Solomon Islands

Solomons goldmine scraps untreated waste release

A prolonged wet season earlier this year filled the dam to bursting point, prompting the Solomons Government to issue an emergency licence in July for the controlled release of millions of litres of untreated waste water into the river system.

The Chairperson of local landowning company Gold Ridge Community Investment Ltd, Walton Naezon, however says that since then water levels in the dam have dropped.

Mr Naezon says the company is now focusing on building a water treatment plant with the help of mine's previous Australian owners, St Barbara.

Sogavare pushes for West Papua at Forum

The government's special envoy on West Papua Matthew Wale says the Solomon Islands is supporting the United Liberation Movement of West Papua's application for observer status at the Forum.

The ULMWP was granted observer status in the Melanesian Spearhead Group at the regional organisation's recent leaders summit in Honiara.

Mr Wale says Solomon Islands will also urge Forum leaders to support a resolution calling for the UN Human Rights Commissioner to conduct an assessment on the human rights situation in West Papua.

Solomons loggers call for evidence of Tax evasion

The allegations were originally levelled at logging companies by the former Minister of Forests Bodo Dettke when he was removed from his portfolio amid concerns of it conflicting with his extensive logging interests.

Since then civil society organisations and members of the public have been calling for the offending companies to be prosecuted.

But the president of the Solomon Forest Association, Johnny Sy, says it is almost a month since the allegations were made and no evidence has surfaced to support the claims.

Solomons embracing cattle farming again

Last weekend, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock began distributing animals from the Tenavatu Breeding Station to six selected farmers from Guadalcanal.

The process will continue next year during which farmers from other provinces will be given animals to raise.

In 2011, the government imported around 400 head of cattle from Vanuatu, at a cost of $US150 thousand dollars and they have been kept at the Tenavatu Farm in Central Guadalcanal while selected farms have been rehabilitated.

ADB pushes open skies

He made the comment during a recent visit to Fiji and cited key priorities Pacific Opportunities: Leveraging Asia's Growth that would strengthen Pacific Island countries' links with Asian countries.

On shipping, Takehiko said, initial experience in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands suggested that subsidising the private sector on a competitive basis to undertake shipping routes to remote communities could be a better approach than through inefficient state-owned enterprises.

More reshuffled Solomon Islands ministers take oaths

This comes after reports of discontent among some of the reshuffled ministers, including the former forestry minister Bodo Dettke.

Officials at Government House say five of the six reshuffled ministers have now taken their oaths - the latest being Bodo Dettke who now becomes the Minister of Culture and Tourism and Freda Tuki taking the portfolio for Youth, Women and Children's Affairs.

Tuki says she was swayed to take the new post after talking with her constituents.

Solomons government cancels 30+ Agro-forestry permits

The government says the revocation came because it understands exemption orders allowing companies to fell timber for uses other than the export of round logs were being abused.

The government says agencies have been mobilised to ensure the revocation of the permits is adhered to.

One of the areas where the issue has impacted negatively is on Mono in Shortland Islands.

Ongoing tensions between landowners and logging companies have resulted in armed conflict that the government says has divided communities and become a national security issue.

MSG Trade and Economic Meetings in Fiji

The meetings are being held at the Tanoa International Hotel, Nadi, Fiji. 

Senior officials and representatives from Fiji, PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu will be in attendance as part of talks towards a new and more comprehensive trade agreement - MSGTA3 – that will now include Trade in Services, and new chapters such as Labour Mobility, Investment, and Telecommunications. 

MSG Leaders have directed that a draft legal text of the trade agreement must be ready by November 2015.

The meetings include: 

Lost Solomons fishermen found at Fead Island

Bouganville Provincial Disaster Coordinator Franklyn Lacey says the men were found drifting at sea by locals last week.

It is not clear exactly how the two went missing however Lacey says medical officials on the island have been requested to provide medical assistance to them.

Next tier of Pacific rugby nations Oceania Cup

Cook Islands won the biennial event two years ago but will not defend their title, choosing to focus their limited resources on November's Olympic Sevens Qualifier.

Newcomers American Samoa open proceedings against Solomon Islands at Sir Hubert Murray Stadium, followed by hosts Papua New Guinea against Tahiti, in the first round of matches.

The General Manager of Rugby PNG, Frank Genia, says pride and silverware aren't the only things on up for grabs.