SOLOMON ISLANDS ISSUES 9 MINING LICENSES

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, May 16) – The Central Bank of Solomon Islands has reported that the government has issued nine licences in 2005 to foreign companies to prospect for minerals in the country, especially on Guadalcanal and Choiseul provinces.

The Bank says another mining license was further issued and up to 45 mining land areas were earmarked around the country for potential future prospecting.

This, the bank says, has already attracted many foreign mining investors.

It says alluvial panning, especially around the Gold Ridge Mine, continued in 2005 resulting in over 61,000 grams of gold being exported and having earned SB$1.3 million [US$186,000].

Meanwhile, the bank says Australian Solomon Gold which operates the Gold Ridge mine expects to complete its feasibility study of site in the final quarter of this year, after which the reconstruction phase should start.

The Central Bank of the Solomon Islands says Australian Solomon Gold spent 182-million dollars [US$26 million] on Gold Ridge Mine activities in 2005 and is expecting to spend a further more than 109-million dollars [US $15.6 million] this year.

The bank has revealed these developments in the mining sector in its 2005 annual report, launched yesterday.

May 17, 2006

SIBC: http://www.sibconline.com.sb

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