A newly established joint-venture mining company, Mugava and Solomon Mining Limited, is also eying the bauxite deposits on Rennell Island.
This is the third company vying to have a stake in the bauxite deposits on Rennell.
Asia Pacific Investment Development(APID) and Bintang Borneo Mining Company Ltd of Indonesian are two other mining companies already laying claim to the island.
Both had faced controversial issues since submitting their applications to the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
Mugava is a locally registered firm, whileh Solomon Mining Limited is an incorporated company from World Link Bauxite Limited registered in Hong Kong, China.
Mugava Board of Directors Chairman, Jessy Kaipua confirmed the existence of the joint-venture.
“We are into a joint-venture including those landowners of the demarked areas as Mugava Company,” he said.
He also clarified the joint-venture company has not submitted any application for prospecting licence yet but is working on it.
“Preparations are yet to abide to legal processes as required to acquire prospecting licence; it is still in its preparatory stage.”
Sixteen individual landowners are said to form the Mugava Company.
But reacting to an advertisement by Mugava Company, landowning groups are raising concerns on why survey of the demarked areas was done without consultation.
“Proper consultation with the rightful tribal landowners should be done first before any survey is to be done,” a tribal spokesman said.
“The process leading to the advertising has been done without our knowledge especially those of us living at home,” the spokesman added.
He said the demarked land is owned by nine different tribes thus any such arrangement should have involved those tribes concern.
But Kaipua denied any survey work being done.
“The map shown as in the demarked area has been established with those individual landowners concerned and is open for objection, if any individual or tribes wishes to.
“This is part of the initial preparations of identifying rightful landowners and does not yet go into the actually formal procedure,” he explained.
Kaipua said what has been recently done in the advertisement is putting out names of packet soil of known areas, so, any tribe and individual who opposes or those whom think theirs is not included, may do so.
“There will be that time for consultation with those concern rightful tribes and individuals.”
Chief Surveyor at the Ministry of Lands and Survey, Leslie Volalia explained that for such propose development on any customary land to take place, a land acquisition has to be done first by an acquisition officer appointed by the Commissioner of Lands.
“This process should involve a request to the commissioner’s office,” said the chief surveyor.
He explained that upon completion of the acquisition with satisfaction and approval by the commissioner, a survey can be done then.
“In this regard, no acquisition officer or surveyor from the ministry have been directed to survey the said propose demarked area on Rennell.
“It was surprising however that the map advertised if it was done properly by a surveyor, should have a lot number,” he said.
BY BRADFORD THEONOMI