Solomon Islands says the onus is on Australian mine operator, St Barbara, to sort out any threat should the Gold Ridge tailings dam bursts.
Gold Ridge has been inactive since flooding on Guadalcanal in April.
The company has been reported to be warning of the threat posed by the tailings storage facility if a spillway is not created before the wet season due from next month.
There have been negotiations on a possible sale of the mine but the special secretary to the prime minister, Philip Tagini, says two factors are delaying St Barbara sending staff in for the spillway work.
He says the company wants a commitment from the Solomons government to share some of the mine's liabilities if a sale goes ahead.
"We are willing to have the conversation about the future of the mine but we want to get the environmental issues sorted before that conversation actually is formulated to something that can be agreed upon."