Sun. Dec 15th, 2019

Japanese firm behind Ngarchelong sand mine expands operation

RAM Corporation President Michinori Shimizu (left) and Emmaus Gospel Kindergarten Principal Prima Kual signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the handover of $70,000 to the school for the construction of two classrooms during the ceremony at the Emmaus Gospel Kindergarten in Koror on September 25. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)

FILE PHOTO: RAM Corporation President Michinori Shimizu (left) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the handover of $70,000 to a school in Palau which will be used for the construction of two classrooms during the ceremony on September 25. 

The Japanese company, which previously entered into an agreement with Ngarchelong State for a sand mining project, will expand its operation to the other states in Palau.

According to the Foreign Investment Board (FIB) documents, RAM Corporation sought amendments to its Foreign Investment Approval Certificate (FIAC) to not only conduct sand mining in Ngarchelong but to the other states on Palau as well.

The FIAC amendment, however, did not specify where Ram Corporation will operate a sand mining project.

The amended FIAC stated that Ram Corporation will “engage in mining, processing, and distribution of ocean sands in all states of Republic of Palau (ROP).”

Last year, the company was under fire over its proposed sand mining project in Ngarchelong.

The Ngarchelong State community expressed outrage, calling the plan a serious threat to their environment and livelihood.

The proposed project is due to be located on the home reefs and seagrass bed of a small community in the north of Palau.

The same areas are home to numerous endangered species such as dugongs, turtles, stingrays, eagle rays and other fish species.

The local community relies heavily on subsistence fishing and food gathering in these areas.

The joint venture between the Ngarchelong State Government and RAM Corporation Inc. proposes dredging of an unlimited amount of sand for the next 50 years.

The venture gives 35 percent of the sand mining profits to the state while the rest is for the Japanese RAM Corporation.

The former governor of Ngarchelong State, Browny Salvador, reportedly signed the joint venture agreement on behalf of the state in August of 2017.  (Bernadette H. Carreon)