GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS HINDER SOLOMON ISLANDS MINERAL EXPLORATION: MINISTER NAEZON

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (January 6, 1998 - PACNEWS)---Cumbersome government rules and procedures are hindering mineral exploration in the Solomon Islands, according to Minister for Energy, Mines and Mineral Resources Walter Naezon.

Speaking to mark the first 100 days of the Alliance for Change government, he said other constraints to development of a more vigorous Solomon Islands mining industry include limited financing, lack of local expertise and a shortage of heavy equipment.

Naezon said his ministry, since the new government come to power, has received seven applications for prospecting licenses, to take place on Choiseul, Isabel, Rennell and the New Georgia islands. During this same period, he added, the government issued just one prospecting license, to New Rush N-L company for work in East Guadalcanal.

To date, the minister noted, more than two-thirds of all the Solomon Islands have undergone mineral prospecting.

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