Politics said to be hampering Solomons gold mine

7:18 am on 9 November 2016

A minority shareholder says political interference has set back the reopening of the Solomon Islands Gold Ridge gold mine.

The director of the customary landowning company, Gold Ridge Community Investments, said it's been delayed by several months.

Walton Naezon would not give any specifics but said the political interference was to do with opinions on how the mine should be run.

Solomon Islands coat of arms on Parliament buildings in Honiara

Solomon Islands coat of arms on Parliament buildings in Honiara Photo: RNZI / Koroi Hawkins

Mr Naezon said a proposal to re-open the mine at the end of 2018 had been delivered to the government earlier this year.

"But there are some political issues that have been arising in the last one to two months.

"That has delayed that, so our new timetable that after GR engineering services finalise their report we might lodge to the government and I am hopeful that the new timetable will be for the first quarter or second quarter of 2019."

Mr Naezon said resurrecting the mine will cost almost $US85 million.

He said the majority shareholder, AXF Group which is Chinese-owned, has already raised more than two thirds of that cost.

Mr Naezon said a separate Chinese engineering firm had completed a design for a new mine site and this is being looked over by the mine's original designer, GR Engineering Services Ltd, from Australia.

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