Design of the Solomon Islands Minerals Advisory Centre

Honiara, Solomon Islands
The Minerals Policy Inter-Ministerial Taskforce, Solomon Islands Government
The World Bank

The mining sector in Solomon Islands has the potential to contribute much needed fiscal revenue to the state, while creating employment and livelihood opportunities for local communities. However, recent experiences of mining in the archipelago nation have been characterized by environmental degradation and a range of both positive and negative social impacts.

In 2013, a stakeholder forum was convened in Isabel Province to discuss experiences of mining impacts. One key proposal that came out of this forum was the suggestion to establish an independent centre that could provide support to landowners and impacted communities throughout the mining lifecycle. The idea was to help to address the asymmetry of information, experience and capacity as local landowners and communities in Solomon Islands encounter foreign mining companies.

This local idea was turned into a policy position in the Solomon Islands National Minerals Policy, launched in 2017. The Minerals Policy envisions the “Strengthening of access to legal advice, awareness training, financial management support and other services to enable effective participation by landowners, communities and other project impacted persons, through an independent Centre designed for this purpose.”

Against this background, the World Bank and The Minerals Policy Inter-Ministerial Taskforce of the Solomon Islands Government commissioned Square Circle to conduct a scoping study and run a design workshop for the proposed Centre.

The scoping study provides a number of findings that were endorsed by The Task force. The design workshop included more than 25 representatives from government, the private sector, civil society and landowners and communities impacted by mining exploration and development projects. Establishment of the Centre is underway, and Square Circle maintains an on ongoing role in supporting the Ministry of Mines, Minerals, Energy and Rural Electrification to improve the governance of the minerals sector.

Video Report on the Design of the Solomon Islands Minerals Advisory Centre

The Solomon Islands Minerals Advisory Centre Workshop Report

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See Report

We have agreements they are prepared by lawyers for the company but then we don't have any lawyers to prepare our own agreement or to oversee the agreement prepared. We are only told to accept it or lose it.

Community member, Choiseul Province.

Now, this is very good because it’s an independent body and we feel that if this one is set up before, now mining happen and prospecting happens, we will not lose.

Community Member, Rennelland Bellona Province

We have easy access to transport to villages. We have few money out of the project to meet our livelihood and education. Now, one of the very challenges that hit our communities is the hidden agreement made by the company.

Landowner, Guadalcanal Province

"We all have a feeling that all things that they're making us, we don't have ground to negotiate with the companies because the companies they have money, they have resources."

Landowner, Choiseul Province

Not only that one, but this is also where we can meet other landowners or other resource owners who want to come and use the centre to talk about our lots, what we will experience, what's gonna happen. We could mingle with them and also get more information.

Landowner, Isabel Province

We really have a big impact on the environment. The mine area or the shores that have been removed were not yet recovered to date.

Landowner, Rennell and Bellona Province

There is no recovery of the mine land. They need to rehabilitate it. They need to recover it.

Landowner, Rennell and Bellona Province.

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