NOT many people know why this alluvial gold mining company chose WIN WIN as its name when it was registered in Solomon Islands in 2016.
So when an investigation by the national broadcaster, SIBC, alleged impropriety on the part of the company in terms of adhering to the requirements of the Mines and Minerals Act, Win Win’s Managing Director, Dan Shi was angry.
“We selected the name Win Win for our company because our objective is to create a win-win situation for all – the government, landowners and us as investors in terms of benefits,” Mr. Shi told Solomon Star in an exclusive interview this week.
“We have made it our business to consult with the then director of Mines, Nicholas Biliki, because we always strive to do the right thing by the law. It is our commitment.
“For example, we made royalty payments, export tax and so on on a regular basis,” Mr. Shi said.
Figures obtained by Solomon Star show Win Win made royalty payments totalling $1, 118, 257.08 (one million one hundred eighteen thousand two hundred fifty-seven dollars and eight cents) in the four month period to 25th August this year.
“This is why Win Win Mining Company does not have any case pending in court since we set up our operation at Turarana, Central Guadalcanal in 2018. And when there is an unforeseen mistake made, we always made an attempt to sort it out with authorities,” he said.
On the issue of alleged illegal gold buying and smuggling, Mr. Shi emphatically denied the accusation.
“It is not true. There is no illegal gold buying. There is no gold smuggling either. Sending of Samples overseas for laboratory analysis is a normal part of exploration since the country does not have the laboratory facilities to undertake gold asssaying. We always do things by the rules,” he said.
“The issue of gold buying is this. When Win Win took out the Turarana tenement, there were landowners who continued to do gold panning in our tenement. As title holder of the tenement, we have the right under the law to stop the people from panning for gold on our tenement but it was difficult for us to stop them because it is their livelihood.
“So we sought and received advice from the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification on the matter.
“Given the difficulty of obtaining hard cash, especially for women and children doing gold panning, coupled with the high cost of transportation to Honiara to sell off the panned gold, we were given the ok to financially support a gold dealer from the locality to buy gold from the locals and export it to our buyer because after all, they were landowners and they need to survive,” he said.
“Win Win applies the same standards when it comes to exporting gold. And in fact the Minerals Division sat on our application to export gold for a year. It was frustrating but we are grateful that in the end it was given to us,” Mr. Shi said.
He also turned to clear allegations against two locals – Jeremy Rex and Primo Keni. Both were accused of allowing their export licences to be used by Asian individuals living in Honiara to buy and export gold.
“These two gentlemen were doing things by the books. And as soon as there is a problem, they are there to sort it out with authorities.”
An example was an incident which occurred when the company was sending a sample for laboratory analysis overseas. The package weighed 1.7 kg, which Customs confiscated.
“There was an oversight and we accepted there was a mistake. But that has now been sorted out after we had made a payment of $2, 000 as a penalty,”
“So simply put, we always meet and will continue to meet all the requirements,” Mr. Shi said.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, McKinnie Dentana, confirmed to SIBC that the matter had been sorted out.
“This is no longer an issue,” Mr. Dentana was quoted as saying.
By Alfred Sasako