14 Jul 2015

Solomons gold miner prepares to drain tailings dam

4:11 pm on 14 July 2015

The local owners of Solomon Islands Gold Ridge Mine say they are ready to begin pumping out its dangerously overfull tailings dam as soon as government conditions are met.

A government licence to dump waste from the dam on Guadalcanal is in its final stages of approval in order to deal with the high water level.

The chairperson of Gold Ridge Community Investments Ltd, Walton Naezon, says one of the conditions of the licence is ensuring the safety of downstream communities.

Mr Naezon says they are working closely with local people who he says are concerned about the discharge of untreated water into the Metapona river.

He says they are even more worried that the dam will burst its banks releasing toxic sediments into the river.

"We will monitor and we will take samples each day and it will be controlled by all parties - the downstream [communities], the company and the government and the NGOs. So I think I am confident that we are going to discharge clean water not anything related to any chemical."

The chairperson of Gold Ridge Community Investments Ltd Walton Naezon.