12 Nov 2007

Gold Ridge mine in Solomon Islands set to re-open in around 18 months

4:21 pm on 12 November 2007

Australia Solomons Gold says widespread support is helping to ensure the Gold Ridge mine on Guadalcanal will re-open on schedule.

The mine was forced to close down during the ethnic unrest in 2000, but the new owners hope to have it in production by mid 2009.

Stakeholders, including the Government, landowners and the business community are welcoming efforts to rehabilitate the mine, while the company says it is striving to ensure its operations has less impact on the environment than before.

But Keith Nielsen, the country manager of Australia Solomons Gold says there's still a lot of work to do before refurbishments on the mine can begin by early April next year.

"We're also in the process now of finishing an accommodation village where we can move the contractors in early March/ or April next year for the refurbishment construction. At this stage of the refurbishment programme, we're doing a lot of minor works around the plant, like building new office blocks, putting first aid provisions in and cleaning up."

The mine is expected to provide more than 35-percent of the country's income once it is in full operation.