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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (September 30, 1998 - Radio Australia)---The Minister of Mines, Energy and Minerals, Walton Naezon, says the Solomon Islands government is committed to major development of the nation's mining industry.

He made the comment yesterday at the opening of the country's first gold mine, Goldridge.

The project, located in central Guadalcanal, was developed by Ross Mining of Australia.

Mr. Naezon said the government would extend its support and offer a helping hand to other companies interested in investing in the Solomon Islands' mining industry, adding that the Goldridge venture is a useful model for future projects.

He commended Goldridge landowners for allowing their land to be mined and for sacrificing their traditional way of life. Mr. Naezon said the government was not oblivious to the sacrifices they have made for the sake of the Solomon Islands' nation and its people.

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