The Solomon Islands Government and Gold Ridge Mining Limited (GRML) yesterday signed an agreement quashing the cancellation of the latter’s mining license early last year.
The agreement was signed by the Minister for Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification, Hon David Dei Pacha on behalf of the Solomon Islands Government and witnessed by the Chairman of the
Cabinet Sub-Committee on Gold Ridge, Hon Bradley Tovosia and Mr Walton Naezon and Mr Benjamin Afuga on behalf of GRML/GCIL (Gold Ridge Community Investment Limited).
The signing was presided over by Mr John Muria (Jnr) from the Attorney General’s Chambers. Present at the ceremony were the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification, Mr Jeffrey Deve, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Dr Melchior Mataki, Director of Mines Department in the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification, Mr Thomas Toba, Secretary of the Cabinet Sub-Committee Secretariat, Mr Wilson Karamui and Legal Research Officer of the Cabinet Sub-Committee Secretariat, Mr Albert Kabui.
The Chairman of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Gold Ridge explained that in signing the agreement, the Government agrees to consent to the quashing of the cancellation of GRML’s mining license by the Minister of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification last year and to the restoration of GRML’s Mining Lease.
Hon Tovosia said, “GRML’s Mining Lease was cancelled early last year following the sudden departure and abandoning of the mine site by St Barbara following the April flash floods in 2014.
He said, “The actions of St Barbara were held by the Minister as a breach of the Mines and Minerals Act and the Mining Agreement and hence the Minister’s cancellation of the Mining Lease.”
Hon Tovosia said the agreement effectively sets the roadmap for the reopening of Gold Ridge mine.
“The Government is desirous that Gold Ridge mine reopen and has tasked the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Gold Ridge to come up with options on the way forward to achieve this desired outcome.
“As part of the options placed before the Government, Government has agreed to quash the cancellation of the GRML’s Mining Lease subject to the performance and satisfaction of various conditions by GRML,” the Chair of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Gold Ridge said.
Hon Tovosia added, “As the Chair of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Gold Ridge, I would like to commend all who have contributed towards the reaching of this significant agreement and I look forward for the continuation of the cordial working relationship we have established in our efforts to reach a common standing on the way forward for this important project.”
In his remarks at the occasion, Minister Pacha said, “I am indeed very pleased that we have reached this agreement.”
He said, “It is the deep desire of the Democratic Coalition for Change Government to see the re-opening of the Gold Ridge mine during its term in office and it is my earnest desire to see the achievement of this objective soon. To achieve this, we must all work together.”
In response to the remarks by the Chairman of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Gold Ridge and the Minister for Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification, the GRML/GCIL representative- Mr Naezon said, “On behalf of Gold Ridge Mining Limited and GCIL, I would like to thank the Minister and Chair of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Gold Ridge for the important steps they have taken in advancing the Democratic Coalition for Change Government’s objective to reopen the Gold Ridge mine.”
Mr Naezon said since GCIL’s takeover of Gold Ridge Mining Limited, one of the main tasks it took upon itself is ensuring that whatever investor that invests in the mine must turn the company into a profitable one unlike before.
He said ensuring the profitability of Gold Ridge Mining Limited means doing and addressing a lot of things that were never done and addressed before such as complying with relevant government regulations.
Mr Naezon said after discussions with a lot of investment companies, GCIL finally agreed to bring in the AXF Group.
He said as a local mining company, GCIL with its investor AXF look forward for a cordial working relationship with the Government, people of Gold Ridge and other stakeholders.