Questions raised by Solomons mine sale

The sun setting at Gold Ridge mine, Solomon Islands.

The sun setting at Gold Ridge mine, Solomon Islands. Photo: Koroi Hawkins

Radio New Zealand

Some landowners of the Gold Ridge goldmine in Solomon Islands say the recent sale of the mine was done without proper consultation.

They say there is confusion over what exactly it is they have purchased.

The chairman of the Gold Ridge Community and Land Owners Council, Dick Douglas says members of the financial arm of his association, Gold Ridge Community Investments Ltd rushed into signing the deeds of sale for the mine

He says the former owners, Australian miner St Barbara had said their offer to sell would expire on the first of May.

” They by-passed the council and in a properly manner it has to be brought to the council and then we should thoroughly look at it. It is a rush so, more of the share-holders and directors didn’t really know the content of these deeds.”

Mr Douglas says he refused to sign off on the purchase and says he will be seeking clarification from St Barbara and the Solomons government on what exactly Gold Ridge Landowners have acquired.

10 Comments

Filed under Human rights, Solomon Islands

10 responses to “Questions raised by Solomons mine sale

  1. robert barrie

    Douglas represent a typical 4th world approach where they first make it difficult for investors to make money and when they depart they try again. He knows that this has been. going on for a time and was involved. The people are in poverty through the poor leadership shown by him. He is sonebode that they should get rid of

  2. Betty Gigisi

    May I make a strong recommendation to the Solomon Islands government to amend the mine and mineral act to recognised the land owners participation in any developments in their land and have ownership or share of 50% of any development.

  3. Betty Gigisi

    There are vehicles have been paid by relatives on royalties packages, the labels placed on the vehicles, survivers of victims, victims on my own land. This is a message that the government of Solomon Islands need to consider immediately. Informations diseminations is not enough and the land owners did’nt understand the Act and its process. May I call on the Minister responsible to consider the legislation and proceedings.

  4. Betty Gigisi

    Goldridge Landowners council need to stand up taller in its negotiations and needs more improvements on its roles and functions. Why is it that your desk have been established, what are your boundaries. I think you need to make a hard and strong push.

  5. robert barrie

    Landowner leaders are clearly not focussing or understand their task. I don’t think they have any strategic or long term planning and look at short term gains, mainly through own greed rather than consult and develop the landowners base. This is a typical 4th world approach – get a position and look after yourself. The future will show that st Barbara’s departure will deprived many individuals of jobs and the poverty will remain. We have seen this in Africa and the landowners leadership follows the same route to disaster. Foreign Investors will not be lead by the nose to pour money into a black hole without a suitable return. Without investors the land owners will not progress the mine – they have not the capacity nor the ability. They like to talk and don’t do anything to improve the communities which they represent

    • Fred Hela

      Totally agree Robert. A lot is to do with lack of know how in dealing with complex legal issues, mostly foreign to our own lawyers . Our local lawyers are not up to world standards. Mining companies are well aware of our short comings. That’s what they use to make money in the first place and then know how to run when problems come up. Typical situation in PNG, Fiji and West Papua. Answer, engage quality legal minds with help from the government for funding. .

  6. Bud Wise

    St Barbara should not have been allowed to wash their hands and get out of the Solomon Islands so easily. St Barbara should have been made to have a long term exit plan and real skills transfer to landowners if they wanted to offload the mine to locals. Shame on Katie Jeyn Romeyn for not developing human resource development programs for local employees.

  7. robert barrie

    It is not a matter of st Barbara to wash their hands and get out. The Solomon Island authorities and locals did not allow st Barbara to execute their operations in a fair and just manner. They were victimized with demands on mining issues where the authorities clearly demonstrated the lack of knowledge and business conduct whilst the locals looked for hand outs. The logical way for st Barbara, on behalf of share owners to get out and let the ‘clever’ Solomon Island authorities run the business and then they washed their hands! They know now that there will be no progress and try to blame St Barbara. Too late and goof foreign investors will and should be cautious and careful before they engage in any mining activity in the Solomons Islands where there is a clear lack of ethical business conduct and execution by the government

    • Fred Hela

      Again good educational advise to Solomon Is authorities. This is typical as we see in PNG. Most are title holders but real beneficial work, they lack knowledge. .

  8. Stand Up

    We all lament the fact that the Government does not have the skills or resources to police international mining companies consistent with the developed world’s expectations but it doesn’t mean that company like St Barbara should exploit the vacuum for their own purpose and gain. It may not be shareholder gain but it was certainly executive gain. The Company’s annual reports show that at the same time skills programs for locals and employees were stopped executive pay increased to extra ordinary levels. Gold Ridge’s development and community programs were designed to create a viable local workforce which would have benefited everyone including shareholders. Landowners and and community stakeholders have every right to ask whether those cuts funded St Kilda St executives’ pay rises. Gold Ridge operated in a fair and just manner by St Barbara, I doubt it.

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