SOLOMONS AGRICULTURE MINISTER PAENI DEFENDS PLAN TO ACCEPT TAIWAN FACTORY

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (May 10, 2002 – Radio Australia)---A Solomon Islands government minister has dismissed concerns over the dumping of Taiwanese factory waste.

Agriculture Minister Stephen Paeni says the waste is safe and can bring enormous benefits to the country and Makira Island, where it would end up.

The Solomons has been offered an upfront payment of about US$ 200 million to accept the waste, and a further US$ 35 million per 10,000- ton shipment.

Taiwan does not have the land required to dispose of the humus and sediment material, said Mr. Paeni.

"Taiwan, as we know, is a small island and their industry is well advanced. This humus is not nuclear soil; neither is it hazardous. It is a government factory. The factory waste has gone through processing. It is purified. And this is why it is an exportable commodity," Mr. Paeni said.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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