11 Aug 2014

Solomons gold mine closed indefinitely

8:00 pm on 11 August 2014

Solomon Islands troubled Gold Ridge gold mine is to stay closed at least until next year, and could be sold.

The mine has been shut for more than four months after it was flooded during the storms in early April and the owner, Australian company, St Barbara, flew all its expatriate staff out of the country.

Those workers were excluded by Solomons' authorities from returning until about two months ago.

The sun sets over the Port of Honiara in Solomon Islands.

The sun sets over the Port of Honiara in Solomon Islands. Photo: RNZI/Koroi Hawkins

The company has now laid off all operational staff and indicated other workers could also go.

The special secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr Phillip Tagini, says work to stabilise the mine's tailings' dam will take at least until the end of the year.

"I think we still think that Gold Ridge Mine is an important contributor to the economy. Everybody all the stakeholders the government the land owners, Gold Ridge mine are fully aware of the need to have an understanding about the future of the mine, to have proposal on accepted agreement which serves the best interest of all the stake holders."

Dr Phillip Tagini.

St Barbara says it is considering its options and it could sell the mine.