CLEANUP BEGINS AT DEFUNCT SOLOMONS MINE

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Aussie owner plans to reopen Gold Ridge Mine

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, October 21, 2009) – The first step towards the redevelopment of Gold Ridge Mine is underway, with Gold Ridge Mining Limited (GRML) beginning its programme to dewater the site’s tailings storage facility.

This facility has been slowly filling with rainwater run-off since the mine closed in June, 2000, and must be released before operations resume, enabling the facility to once again store the tailings produced during ore processing.

[PIR editor’s note: The Gold Ridge Mine, closed since political instability and lawlessness reached a peak in 2000, is located on the island of Guadalcanal. ]

GRML has committed to achieving stringent water quality guidelines and process control standards and the program has been fully approved by the Solomon Islands Government and its independent consultants Knight Piesold.

Australian Solomons Gold Limited CEO David Roach said the Solomon Islands Mines Department recently toured the site to ensure that all conditions and associated guidelines were met.

The dewatering process involves treatment of the stored water to drinking water standards of purity and then pumping the treated water through a pipeline into the Tinahulu River.

"The pipeline has been completed, while construction of the water treatment plant is well advanced and an independent Environmental Auditor has been appointed," Mr. Roach said.

He said the first round of awareness programs with landowners and downstream communities has already occurred, with another program planned for the next few weeks.

"Solomon Islands Government representatives have been invited to observe and monitor the dewatering program," he said.

The process will begin with the commissioning of the water treatment plant, scheduled for October 25.

"Pumping will occur a few days later once all of the quality guidelines for the discharged water are satisfied," Roach said.

"Due to the volumes of water currently stored in the facility, the pumping program will likely continue for six to seven months."

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