HC Deb 24 May 1978 vol 950 c1549
3. Mr. Thompson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he anticipates that phosphate mining of Banaba will be completed and the operation of the British Phosphate Commission terminated.

Mr. Luard

It is expected that phosphate mining on Banaba will be complete in 1979 and that the British Phosphate Commission's operations on the island will be wound up in 1980.

Mr. Thompson

In view of the fact that the Banabans are determined to resettle their homeland and that this point of view was accepted by the Gilbertese Government in the recent Bairiki resolutions, what steps are being taken by participant Governments in the British Phosphate Commission to ensure that Ocean Island becomes a flourishing homeland for a thriving Banaban community and not simply a sterile monument to British financial greed?

Mr. Luard

The right of the Banabans to return to Ocean Island and resume their occupations has never been contested. The question of the replanting of the island was one of the subjects of the recent legal action on which an award was made. We have offered to undertake a resources survey to enable the Banabans to resume their occupations there.