12 May 2005

Signing to lead to reopening of Gold Ridge Mine in Solomons

4:12 pm on 12 May 2005

The Minister of Mines and Energy in Solomon Islands says the government has signed an agreement with Australian Solomon Gold which will lead to the reopening of the Gold Ridge Mine.

Basil Manelegua says the mine on Guadalcanal contributed more than 30 percent of the country's GDP before it closed in 2000 because of the ethnic tensions.

Mr Manelegua says the agreement signals to foreign investors that the climate is right to return to the Solomons.

He says the signing is the first step in the process of reopening.

"There's going to be a drilling process for this viable feasibility studies so this development can continue before we will reopen the gold mine on the effective date which will be the time period for them to work on the reopening of the mine."

Mr Manelegua says the local landowners can now start negotiating with Australian Solomon Gold for any compensation.