Solomons says no to tailings dam drain

The over-full tailings dam facility at the Gold Ridge Gold Mine on Guadalcanal in Solomon Islands. January 2015. At the time this was captured the water level was one metre from the brink with 3 months to go in the wet season. Photo: copyright Dr Matthew Allen - Australian National University

The over-full tailings dam facility at the Gold Ridge Gold Mine on Guadalcanal in Solomon Islands. January 2015. At the time this was captured the water level was one metre from the brink with 3 months to go in the wet season. Photo: Dr Matthew Allen – ANU

Radio New Zealand

The Solomon Islands government says it will not allow untreated water to be pumped from the Gold Ridge mine tailings dam despite a WHO report it commissioned declaring the water safe.

The Australian owner of the closed mine, St Barbara, says the dam is a flood risk and environmental threat.

An official in the Prime Ministers Office, Dr Christopher Vehe Sagapoa, says releasing the water would pose too great a threat.

“For Solomon Islands you cannot distance environment from the people or humans. We interact with the environment, we live with the environment we use the water for cooking and all that. To distance the environment in this case from humans is impractical for the downstream communities.”

Dr Christopher Vehe Sagapoa also says a Papua New Guinea company may link up with landowners and buy the mine.

He says lack of finance, expertise and experience in the industry prompted the government pull out of the tentative deal.

“There is an investor from Papua New Guinea that is coming in to try and create a joint venture with the landowners to purchase the mine from St Barbara. It hasn’t come to our knowledge how they have progressed with their arrangements and the government is not in the arrangements.”

 

1 Comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Solomon Islands

One response to “Solomons says no to tailings dam drain

  1. Pingback: Australians dump troubled Solomon Islands mine on landowners | Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

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