Scottish Enterprise urged to rule out ‘damaging’ deep sea mining

Joe Lo | The Ferret  July 15, 2019

Environmental campaigners have called on the Scottish Government’s economic development agency not to spend taxpayers’ money subsidising a controversial new form of underwater mining.

A report commissioned by Scottish Enterprise echoed concerns that deep sea mining could lead to “the potential extinction of unique species” – but the agency has refused to rule out investing in the industry.

Deep sea mining envisages machines sucking up the seabed so that minerals like cobalt and manganese can be extracted for use in products such as mobile phones, wind turbines and batteries.

Although no mining has begun yet, mining sites have been proposed in the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean and near Peru and Japan.

The UK government, in collaboration with US arms company Lockheed Martin, has a license to mine an area larger than England off the west coast of Mexico.

An April 2017 report into deep sea mining commissioned by Scottish Enterprise was made public in July after a freedom of information request by Greenpeace’s Unearthed website.

The report was written by the research arm of Subsea UK which describes itself  “the champion” of the UK under-sea industry. “The environmental impacts of deep sea mining are not fully understood,” cautioned the report.

“The activities involved in subsea mining could have detrimental impacts on localised populations as well as an impact on world oceans through the potential extinction of unique species that form the first rung of the food chain.”

Scottish Enterprise said that it regularly undertook research into markets to understand their potential for Scotland’s businesses. “This report was commissioned to highlight the market potential in a range of sectors such as aquaculture and marine renewables, that Scotland’s subsea capability could be appropriate for in future market activity,” David Rennie, the agency’s head of oil and gas, told Unearthed.

“As yet we have not made any decisions, or progressed any activity, on how we might develop seabed mining. Other sectors such as marine renewables and aquaculture are likely to offer more immediate opportunities and any significant developments in seabed mining are likely to be some years off.”

But Friends of the Earth Scotland called for funding to be blocked now. “Scottish Enterprise should immediately rule out any support for deep sea mining,” said the environmental group’s head of campaigns, Mary Church.

“It is absurd to even be considering putting public money into such a damaging activity at a time when the life in our oceans is already under so much threat from climate change, over fishing, plastic pollution and oil extraction.”

Greenpeace UK urged politicians to be held to account for planning to spend taxpayers’ money on deep sea mining. “Scottish Enterprise is well aware of the potential environmental risks and there needs to be much more of a public conversation about whether citizens, including avid Blue Planet fans, are prepared to permit the potential extinction of species and risking making climate change worse,” said the group’s oceans campaigner, Louisa Casson.

She authored a Greenpeace report in 2019 warning that deep sea mining could make climate change worse by releasing carbon stored in sediments or by disrupting process which help scavenge carbon and deliver it to those sediments. Marine life naturally absorbs carbon, carrying some of it to the seafloor when they die.

That we should be destroying these things is so deeply tragic. David Attenborough, broadcaster

Wildlife broadcaster, David Attenborough, has pointed out that the deep sea is where life began. “That we should be destroying these things is so deeply tragic,” he told the BBC. “I mean, that humanity should just plough on with no regard for the consequences, because they don’t know what they are.”

The UK parliament’s cross-party environmental audit committee has warned that deep sea mining would have “catastrophic impacts on the seafloor site and its inhabitants”. In a report, MPs called on the UK government not to use its deep sea mining licenses and to pressure other countries and the International Seabed Authority (ISA) not to issue any more licenses.

The committee also criticised regulation of the industry.”We are concerned that the ISA, the licensing body for seabed exploration, also stands to benefit from revenues, which is a clear conflict of interest,” they said.

A Scottish Enterprise spokesperson told The Ferret: “Developments in seabed mining are closely controlled and regulated by the International Seabed Authority and the industry is very much in its infancy. Should any project be brought forward in the future it would be subject to rigorous economic and environmental due diligence.”

The Scottish Government said it supports “clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse seas, balancing sustainable development with environmental protection”.

A government spokesperson added: “Any deep sea mining would be subject to regulatory controls and thorough assessment, including conducting an environmental appraisal.‎”

Three companies mentioned in the Scottish Enterprise report as potential recipients of support are Royal IHC, 2H Offshore and Soil Machine Dynamics. They all design machinery which could be used in deep sea mining and are all ultimately foreign-owned.

