Tuesday, 5 October 2010 9:12 AM

Isabel Nickel Dialogue

The media is not the only way to voice matters that democracy allows to exercise expressions. Especially when there are some restrictions on ordinary civil servants like me on whether or not, when and where, how and what it is allowable to use different media forms.

Nevertheless, its usage now by me is for the purpose to share on the discussion of mining in our country. 'Mining' is a national interests and every citizenry of this nation in a lot of different ways have due concern in the way our "Government" handles major developmental matters - for not only that it is important to understand our national undertakings but also for the benefit of planning and preparing strategically for the implications such large scale efforts will impact our the ordinary lives of our people.

It must be balanced out against for instance its potential to stir social instability through economical intoxicated projections - in the name of basic service delivery rather than the ultimate expectation on 'improved livelihood' (a terminology that Solomon Islanders need to define on its own as well).

Nonetheless, In terms of Isabel Nickel Mining/Tender, I want to state here that the National Government must attempt or must continue to ensure that it handles the issues surrounding any effort to extract minerals from Isabel - through prospecting, exploration or mining (and elsewhere in the Solomon's) with sensitivity, caution and mindfulness - for the people, culture and environment.

In the closure of the tender, I have this to say - The whole idea of asking the Government (or government itself) to put out the project for re-tender/ or tender is to attract investors. Maybe it is not to formalize current investment arrangements - It is so that we could have the liberty to choose. It is about the worry to maximize the benefits and quantify the risks and attempt to reduce if possible.

It is a power position on the periodic flow of events thus it is our turn to have an opportunity to engage and understand the concepts of development that will be introduced into our lives, its methodology to advance these concepts - and most importantly change our lives forever. This is serious because we deal with human beings and their environment - their livelihood.

My point is that strong attention is needed to focus ourselves on the legal instruments that guide this sector. There are always sentiments raised surrounding the Mines and Minerals Act - this article calls for its review, that the Act must be re-looked at.

The review of this Act is NOT a priority in the Sikua Led Government and I don't know about our current government but hopefully this will be the Government.

In the meantime, the dilemma at hand is that the tender is already out and a finalized bidder will be confirmed shortly. For this I think that this tender process has been bastardized in a lot of ways, and I think the Government should demonstrate its seriousness to listen to the people of Isabel on this matter.

I understand that any winner in this tender will take another of those rounds to talk to the people in 'principle villages' and maybe try "get signatures".

I doubt that this will be successfully done.

On the other hand I suggest that with the policy directives of the Government - we should be more responsible and increase investments in terms of research, and data analysis and develop our National Minerals Strategy for the next 50-100 years; instead of trying to fast track unnecessarily the whole concept of harvesting our natural resources uncaringly.

Don't tell me that you don't know that it can be very easily drafted, for a list of issues that matters most in the lives of our ordinary people than mining.

Let me stop here, and pardon our ignorance but this question was asked to me by Mr.Faginia and I wish to further this concern here - Mr faginia asked, that "If we do not harvest the 'nickel' in Isabel will it run away like a wild pig or will it go rotten like taro and pana".

Bongi Toke

Wilson B Karamui

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Wilson B Karamui and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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