Another mining mess in Solomon Islands

APID offers way out

Bradford Theonomi | Solomon Star

Asia Pacific Investment Development (APID) has willingly offered a way out of the mess on Rennell mining, suggesting taking the place of exporting stockpiles because they are a legal mining company.The call came after decision taken by Cabinet to approve PT Bintang Borneo limited shipment of stockpiled bauxite from the Rennell mine creating much criticism with the decision taken as a joke.

A Company spokesman said APID stands ready to clean the mess willingly if necessary and requested to do so by the government.

“APID offers better benefit on royalties to the landowners and the government for this one shipment if guaranteed.”

Bintang Borneo, Managing Director was contacted for comments last night but he did not answer his phone.

However an inside source at the Mines office claimed that the Cabinet decision is being politicized.

“Issuing the permit basing it on common sense is a total negligence of the country’s Mining Act.

“What common sense are we talking about here, when already the laws that governs the mining industry spells out clearly,” an inside source revealed.

The statement made by Prime Minister’s Office as lame and acting outside common sense and that the landowners including the country will actually be on the losing end in terms of royalty benefits, added the source.

But the statement issued on approval by the Cabinet said it has considered the pros and cons surrounding the consignment. Concluding that exporting the bauxite was in the best interest of the stakeholders including the landowners and the nation as each would derive benefits from the exports.

According to a letter this paper obtained dated 25th November 2014, the Ministry of Mines explains how Bintang Borneo supposed to pay royalties.

“…this is to confirm that Bintang Borneo Limited is paying to the Solomon Islands Government royalty equal to three percent of the gross value of all raw bauxites ores mined from the Mining Area under the Mining lease or Gross Value based on the Dry Metric Ton (DMT).

…of royalties payable to Solomon Islands Government using the above prescribed rate, fifty percent shall be included in the Consolidated Revenue of the Government of Solomon Islands, forty percent shall be paid into the West Rennell Landowners Special Trust Account for and on behalf of the Central and East Rennell Landowners, and ten percent shall be paid into the Renbel Provincial Special Trust Account for and on behalf of the Renbel Provincial Government.”

But the source reveals comparing royalties of PT Bintang Borneo and Asia Pacific Investment Development Limited (APID) to be a big difference.

“Bintang Borneo is paying royalties at 3 percent compared to APID it pays royalty at 6.5 almost doubled.

“Thus claim of exporting the bauxite was in the best interest of the stakeholders including the landowners and the nation is a total joke and not close to common sense logically,” said the source.

APID Spokesman person said they have nothing to hide but willingly available to clean up the mess knowing very well PT Bintang Borneo is already out of the context from their understanding according to laws of Solomon Islands.

“We do not understand reversing of the cancellation of PT Bintang Borneo’s Mining lease license and gave them a special permit.

“But we want to help clear the mess,” said the spokesman.

 

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Filed under Financial returns, Solomon Islands

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