Royal IHC is majority-owned by the wealthy Dutch de Bruin family. 2H Offshore is ultimately owned by two US billionaires close to Donald Trump, Henry Kravis and George Roberts. Soil Machine Dynamics is ultimately majority-owned by the Chinese government.

When asked if it subsidises foreign owned companies, Scottish Enterprise said it works with “both indigenous and international companies”. On investing in companies owned by the Chinese state, a spokesperson stressed that the agency carried out “rigorous due diligence”.

Government wildlife and environment agencies all declined to comment, including Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee’s chief scientist, Christine Maggs.

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Massacres: land rights over resource rich land may have played a role

Mt Kare in the Papua New Guinea Highlands. A large gold mine is planned for the area. Source: Supplied

Lush and humid, Papua New Guinea’s highlands look idyllic. But a brutal massacre of women and children has highlighted a deadly turf war on our doorstep.

Benedict Brook | News. com | July 15, 2019

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE

The images that shot around the world last week were shocking enough. The hacked bodies of women and children, victims of a bitter inter-clan conflict.

Their remains wrapped in cloths, tied to branches and lying beside a sun-soaked country road. There is a brutal logic to some of the deaths.

The scene was gruesome but what also horrified many Australians was that it happened so close to our shores.

The 16 people murdered hailed from the Hela province of Papua New Guinea. At its closest point, the PNG coast is just four kilometres from Australian islands in the Torres Strait.

Australia used to govern the nation until as recently as 1975 and, with the US, Canberra is setting up a military base in the country.

PNG’s Prime Minister James Marape has condemned the slaughter and told the culprits bluntly: “I am coming for you.”

The massacre occurred in the country’s humid highlands, a region drunk on a heady cocktail of bitter clan rivalries, mining riches, lawlessness and even sorcery. In one grim incident, young boys were beheaded.

Locals stand by the bodies of victims recovered in recent tribal violence in Papua New Guinea. Picture: Pills Kolo via AP. Source: AP

Even in an area where killings are not uncommon, PNG watchers have struggled to comprehend the sheer brutality of these murders.

“I wish I could say violence was a surprise in this part of PNG,” Jonathan Pryke, Director of the Pacific Islands Program at think tank the Lowy Institute told news.com.au.

“But targeting women and children is what makes this stand out. It’s sadistic.”

One answer to the sustained violence in this part of PNG may be found several valleys away in the shadow of a mountain. Deep beneath the grassy exterior of Mt Kare, rich seams of gold run. Just down the road, the Pogera gold mine is one of the world’s largest.

Hela provincial administrator William Bando told news agency AFP last week that the killings might have a connection to local rivalries at Mt Kare.

Location of the Hela region in Papua New Guinea. Picture: Google Maps. Source: Supplied

WHY ARE MINES SUCH FLASHPOINTS?

Mines are generally run by major firms but a proportion of the royalties are distributed locally, to the government and landowners.

In a poor country, the effect of that cash can be huge. Indeed, Hela province itself was carved out of another government region so the local Huli people could more directly benefit from the proceeds of a huge liquefied natural gas project in the town of Hides, backed by the US company ExxonMobil.

PNG experts news.com.au has spoken to have said it’s too early to tell if the new Mt Kare mine and the massacre are connected. Violent disputes can be for many reasons. The mine’s owner Indochine has said that linking the site to the tragic incident is nothing more than “speculation”.

A plausible alternative explanation is the slaughter was a tit-for-tat action for other recent killings. But land rights, including over mines, have turned violent in the past. During the 1990s, more than 20,000 people died in PNG’s Bougainville province, largely over who would benefit from an enormous mine.

Resources are big business in PNG with the industry making up 21 per cent of the nation’s economy.

Luke Fletcher, Executive Director of Jubilee Australia, an organisation that advocates for communities in the Pacific region, told news.com.au the entry of big mining firms into remote regions had fundamentally changed the way of life.

“It impacted the whole fabric of society. There was a lot more cash coming in. Disputes became associated with land and who was the landowner of a particular tenement identified for a mining project.

“The Huli ethnic group has a complex social connection to the land so it’s been very difficult for the Government to identify who is a landowner.”

That’s led to not only skirmishes over property but also the withholding of some royalties as the mining firms don’t know who to give the money to.

These disputes have rumbled alongside more longstanding feuds as well as desperation brought on by poverty.

