Solomon Islands is unprepared to manage a minerals-based economy

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Author/s (editor/s):

Graham Baines

Publication year:

2015

Publication type:

Discussion paper

Now that Solomon Islands' timber resources are depleted there is a renewed focus on exploiting the nation's mineral resources. With the country's only mine, at Gold Ridge, blocked by downstream villagers from operating, and confusion over which company has the legal right to prospect in other areas there are serious questions about Solomon Islands' ability to manage mineral development so as to benefit from it. Similarities with the distortions accompanying logging are used to demonstrate such unpreparedness.

Drawing mainly on local sources of information a range of factors that villagers face when deciding whether or not to allow access to minerals buried in land over which they hold customary tenure is considered. The paper also addresses the weaknesses and uncertainty of national-level arrangements for handling foreign companies' interest in the country's minerals, and some of the ways in which mining companies have manipulated the porous process of mineral development approval.

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