Millions of Taxes Unpaid to the Solomon Islands by Mining Operation

APID and subcontractor Bintan Mining Solomon Islands Ltd (BMSI) have not paid taxes or royalties on more than one-third of their exports.

FREMONT, CA: A mining company owes the Solomon Islands millions in unpaid taxes and royalties. APID and its subcontractor Bintan Mining Solomon Islands Ltd (BMSI) have not paid taxes or royalties on more than one-third of their exports over the previous five years, according to information obtained from a senior government official. Bauxite ore, which is used in the manufacturing of aluminum, has been exported from the West Rennell Islands since 2015, with more than 100 shipments to other countries. But, just 67 of the 100 shipments they made throughout their time in business have been paid royalties.

There are estimated to be around $13.4 million in unpaid ore shipments, as well as A$1.65 million in taxes and A$1.65 million in payments for the rehabilitation of the island, payable to the island's proprietors.

The extraction of bauxite

Typically, the mining of bauxite is very harmful to the environment as it is mined by stripping the land of its overburden. Since the beginning of bauxite mining on Rennell Island, it has been a source of contention. There has been an estimated 50 percent exportation of the bauxite-rich soil in West Rennell since 2014. In February 2019, MV Solomon Trader, a bulk carrier, got aground on the Kongobainiu reef with 700 metric tonnes of oil on board.It is still the worst man-made catastrophe in the country's history.

An employee of BMSI had rented the bulk carrier and was trying to load bauxite from a nearby mine when it fell afoul of the vessel's safety regulations. The effects on the ecosystem were substantial. In addition to causing the destruction of 10,000 square meters of coral reef and 4,000 square meters of lagoon habitat, the oil leak resulted in an estimated A$50 million in economic damages.

An unresolved legacy of violence.

There are accusations that mining-related damage in the Kongobainiu reef was not adequately remedied by APID and its subcontractor, BMSI. The majority of the mined regions, according to Biliki, have never been totally repaired. In mid-October 2020, the Soloman Island Government formally terminated APID's mining license, as a result of the harm caused by mining. An example of the larger problem of mining companies not fulfilling their commitments to smaller states in terms of community remediation and post-project cleanup, which the APID has utterly failed to achieve.