11 Apr 2014

Australian miner says violence forced Solomons shutdown

6:48 pm on 11 April 2014

An Australian mining company says it had to temporarily abandon its Gold Ridge mine in Solomon Islands because of lawlessness at the site.

St Barbara's subsidiary, Gold Ridge Mining Limited, withdrew all personnel from its Guadalcanal gold mine following last week's torrential rain.

The company's director, Tim Lehany, says the mine's operations ended on the 3rd of April, and all staff were withdrawn by Monday to because their security and that of the plant was threatened.

"All I can say is that we were getting increasing incursions into the mine, numbers of people. We had two of our company vehicles with people in them stoned, we had significant damage and vandalism to some of our heavy equipment and company property stolen. We formed a view that this was escalating and that we needed to take people out."

Tim Lehany.

There are now dozens of Solomon Islands and Australian Federal Police stationed around the mine, but he says the company has every intention of coming back.