MINES minister Bradley Tovosia says he’s well aware of the problems the mining industry faces and pledged to fix them for the good of the country.
He was answering a question from the leader of Opposition Mathew Wale in parliament, Monday.
Wale pointed out that issues the mining industry faces, which he said must be addressed.
“One is the companies that applied for prospecting licence absolutely have no capacity to undertake prospecting but is here holding up tenements and that’s an internal process issue within the ministry,” Wale said.
Tovosia blamed the previous Mining Board for not taking due diligence when dealing with mining applications.
He revealed that most of the companies that already have mining and prospecting licences didn’t even start their operations.
“And this is very true, they were using the ‘Stock Exchange’ just to get money for not doing anything on the ground. Why because we did not do proper due diligence during the whole process,” Tovosia said.
“These mining companies just use the resources of our people to get what they want and it’s not on for this country.
“Our poor people have been used with their resources for a very long time and I agree with the opposition leader that we could do the due diligence properly and that where we are right now.”
Tovosia said as the minister, he is trying to put things right and not to use ‘stock exchange’ to get the money without doing any mining on the tenements.
“The ministry is improving now to get the right things done because we cannot allow this to happen in this country,” Tovosia said.
Earlier, Tovosia was asked to inform the parliament of the number of mining companies that are currently issued with exploration or mining licences and who these companies are?
The question was asked by Robertson Galokale Leader of the Independent Group and MP for South Choiseul.
According to Tovosia there were five prospecting licence (PL) given to five mining companies in Guadalcanal, the other five PL for mining companies in Western Province, two for Choiseul Province and four PL for mining companies in Isabel Province.
With the Mining Lease (ML) Tovosia revealed that his ministry issued two mining lease to Mining Companies operating in Guadalcanal, Isabel one and the other ML was given to the mining company for Wagina island in Choiseul Province.
Tovosia further added that the ministry also issued the ‘Letter of Intent ’(LOI) to mining companies as first approach for any company to enter any tenements.
He told parliament that three LOI were issued to three mining companies in Guadalcanal, two LOI for two mining companies in Isabel, Makira with one LOI and Central province also with one.
“Choiseul Province also had one LOI issued to Island Bauxite,” Tovosia added.
Galokale further asked Tovosia to tell parliament about the status at the moment regarding the exploration of minerals around Solomon Islands.
“Is there any reports submitted to the Ministry about the minerals being explored by these many companies?”
Tovosia stated that the ministry gave three months to companies with LOI, three years for companies with prospecting license (PL) and 25 years for companies with Mining Licence (ML).
By ANDREW FANASIA