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7 Nov 2020

Evan Wasuka, ABC News

Wagina Island residents win bid to stop bauxite mining plan in Solomon Islands

7 November 2020

A remote community in the Solomon Islands has scored a huge victory against a mining company, which had planned to dig an open-pit mine on their tiny island.

Wagina Island is just 78 square kilometres in size, and residents argued the open-pit bauxite mine the company had been given approval for would affect 60 per cent of the island, damaging land, rivers and the sea.

It's been a seven-year battle for the island's residents, who first took Solomon Bauxite Limited — a company owned by two Hong Kong-listed businesses — to court over its mining plan back in 2014.

The complaint was heard by the country's Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC), which last year revoked the development consent given to the mining company by the Solomon Islands Ministry of Environment.

The committee said the company had failed to follow the law by not getting community consent for its planned mine, and that it failed to provide residents with copies of its environmental impact statement.

That decision was thrown into doubt after Solomon Bauxite Limited appealed, but the country's Minister of Environment has now rejected the appeal.