Wagina appeal Solomon Islands EDO NSW

Australian-based developer appeals historic decision against Solomon Islands bauxite mine

May 2019: The first and ground-breaking decision by the Solomon Islands Environment Advisory Committee (EAC) refusing development consent for a bauxite mine on Wagina Island has been appealed by the developer, Solomon Bauxite Limited (SBL).

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Houses on Wagina island. Creative Commons.

In their decision of 26 March 2019, the EAC found that:

  • Legislative procedures for public consultation and publication of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) were not followed;
  • the EIS did not meet legislative and regulatory requirements;
  • the decision to issue a development consent is inconsistent with the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and
  • there were unacceptable impacts to the environment, the residents of Wagina and their livelihoods and on nearby islands and marine environment.

SBL, which appears to be have been backed by Australian, New Zealand and Hong Kong based interests, was granted the development consent in 2013.

SBL is appealing the EAC decision under section 32(7) of the Environment Act 1998 (SI), which confers a right for any person aggrieved by the decision of the EAC to lodge an appeal directly to the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management & Meteorology to make such orders as the Minister considers just.

EDO NSW's International Program is assisting the Landowners Advocacy and Legal Support Unit (LALSU) within the Solomon Islands Public Solicitor’s Office (PSO) in responding to this appeal.

More about the history of this case and related work: