

Mr Maneka also ordered the company to immediately cease its operations on Rennell and all machines and equipment be removed at once.