ALLOW me to reply to the concerns raised by the Solomon Islands National Union of Workers general secretary Tony Kagovai, on my background and that of my company.

First of all my name is Kelvyn Alp, not "Kelvyn Alps" as asserted by Mr Kagovai - this of course shows the depth of his investigative skills when he cannot even get the basics correct.

Second, Mr Kagovai suggests I do not know anything about mining.

My response to this is simple, do I have too?

I know how to run a business and in the course of doing so it is standard practice that the people engaged to undertake various positions within any operation, would be both knowledgeable and experienced at their job.

So even if I was absolutely clueless about mining, those that I employ to undertake the mining will be highly qualified in their fields of expertise and therefore ensure an effective and successful operation.

Third, he has boldly come out in the media and called me a "conman" and "shady" - this is defamation of character!

However, I will afford him the opportunity to withdraw those remarks as publically as he has made them.

Fourth, my background is one of public knowledge and needs no "uncovering" to find anything out.

He is referring to matters relating to nine years ago, yet the reasons for such are conveniently being left out of the equation.

Unless he did not know, police checks are conducted and backgrounds investigated prior to the granting of residency permits and the likes.

If I was as "dangerous" as he states, surely this would have been shown to be the case at the time of my application for the various stages that have lead to the Mining Licence application and the subsequent granting of such.

Again, I have chosen to back the minorities and those less fortunate who are constantly taken advantage of in the past.

I will not now, nor in the future stop trying to make a difference for people no matter how many Mr Kagovai's crawl out from under their rocks with hidden agendas.

Fifth, if it is his assertion that the definition of "shady" means setting a benchmark of business practices and bringing about equality for all business dealings with the landowners - the very people that own the resources - then I guess it would have to apply in that sense.

I must of course ask Mr Kogovai what he has done for the people of the Solomon Islands?

It is quite apparent that his position in the Union has not created any real advances for those that work their guts out everyday just so they can afford to be broke.

How many of the "workers" that he represents could state with all honesty that Mr Kagovai has improved their standard of living?

Sixth, I believe Mr Kagovai could not have thought of this smear campaign all on his own and vested interests must be behind these attacks.

Seventh, much is being said about the short length of time it has taken to conduct the initial prospecting (which are of course ongoing), however, what many are finding difficult to distinguish is the fact alluvial mining is completely different to that of hard rock mining.

Alluvial mining has a far lower set up and extraction cost compared to other forms of mining.

It is also for the most part very environmentally friendly and uses no chemicals in the mining process.

Alluvial prospecting is also far easier to conduct, as all it requires is pit sampling of various targeted areas to determine the dispersal of the alluvial metals consistent with what is known of the geology.

Calculations are then made to determine the concentration and of the alluvial content throughout the concession area.

So this is of course a hell of a lot easier than having to drill many holes deep into the earth. Of course if Mr Kagovai knew anything about the various types of mining, then he would already know this wouldn't he?

In closing, if Mr Kagovai had any concerns he could have simply approached me directly and asked his questions.

He chose instead to conduct this targeted attack.

Mr Kagovai, you have had you limp 15 minutes of fame and now it's time to move on and actually do something productive to improve the lives of the people that actually matter in the Solomon Islands.

I will expect an apology from you when I deliver on what I promise.

Managing Director
Pheonix International (SI) Limited