11 Apr 2016

Solomons dam concern dismissed

7:08 am on 11 April 2016
The over-full tailings dam facility at the Gold Ridge Gold Mine on Guadalcanal in Solomon Islands. January 2015

Gold Ridge dam Photo: copyright Dr Matthew Allen - Australian National University

The chairperson of the community group that owns the Gold Ridge Mine in Solomon Islands has angrily denied reports the mine's tailings dam is dangerously overspilling into nearby rivers.

Australia's SBS reported last week that the dam was spilling tens of milions of litres of water polluted with toxins and heavy metals, including arsenic and mercury uncontrollably.

It quoted members of downstream communities saying they were pancking and didn't know what was happening.

But Walton Naezon, the chair of Gold Ridge Community Investments, which bought the mine last year, said the spill was part of a planned de-watering process to make the mine safe, and communities were warned well in advance.

"We have monitored the quality of water, the people downstream are enjoying the water, there is no information received by us, we have visited the site. We went down there, there is nothing. They just made up all this story. I totally reject -- outright -- all these reports."

Walton Naezon said the toxins in the rivers were well within required safe levels.