At the same time, promises of modern infrastructure haven’t, in some cases, eventuated. And while shiny new hospitals and schools have been built, in a number of cases, funds to pay staff and materials have dried up.

“There is more cash around but in some ways that has been just as much of a problem. Because there’s so much cash, there are now so many weapons,” said Mr Fletcher.

“This isn’t the first violence we’ve seen, it’s just the most egregious.”

GOLD RUSH

Michael Main, an anthropologist and PhD candidate at Australian National University, knows Hela well. On visits to the lush mountain valleys he recalls having to persuade locals he was merely a student and not a geologist looking to pinpoint the next rich fissure of gold.

“When a piece of land acquires a much greater value (due to mining) that does exacerbate things; even if it’s only perceived in that way. With the hype around mining some think a mountain is literally full of gold.”

There had been a “gold rush” in the early 2000s at Mt Kare, he said, where nuggets were found in the soil and dug up by locals. But that was all now gone with the remainder of the riches beneath the surface.

The Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea is one of the world’s largest. Source: News Limited

STONE AGE TO ARMS RACE

The population of PNG’s Highlands were completely unknown until the 1930s when Australian patrols stumbled across a people who, essentially, were no more progressed than the “Stone Age”, said Mr Main.

The modern age has arrived with speed: mobile phones now sit alongside age old beliefs in sorcery. It’s a place where rivalries run as deep as superstitions, all unencumbered by the usual trappings of the nation state, like police, who are rarely seen.

But in times past there was a framework around violence.

“Most people would not have been involved in fighting and it would have been bows and arrows facing off,”

“There is no longer the strong tradition of dispute resolutions through dialogue. Guns have changed the power dynamics,” he said.

“It’s become an arms race. One clan will be well armed, the another clan they have a historical enmity with will get armed too.

“You can even hire guns from a friend.”

A Huli man in traditional ceremonial dress at a mobile phone shop in PNG’s capital of Port Moresby. Source: Supplied

BRUTAL LOGIC TO KILLINGS
Weapons mostly came in from the neighbouring Indonesian province of West Papua. But some come through Australia’s Torres Strait. While the few police will sell individual bullets to supplement their meagre wages. The Government’s own armoury has been pilfered from.

“The amount of guns vastly outnumbers those held by the entire PNG defence force,” Mr Main said.

The recent violence has been eye opening, however. Women, who in Huli society are never armed, have become victims as have children. And traditional tools — like the bush knife — have also been used to butcher victims.

“When I was there, there was the case of young children being beheaded as part of the conflict,” he said.

He added there was a brutal logic to killing kids: “It’s making sure the next generation doesn’t grow up to take revenge.”

Mr Main likened the violence to that which has occurred in many parts of the world, from the Balkans to Ireland, where groups jostle for land and prominence.

The Lowy Institute’s Mr Pryke agreed: “There’s nothing distinct about PNG people; it’s just where they sit on the development spectrum”.

There was no “silver bullet” he said to end the violence, but the PNG Government needed to make its presence felt.

Some mining firms, he said, had been more successful than others at building local infrastructure and remunerating locals. But they needed to step up.

“The mining industry will tell you they are doing as much as they can and they don’t want to fill the gaps left by the Government. But they need to think more deeply about improved development outcomes, because if this violence continues that could be destabilising for business interests in the country.”

Mr Main said the mines have brought jobs and cash. But much of that was when they were under construction, with many wage packets drying up when mining began.

“When they were in the construction phase there wasn’t much fighting because there was money coming in, development was happening and people were focused on the future.

“Now that vacuum has been filled with all these jealousies and grievances from the past returning.”

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Understanding “transfer pricing”: how corporations dodge taxes through financial colonialism

Often these laundry manoeuvres through poor countries involve assets whose valuation-swings are massive: a company can mine 2 million tons of cobalt in Papua New Guinea and export it at $5/ton to Mauritius, then export it again to Canada at $10/ton — not only does this help them disguise their profits in Canada, it also helps them dodge taxes in desperately poor Papua New Guinea, where the real value of the cobalt ($10m) is booked as $5m, despite PNG’s already-low tax rate of 5%, meaning that PNG loses out on $250k, which they can’t afford to lose.

