The new owners of the Gold Ridge gold mine in Solomon Islands plan to begin reconstruction of the closed mine within the fortnight.
Radio New Zealand | 27 February 2017
Rehabilitating the mine, which was abandoned by its last owner St Barbara in April 2014 after massive flooding, is a major task which includes the reconstruction of washed out roads and bridges to restore access to the mine.
However, work has been delayed by a falling out between the ministry of mines and the minority shareholding landowners company, Guadalcanal Community Investments Ltd.
Its chairperson, Walter Naezon, said this resulted in the mines minister cancelling their mining lease last year.
“We actually looked at this and [we] understand that the land was held by the land owner, the PE [Perpetual Estate Title] of the land, so how can he cancel the mining lease. You can do that with a foreign company but since the landowners took over 100 percent of the mine I don’t think you can cancel it. So those are the misunderstandings. We have settled that.”
Mr Naezon said it had taken several months but the dispute has now been resolved and the majority shareholder, Chinese-owned Australian company AXF Group is expected to begin rehabilitating the mine within the fortnight.