The Australian owner of Solomon Islands Gold Ridge goldmine, St Barbara, says it is surprised the Solomons government has decided not to buy the closed mine.
St Barbara chief executive, Bob Vassie, says under new arrangements a sale of the mine to a local company with affiliations to landowning groups is being looked at but he says it is too early to name the company or the conditions being negotiated.
"There is a lot of gold resource in that area and it is still a highly prospective area. There is infrastructure there that would allow someone a very good headstart to get into it. And we are offering very attractive terms to allow the industry to continue in Solomon Islands."
Mr Vassie says the new government's policy regarding the gold mine is a total reversal of progress made in negotiations with the previous administration.