The Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill 2014 ( MMAB2014) which the Solomon Islands Government ( SIG) passed on the 30th April 2014 is nothing more than a rushed through parliament Bill to make way for mining companies and foreign interests to extract the natural resources of this country and its citizens’.
The MMAB2014 is a rushed through parliament bill to quickly access money to prop up the country’s base economy as the logging industry which had been the main export commodity for its economy, is coming to an end soon.
The MMAB2014 is a rushed through parliament bill without any regard for tribal landowners and landowning communities to have an equal say on the wise and long-term use of their natural resources for future generations to come.
The MMAB2014 is a rushed through parliament bill that rewards the rich ( mining companies and their counterparts and foreign shareholders) and indirectly disadvantages the tribal landowners and tribal landowning communities, who form majority of Solomon Islanders, sliding them further down the poverty line.
The MMAB2014 is a rushed through parliament bill that clearly serves its foreign counterparts and enslaving its own people into the future.
Though mining companies will try and display that they are helping the citizens, through royalty money, plans for building roads, ports and airports etc. Don’t be fooled wantoks. The monetary and cost benefit analysis shows that mining is not worth it for our future generations.
The tribal landowners get only a few dollars in comparison. The bulk of their share being vanished by expenses such as legal and accounting fees that are incurred in dealing with mining companies and their legal and financial advisors ( similar to what the logging companies did to our people) whilst the foreign mining companies, foreign countries and their shareholders turn our extracted mineral resources into millions and even billions of dollars.
However, the small amount of money received by tribal owning communities is not the only issue at stake. The adverse impacts of mining is wider and far reaching. We can only learn from Gold ridge experience and from our neighbouring countries where mining has been happening, that the short and long term economic benefits don’t last long. They come to an end.
The enormous environmental, social, cultural and health problems they leave behind cannot be compared with the very little money and developmental infrastructure our tribal communities receive. These problems will stay with Solomon Islanders’ present and future generations for many years to come, after these mining companies have dusted their feet and are long and gone from our shores.
The MMAB2014 Bill that was rushed through parliament is not in the best interest of resource owners, majority of whom belong to tribal landowning communities who are the custodians of our tribal lands throughout the country.
By Forum Against Mining On Choiseul