BoingBoing | 11 July 2019

Every day, the world’s poorest countries lose $3b in tax revenues as multinationals sluice their profits through their national boundaries in order to avoid taxes in rich countries, and then sluice the money out again, purged of tax obligations thanks to their exploitation of tax loopholes in poor nations.

The secret to all this tax-dodging is a complex grift called “base erosion and profit shifting” (BEPS). Like many of the most important and dangerous things in the world, it’s boring, complicated, and very important, and the reason it persists is that the boringness and complexity baffles and bores people so they stop paying attention to it, leaving it to chug along, despite its importance.

At its core, BEPS involves using bookkeeping fictions to transfer your profits to low-tax jurisdictions and your costs to high-tax jurisdictions. BEPS abuses “transfer pricing,” which is the pricing of goods and service between multinational companies, by using prices of convenience for transactions within a single company’s international divisions.

Here’s how that works, in a real-world example detailed in an IRS lawsuit against Amazon, which is one of the world leaders in BEPS tax-avoidance. Amazon transfered all its “intellectual property” assets to a company called Amazon Lux, in Luxembourg, where taxes are very low. Then, every time Amazon’s other divisions make a profit, they send that profit to Amazon Lux, which sends them an invoice for their use of Amazon’s trademarks, software, etc. That way, Amazon’s other divisions break even (or even lose money, if that makes them eligible for a tax-credit on the loss), and Amazon Lux makes all the company’s profits in a tax-free jurisdiction (Luxembourg).

Variations on this scheme use other jurisdictions (the Netherlands, Switzerland) and other intangibles to quote on in the bogus invoices (“management services” as an alternative to “intellectual property”).

But things get really sweaty once the countries involved are poor ones whose political, regulatory and judicial systems can be suborned at low expense: in the “Mauritius Manoeuvre,” an individual or company can arrange to book all its profits on Mauritius at no tax, then bring the money back to a rich country as “dividends from foreign investment,” again, at low- or no tax.

Often these laundry manoeuvres through poor countries involve assets whose valuation-swings are massive: a company can mine 2 million tons of cobalt in Papua New Guinea and export it at $5/ton to Mauritius, then export it again to Canada at $10/ton — not only does this help them disguise their profits in Canada, it also helps them dodge taxes in desperately poor Papua New Guinea, where the real value of the cobalt ($10m) is booked as $5m, despite PNG’s already-low tax rate of 5%, meaning that PNG loses out on $250k, which they can’t afford to lose.

Much of this sort of shenanigan is documented in the Paradise Papers and the Panama Papers — indeed, the whistleblower who leaked the Panama Papers said they were motivated by the “metastasizing” of offshore shell companies used for tax evasion (the Panama Papers detail the finances of 214,000 offshore shell companies).

The impact of trade and transfer mispricing on developing countries is not just monetary. There are a series of moral effects as well. In the hypothetical PNG scenario, for instance, one glaring concern that arises from this manipulative business practice is the implication that the people of PNG are somehow unaware of the value of their own resources. A red flag must be raised to the psychological impact of pricing discrepancies that suggest cobalt, somehow, has a lesser value within the borders of PNG than within, say, Canada or Belgium.

Trade and transfer (mis)pricing are symptoms of an ongoing colonial hangover. Given that transfer (mis)pricing is at the centre of operations of MNEs, then the only way to remove this jewel in the crown of every MNE is to dismantle the multinational enterprise as it exists today. A first necessary step would be to introduce strict and enforceable regulations that help guide us away from such damaging relations of production.

Transfer (mis)pricing, the jewel in every multinational enterprise’s crown [Tanya Rawal-Jindia/Opendemocracy]

(via Naked Capitalism)

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No Export Permit Yet For SI Miner 

Solomon Star | 11 July 2019

TWO leading landowners of Axiom Mining Limited’s mining lease site on San Jorge in Isabel Province, Sam Pitu and Janet Voda, have questioned why the government keeps refusing to grant an export permit to the Australian mining company to ship out its nickel ore products to its United States-based buyer Traxys.

In a joint statement, Pitu and Voda said the repeated refusal by the Minerals Board has become more and more intolerable to landowners as it denies them their rights to enjoy benefits from the exportation of nickel ore extracted from their land,” Pitu said on Wednesday.

