An Australian politician has expressed concern on how his country’s mining companies are unfairly treated regarding their licenses applications in the Solomon Islands.

In the presence of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare at this morning’s opening of the 9th Australia Solomon Islands Business Forum, Hon Keith Pitt Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment used the opportunity to express the concerns of his country’s mining companies and their unfair treatment.

He said: “The Australian Government has received expressions of concern from some of its mining companies around the treatment of licenses applications. They believe the processing of mining licenses have not always consistent with Solomon Islands legislation.”

The mining sector though new has been at the forefront of controversy following the issuing of licenses to certain mining companies, some under very controversial circumstances.

Mr Pitt said that the Australian mining industry does have a lot to offer to Solomon Islands adding that the projects that Australia companies involve with have the potential to make a substantial contribution to the local economy and those contributions flow through to all Solomon Islanders.

“Sound laws and regulations and the consistent application of them will naturally lead to more foreign investment in the mining sector.

“And the crucial point is, better governance will attract more responsible foreign investments,” said the Australian politician.

The two-day forum is attracting businesses from Australia and Solomon Islands and is jointly organized by the SI Chamber of Commerce and Industries and the Australia Pacific Islands Business Council.

It’s the second time that it is held in Honiara.


CAPTION: Hon Keith Pitt Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment