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Solomon Islands Bay Hit by Oil Spill Suffers Second Contamination Crisis

Mining News - Published on Fri, 12 Jul 2019

Image Source: The Guardian
The Guardian reported that a second major spill has hit the pristine Solomon Islands bay where a bulk carrier ran aground on a coral reef and leaked oil earlier this year. An estimated 5,000 tonnes of bauxite, the ore used in aluminium smelting, slipped into the water at Kangava Bay, Rennell Island, while it was being loaded on to a barge. A source on the island told the Guardian that “The water is red. It’s like a scene from the Exodus.”

It is the second major environmental disaster for the area this year. MV Solomon Trader ran aground on a reef in February, spilling about 80 tonnes of heavy fuel oil. The vessel was there to load bauxite from the island’s mining operations, which lies on the doorstep of a world heritage site in the island’s east.

The Guardian understands the Solomon Islands government is expected to sign off on the four-month oil spill clean up on 17 July, following the completion of the environmental assessment. While local villagers have been told not to eat fish, it is understood many still are, in the absence of other food sources on the remote island. Test results are yet to come back to determine whether fish stocks have been contaminated with hydrocarbons.

A separate person told the Guardian that “The impact of the oil is not nearly as bad as you would expect. The oil isn’t likely to cause any long-term damage. The bauxite is the overwhelming issue by a long shot and that is causing substantial long term changes to the marine ecosystem.”

The source said that ongoing mismanagement of bauxite loading has resulted in the whole bottom of the bay, down to several hundred metres, being covered in the mineral.

Source :

Posted By : Sanju Moirangthem on Fri, 12 Jul 2019
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