“The continued delays and denial of an export permit for Axiom by the Minerals Board also denies us of our rights to benefit from revenues that would have come from the exportation of nickel ore from our land,” he added

“The action by the Board is indeed mind-boggling because Axiom has fully complied with the relevant mining laws and regulations of the country in its operation on San Jorge and with good mining practices and yet its export permit application continues to be rejected whilst giving some unscrupulous Chinese companies the go-ahead to mine in the country and export their products.

“Just look at the case of the controversial Bintan mining company which continues to mine bauxite from Renell despite its perceived non-compliance with the country’s mining laws and regulations. 

“In February this year, the company caused an environmental disaster because of its reckless decision to allow its cargo carrier to load bauxite in cyclonic weather.

“And last week, just six months on from the oil spill, the company ran into another disaster when its bauxite carrier barge capsized during a loading operation releasing 5,000 tonnes of ore into the waters of Kangava Bay.”

Pitu added: “Bintan’s continued operation in Rennell despite the two environmental disasters it caused through reckless decisions brings into question why the government continues to entertain such companies in the country and denies genuine investors of the legislative support they need to carry on with their operations.”

Adding on to Pitu’s sentiments, Voda said the government needs to exercise fairness in its dealing with foreign investors and to deal with them within the bounds of Solomon Islands laws.

She said the bribery claims made against Bintan in the media should be matters of serious concern to Solomon Islanders because it somehow implies that the company could be bribing government officials to go ahead with its operation despite its non-compliance with the country’s mining and environmental laws and good mining practices.

Bintan yesterday issued a statement denying the bribery claim.

Voda said the government’s delay in granting an export permit to Axiom when it has granted the company with a mining lease is totally nonsensical because a mining company cannot extract minerals without having to export them.

She said the landowners need money to improve their welfare, Isabel Provincial Government needs money to provide services to the people of the province and Solomon Islands needs money to improve its economic base and yet the national government has deliberately ignored the millions of dollars stockpiled on San Jorge in the form of nickel ore awaiting a government permit to be exported.

Comments are being sought from the mining board.

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Federation Backs Ban On Fly-In Fly-Out

Post Courier | July 9, 2019

The Resource Owners Federation of Papua New Guinea has commended Minister for Immigration and Border Security Petrus Thomas on the proposed ban of the controversial fly-in fly-out (FIFO) system of employment by the extractive and other industries.

Federation president Jonathan Paraia said the practice has seen the loss of billions of kina in disposable income and other benefits over many decades to foreign countries.

He claimed that it was first introduced by the Ok Tedi, Porgera and Lihir mines which has not only seen the loss of disposable incomes of the employees but has also denied the project areas of social, economic and infrastructure development which could have improved the life styles of the citizens of those areas and the country.

“The resource owners of this country have persistently complained about the FIFO system to successive governments for decades through media publicities and others but no action was ever taken by any government to ban the system, for reasons only they can explain. It is their deliberate negligence that has seen the loss of billions of kina to the country,” said Paraia.

He said the federation has not yet identified any country in the region that allows foreign employees to work in their countries on a FIFO basis. Instead, the foreign workers are required to live in the countries of employment with their families for the duration of their employment contracts.

“This requirement ensures that the country and its communities in which the foreign employees work bene t from the disposal incomes of those workers.

“For example, some Papua New Guineans work and live in Australia, New Zealand, Cananda, Africa and other countries, but they do not fly in and fly out from Papua New Guinea on a regular basis,” he said.

The federation expects that the proposed policy, if adopted, will see a significant development of quality infrastructure in housing, health, education and commercial facilities, to service non y-in y-out communities of employees who will now live and spend their disposable incomes within the country boosting its economy.

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Call for change in resource sector laws

Julius Chan is one of the founding fathers of political corruption in PNG

The National aka The Loggers Times |  July 8, 2019

ONE of the founding fathers of the nation [and of political corruption] believes in changing the colonial laws governing the resource sector.

New Ireland Governor and former prime minister Sir Julius Chan, who has been fighting for fair and equal benefit sharing and ownership of resources in the country, said now was the time to take back the country.

He said for the good of the nation, it was time to take back the resources and give it back to the people by legislating resource benefit laws.
Sir Julius said Papua New Guinea exported more than K30 billion worth of resources (in oil, gas, copper, gold, nickel and the agriculture and fisheries) each year but only a small percentage of that remained in the country.

