Chiefs of the wards covering the Bauxite mining in Rennell Island are supporting the APID and Bintang Mining company to continue operations despite the government’s plan to temporarily close Kangava Bay to address the oil spill issue, the government reveals.
Government met with representatives of the mining company (APID); Mining contractor, and chiefs of the wards covered under the mining licence to discuss the temporary closure of the Kangava bay to allow unabated access to undertake surface oil clean-up.
The Chiefs agree, bauxite loading must go on simultaneously with the ongoing salvage operations so that the islanders have access to economic benefits.
But caretaker Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela says the government considers a temporary stop to BMSI loading activities and declare the bay a ‘no go zone’.
“The government is of the view that the current loading activities by BMSI must stop -temporarily – and the bay to be declared a ‘no go zone’ to ensure, The salvaging operations can run unabated and the risks to salvaging personnel is minimised;The reduced movement of crafts will ensure a faster clearance of the oil spill from the bay area,” he said.
“A rapid assessment is undertaken on the impact of the oil spill on the marine environment as well as the impact of the bauxite ore on the coral reefs as well as diseases. Assessment by our ecologist who visited the site is that the storage site of bauxite to be loaded onto the barges is an ecological environmental disaster requiring rectification with bauxite also falling freely into the surrounding ocean.”
Mr Houenipwela said there was a two view-points have been communicated by local residents on the oil spillage issue.
“One view point is concerned about the short and long-term health impacts on the communities resulting from on-going exposure to the heavy oil fumes,” he said.
“The other view point is more concerned about their economic livelihood of the company were to temporarily stop operating above their health and wellbeing.”
By: Lowen Sei.