26 Apr 2014

Gold Ridge asks why workers stopped from entering Solomons

7:31 am on 26 April 2014

The Australian company Gold Ridge Mining Ltd says it doesn't understand why the Solomon Islands government has stopped 44 expatriate workers from entering the country, and has asked Honiara to clarify.

The company's parent, St Barbara, pulled all local and expatriate workers from the mine site shortly after flooding which devastated much of Guadalcanal 3 weeks ago, citing security concerns and difficulty in accessing the mine.

The Solomons Director of Immigration says the workers were stopped to allow investigations of safety and security at the mine site with regard to chemicals and explosive hazards.

Gold Ridge's director, Tim Lehany, says the expats were going to conduct important assessment and stabilisation work.

He says the company is committed to reopening the mine - a large contributor to the Solomons' economy - and this decision only delays that.