GOVERNMENT ORDERS STOP TO LOGGING AREA NEAR HONIARA

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (January 18, 1999 - PACNEWS/SIBC)---The Solomon Islands Commissioner of Lands, Silas Chekana, has ordered a stop to all logging activity in the Mount Austin area on the outskirts of Honiara.

Chekana issued the order following an inspection of the area by the Prime Minister, Bartholomew Ulufa‘alu, last Thursday.

During his visit to Mount Austin, Ulufa'alu discovered that a number of expatriates and locals are engaged in logging without the approval of the Forestry Department.

Chekana said an independent body to be appointed shortly will conduct a full inquiry into the activities of these companies.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Forests will confiscate all logs harvested from the Mount Austin area until the inquiry is completed.

Chekana said the Mount Austin area was acquired by the government in the 1980s for the construction of a dam.

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