Papua New Guinea
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Questions over Aussie phosphate miner

The Rabi islanders are Banabans removed from the Kiribati Island at the end of the Second World War by the British government because of the damage caused by mining, Radio New Zealand Pacific reports.

Administrator Jacob Karutake is back on Rabi to talk to people about the allegations that he failed to consult before allowing Australian miner Centrex to begin exploring Banaba.

Karutake claimed he did consult with all villages in Rabi in May this year, but Rae Bainteiti of the Banaban Human Rights Network alleges that this was not true.

Karutake reportedly said: "I will consult the people before mining commences."

"I have decided to proceed with exploration without consultation in the best interest of the people and I have advised Jacob Lanyon who has lobbied for Centrex to stay away from this. Mining and exploration are two different things," he said.

Bainteiti said exploration was clearly the initial step toward mining and that there was a strong community backlash to what Karutake had claimed.

He said in 2022 the Australian mining company Centrex was stopped by then acting Rabi administrator Filipe Bainimoli after the proposal was scrutinised by the Fiji government as posing a substantial environmental impact.

The Network is calling for Karutake to provide a copy of the proposal for exploration that was signed with Centrex; to stop any exploration; to review the Banaban Settlement Act; and to reinstate the Rabi Council of Leaders.

This report first appeared at RNZ Pacific's website.