In July 2019, while attempting to load bauxite from a nearby mine , bulk carrier MV Solomon Trader ran aground on a reef carrying 700 tonnes of oil , spilling thereby the oil into the waters of the Rennell island . Earlier that year, another ship spilled more than 100 tons of oil into the eastern side of this same bay after strong waves pushed the ship into a reef. As a consequence an estimated 300 people of Tenuginuku tribe residing along the coast, until present day, are not able to have fresh fish for food nor swim the waters needed for their traditional way of living . The total oil spill is estimated at 300 tonnes .
East part of the Rennell island is also protected by UNESCO as it contains the largest raised coral atoll in the world . The vessel, however, was leaking fuel for a few months. Furthermore, little progress has been done on stopping oil leaking from the vessel  .
The Indonesian companies Bintan Mining, Indo Bauxite Mining Corp., and subcontracted by Asia Pacific Investment Development company chartered the ship. The ship's insurers are Korea Protection and Indemnity Club, and the owner is King Trader Ltd .
Bauxite mining on the Island began in 2014. Besides the Bitan company involved in this conflict, other companies are operating on the site (e.g. Australian Pacific Bauxite). All of the ore from Rennell goes to China, by far the world’s largest producer of aluminum   . Island residents, however, have seen little in return . "We do not benefit from mining", a local resident stated , adding, “It’s toxic in the sea.” . The spills had caused irreversible socio-ecological damage on the island. Villagers say they have felt sick after the spill. Their skin itches and their children have been vomiting  .
At the early time of the incidents, the prime minister of the country was considering temporarily halting loading activities at the port run by the mining company (Bintan). However, mining operations were not suspended . Yet the PM ordered an investigation on how a company called Asia Pacific Investment Development obtained a mining lease since Bintan mines the bauxite under contract with Asia Pacific Investment Development  . In 2015, this company was found guilty of illegal logging in the Solomons. Accordingly, a report by the nation’s attorney general has found that the lease for bauxite mining was granted without a recommendation from the country’s Mines and Minerals Board .
Although the Government pressed a lawsuit against the shipowner (King Trader Ltd), at the same time the Government issued further licenses to the company (Bintan) for nearby islands .
The sites where Bintan operates were supposed to be mined in phases rehabilitated, according to an environmental impact assessment. But that never happened. A resident belonging to the Tenuginuku tribe stated that Bintan is digging on ancestral lands, destroying graveyards, and other important sites .
An Australian academic and environmental management expert says the oil spills in Rennell were not just an accident but an inevitable outcome of a broken system: questions of liability, inadequate legislation and corporate [ir]responsibility have been pored over again with the incidents being described as the worst in the country's history .
A spokesman for land on which the Rennell Island deposits occur, and also secretary of the Lake Tengano World Heritage Site Association, claims that ‘no forms of mining will be accepted on their land’. The land spokesman is saying the community was never consulted, that what happened was that "company representatives and associates lured the people of the island to sign documents they knew nothing about" . The mining companies bullied and tricked communities into signing over prospecting rights to their land . However, one of the companies--- the Australian Pacific Bauxite denied any allegations and said it had worked in close consultation with landowners (traditional communities) who supported their work . Yet Some landowners have said they were not properly told about the environmental impact of mining, and others claimed they were coerced into signing blank pieces of paper or had their signatures forged .
Just after the oil cleanup, Rennell Island was hit by bauxite leaking about 5000 tonnes of ore into the waters of Kangava Bay by the same ship MV Solomon Trader. The bauxite incident occurred during barge loading operations  . Again the contamination damaged the reef along the shoreline, harming local fish stocks and impacting the livelihood of the local community .