He said of the K30 billion, only about K5 billion was retained in the country through taxes, royalties and equities while the rest was taken out unlike other countries who had a greater return from their resources.

“Many countries get almost half the value of their resources from what they export so we must change,” he said.

“We must change our laws and we must take back the country back as the prime minister said.” He said among them was the laws governing the resource sector that needed to be changed to take back what rightfully belonged to the people and the country.

Sir Julius, debating on the economic status of the country, said the landowner rights and resources were given away when development licences are issued.

He said landowners and government paid for the equity from their share and that needed to change for greater benefits to flow back to the people.

“The landowners and provincial governments are given two per cent equity and development levies yet the companies get that back through tax rebates so in fact the companies or developers pay nothing, the people are paying for their own royalties, the company is paying nothing.”
Sir Julius said the country was in an economic crisis.

“Over the last five years, we have not been true to ourselves,” he said.

“We have been over estimating our budgets revenues and underestimated our expenditures so each years we have ended up with a far higher budget deficit.

“We need to admit we have a problem.”

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Solomon Islands: bay hit by oil spill suffers second mining contamination crisis

A major bauxite spill has turned water red at Rennell Island in the Solomon Islands. Photograph: Supplied

An estimated 5,000 tonnes of bauxite has spilled into Kangava Bay, where a tanker ran aground in February

Lisa Martin | The Guardian | 5 July 2019

A second major spill has hit the pristine Solomon Islands bay where a bulk carrier ran aground on a coral reef and leaked oil earlier this year.

On Monday, an estimated 5,000 tonnes of bauxite, the ore used in aluminium smelting, slipped into the water at Kangava Bay, Rennell Island, while it was being loaded on to a barge.

“The water is red. It’s like a scene from the Exodus,” a source on the island told the Guardian.

It is the second major environmental disaster for the area this year.

MV Solomon Trader ran aground on a reef in February, spilling about 80 tonnes of heavy fuel oil. The vessel was there to load bauxite from the island’s mining operations, which lies on the doorstep of a world heritage site in the island’s east.

The Guardian understands the Solomon Islands government is expected to sign off on the four-month oil spill clean up on 17 July, following the completion of the environmental assessment.

While local villagers have been told not to eat fish, it is understood many still are, in the absence of other food sources on the remote island. Test results are yet to come back to determine whether fish stocks have been contaminated with hydrocarbons.

“The impact of the oil is not nearly as bad as you would expect. The oil isn’t likely to cause any long-term damage,” a seperate person on the ground told the Guardian.

“The bauxite is the overwhelming issue by a long shot and that is causing substantial long term changes to the marine ecosystem.”

Ongoing mismanagement of bauxite loading has resulted in the whole bottom of the bay, down to several hundred metres, being covered in the mineral, the source said.

“It’s just totally out of control,” he said.

University of Technology Sydney water and ecology expert Martina Doblin warned the bauxite powder was likely to smother and bury what is on the ocean floor and will be spread around in tidal currents.

“It could limit the amount of light, so the water is cloudy and that means less light penetration for coral and sea grasses … it would have a harmful effect,” Doblin said.

OceansWatch Solomon Islands spokesman Lawrence Nodua said the contamination would cause problems for fish breeding.

“Normally fish come to where the coral are, so if the coral dies, they won’t be there, and [will lose the reef protection],” he said.

He claimed there were reports that children swimming in the bay were experiencing skin irritation from the poor water quality.

A Bintan Mining Solomon Islands company spokesman told the Guardian on Thursday that loading operations were suspended following the incident on Monday. The company would not comment further.

Sources on the ground said the company had moved loading operations to other parts of the island.

During the height of the oil spill disaster, Bintan Mining Solomon Islands faced criticism for continuing with its bauxite loading operations.

While currents pushed slick away from the world heritage site, the Guardian has been told small amounts have washed up in the area.

“Nothing significant, literally the size of a 50c piece here or there,” another source said.

Since 2013 the site has been on a Unesco danger list because of logging and overfishing.

The bulk carrier’s insurer, KP&I, said negotiations over clean-up operation costs would kick off soon but warned compensation claims would take time.

Although matters of liability are yet to be determined, the insurer and ship owner have previously “expressed deep remorse” and characterised the situation as “totally unacceptable”.

Comment has been sought from the Solomon Islands Maritime Authority, National Disaster Management Office and mining ministry.

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