11 Apr 2014

Australian miner upsets Solomons leader by pulling out

4:35 am on 11 April 2014

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, is said to be angry the Australian mining company, St Barbara, left its Gold Ridge mining site after the devastating floods on Guadalcanal.

The company withdrew all its staff over the weekend after a metre of rain had fallen in a four day period at Gold Ridge.

Mr Lilo then called on the Australian Federal Police to provide security for the plant and 33 officers were flown in on Wednesday.

They are supplementing security efforts being made by local police and the Solomon Islands participating police force.

Our correspondent says Mr Lilo accused St Barbara of abandoning the plant in the wake of the flooding disaster.

Even since the mine recommenced operations in July last year there has been a fractious relationship between the company and local communities.

This, coupled with the fall in the price of gold, may be behind reports from Solomon Islands that St Barbara is considering severing ties with the country.