MFMR convenes the 2nd Technical Working Group Meeting for the Bina Harbour Tuna Processing Plant Project

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The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) convened the second meeting of the Bina Harbour Tuna Processing Plant (BHTPP) Project Technical Working Group (TWG) on Tuesday 02 August 2022.

The Bina Harbour Tuna Processing Plant Project is a government initiative to develop a commercial onshore tuna processing plant at Bina Harbour in Malaita Province. The key policy purpose of the project is to increase the national value captured from our tuna resource and to improve employment opportunities in Malaita.

The BHTPP Project will see the establishment of a fisheries port and tuna processing plant, expected to create more than 1500 direct jobs. The facility is expected to serve as the nucleus of a growing commercial township and underpin new economic activity in all of Malaita.

The purpose of the TWG meeting is to bring the Deputy Secretaries (Technical) of key Ministries, or their equivalent, and supporting development partners together to contribute to the implementation and success of this complex, national development project.

The meeting was chaired by the Deputy Secretary Technical of MFMR, Ms Rosalie Masu. In her opening remarks Ms Masu noted that the Bina Harbour project remains a top priority of Government, “one that has the potential to have major impacts on our national need to make wise use of our natural endowments to drive economic growth, to provide jobs and livelihoods, and enhance social equity”.

She went on to applaud Government’s Development Partners for actively supporting the project, namely the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), the Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group.

During the meeting, the Ministry’s Bina Harbour Project team described the project’s overall  progress and recent achievements, noting the settlement of the land needed for the project, positive engagement with communities having rights over water sources and harbour access, and the commissioning of a major technical study of the project’s water supply and wastewater management needs, with the support of Australia through the Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program and the technical supervision of Solomon Water.

The team also noted the signing of an agreement with IFC to act as Government’s Transaction Adviser for the project, which includes IFC commissioning technical, legal and financial analysis work.

Separately, New Zealand has completed a grant funding arrangement with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to finance the Bina Region Arrangements for Governance (BRAG), this initiative will better enable MFMR to continue its detailed engagement with the customary rights holders to the Bina land, water resources and harbour access.

The team also highlighted collaboration with USAID’s SCALE Natural Resource Management Activity in Malaita which, among other things, will support better management of water catchments in the project area.

Ms Masu re-emphasised that the BHTPP Project requires an all-of-Government effort to be successful and asked the Technical Working Group members for their support as needed. She reminded members that their deliberations and recommendations would be taken to the Project Steering Committee, which sets the project’s direction.

The meeting closed with consensus that the project is well on track but that a range of preliminary works is becoming increasingly urgent if the project is to meet its timelines. These include master planning of the infrastructure, geotechnical investigation, study of the source and supply of gravel and fill, port management, power supply, and town planning.

SOURCE: Bina Harbour Project media

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