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Chinese Company banned from log export

Eco-Terrorism by multinational companies must be stopped across Melanesia

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Numerous tonnes of round logs are currently stranded at Palekula on the island of Santo.

The Director of the Department of Forests (DOF) in Port Vila, Rexon Vira, revealed that the trees were felled by Vanuatu Forest Industry Limited (Ltd), a Chinese company, for export to China.

Vira said the company had already exported round logs earlier this year to produce paper, but their attempt for another export has been halted by the DOF. The department stopped them because they failed to provide the results of the final product from the first export.

The Director explained the company was granted a licence to process timber locally, not to export round logs. Due to the company’s lack of proper machinery for processing round logs, the Department has suspended their activities until they comply with Vanuatu’s laws, which prohibit the export of round logs.

Vira mentioned that the department is unaware of the value and the quantity of logs currently in Palekula. The Vanuatu Daily Post received reports from Santo that the Chinese company allegedly paid VT5,000 for a tree to landowners, but the DOF in Luganville cannot confirm this payment. They acknowledge that some landowners may have received payment for their trees.

They said some of the trees were damaged by Tropical Cyclone (TC) Harold in 2020, and the company cleared the bush to utilise the damaged trees. However, a visit to Palekula by Vanuatu Daily Post last week revealed that some recently cut logs were not damaged by TC Harold.

The Vanuatu Daily Post also observed recently felled trees near the dumpsite along the road to Suranda.

Vanuatu Forest Industry Ltd has also cleared bush around Luganville as part of a Government program for cattle restocking. Reports indicate that the Chinese company is expected to bring in machines to make wood chips. However, while waiting for the machines’ arrival, some of the logs may deteriorate.

Some Santo residents have criticised the Chinese company for its alleged negative impact on the environment, claiming that the company cut down trees that were not supposed to be felled.

Earlier in October, the then Director General (DG) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries, and Biosecurity (MALFFB), Moses Amos, along with Godfrey Bomee, Manager of Forestry Operations, confirmed that the Vanuatu Forest Industry Ltd, had undergone the necessary legal procedures and possesses a valid operational licence granted by the Vanuatu Government, administered through the DoF, and is licensed for logging with interested Santo landowners.

Source: VDP

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