16 May 2014

Solomons monitoring mine tailings dam

2:57 pm on 16 May 2014

The working group set up by the Solomon Islands government to assess the closed down Gold Ridge gold mine says it is keeping a close eye on the tailings dam.

The mine, owned by Melbourne-based St Barbara, was shut down after the flooding on Guadalcanal last month and the government has since been overseeing the site.

A United Nations team it brought in says the tailings dam is in danger of collapsing and needs to be drained.

It says it poses a serious threat to downstream communities and the environment.

The head of the government's working group, Phillip Tagini, says they are talking each day with St Barbara staff in Melbourne.

He says they have not done anything about the dam yet but fortunately the dry weather has held.

"I think that is what we are talking to St Barbara about, the drainage, the de-watering. The UN report stated that it is quite stable but the rainfall would be a huge factor which would render the volume of water dangerous, so at the moment the weather is still on our side."

Phillip Tagini of the Solomon Islands government