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Solomon Islands bars Bauxite mining on Wagina Island

Wednesday, Nov 11, 2020

   Hon. Culwick Togamana, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology have supported the decision to decline the development of a bauxite mine on Wagina Island.

  Solomon Islands stops Bauxite mining on Wagina Island
  Richard Pearshouse, Head of Crisis and Environment, Amnesty International, said: “This is a hard-won victory for Wagina Island residents who rely on their island and waters around the proposed mining site for their livelihoods.”
  “The Minister has heard their concerns loud and clear: environmental decisions are always better when local communities are adequately consulted. When Amnesty International researched on the ground in 2019, many community members said they did not feel sufficiently informed or consulted about this mining proposal.”
  Wagina Island, a remote island of approximately 80 km2 in north-west Choiseul Province and its residents are originally from Kiribati, having been relocated in the early 1960s by the British colonial administration. Estimated at around 2,000 people, they live by subsistence farming, fishing and seaweed farming.
  Following an investigation on Wagina Island in December’19, Amnesty International called on the Minister of the Environment to conduct face-to-face consultations with local communities to hear their concerns before deciding the fate of a proposed bauxite mine. Residents told Amnesty International that they were concerned about the possible impacts from mining on fishing and sea-weed farming from mine run-off or disturbances to fresh groundwater discharges into the sea.
  Report on Global Bauxite Industry Insights
  Solomon Bauxite Limited (SBL) secured bauxite mining permit to mine in Wagina Island from the Ministry of Environment in 2013. The next year, Wagina Island residents fought the decision, eventually winning a Supreme Court stay on the mine’s development until the matter was further scrutinized. In March 2019, the Environmental Advisory Committee overturned the mining licence, after residents raised fears it could impact livelihoods on the island.
  The Environment Minister’s latest decision comes in response to an appeal from SBL to overturn that March 2019 move.

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