13 Sep 2011

Solomons police say arrests clear Gold Ridge mine access

1:40 pm on 13 September 2011

The Solomon Islands acting police commissioner Walter Kola says the main road to the Gold Ridge mine is now open after the arrests of 16 protestors who'd blocked it at the weekend.

It's the latest in a series of disputes around the mine mounted by landowning groups.

Mr Kola says the 16 were arrested because they ignored a police request that the barrier, made up of motor vehicles, rocks and drums, be removed.

He says the protestors claim it's a private road and Gold Ridge should pay to use it but he says talks on the issue had already been initiated by the company, the government and landowning groups.

"Although it is that the road blocks were done by different groups, they were related, they come from the same area so we thought that we cannot allow such criminal activities to continue, and therefore police have to intervene by enforcing the law."

The Solomon Islands acting police commissioner Walter Kola.

Another 35 people were arrested over the weekend in Honiara.

Mr Kola says these were mostly for minor issues such as drinking in public.