14 Apr 2014

Mining company won't return to Solomon Islands quickly

7:17 am on 14 April 2014

Australian mining company, St Barbara, says it will be some time before it returns to its Gold Ridge mine in Solomon Islands, after last week withdrawing all staff in the wake of devastating floods.

A director of its subsidiary, Gold Ridge Mining Ltd, Tim Lehany, says there were increasing incursions at the mine after the floods, as well as vandalism and other incidents, so the company decided to withdraw staff in case it escalated.

Mr Lehany says the company will resume operations once it receives assurances from authorities that the area surrounding the mine is safe.

However, he says this could be some time away because access to the mine was wiped out in the wake of the floods.

"It will not be back in operation quickly because we have no road access. So, we're completely reliant on diesel fuel for power generation and during full operations we receive six to eight road tankers of diesel fuel a day at the mine. So until the public roads and bridges can be restored, there's no prospect of resuming operations."

Tim Lehany.

The site is now being guarded by a large squad of police including 33 Australian Federal Police.