Civil Society Group Wants Action On Solomons Gold Ridge Tailings Dam

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Community fears environmental disaster from abandoned mining site

By Eddie Osifelo

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 28, 2014) – The Guadalcanal Civil Society Network (GCSN) has given seven days ultimatum to its Provincial Government and eight Parliamentarians to find a solution on the controversial tailing dam at Goldridge mining site.

This came after fears raised by St Barbara that the dam could pose a threat to communities leaving downstream during the upcoming wet season.

Team leader of the network group, Stanley Vutiade said there needs to be an intervention now before the situation turns into another national disaster in future.

Mr Vutiade said history revealed that the recent flash flood has caused much damage to peoples’ properties.

He said if the dam overflows due to continuous rainfall or earthquake and man-made making, the situation will turn into a huge disaster.

"We asked the Gudalcanal provincial government and our eight Parliamentarians to deal with the issue now.

"If they reluctant to deal with it after seven days’ notice, we will by-pass the authority and take the lead in addressing the issue," he said.

St Barbara is negotiating with the Government to hand back the Mine due to series of weather issues, cyclones, and flooding, compounded by ongoing security concerns.

However, both parties could not find a common ground on the tailing dam de-watering exercise.

Under the de-watering license, St Barbara was responsible to pump out water from the tailing dam, however, it stopped doing that after its equipment were destroyed and concerns about the security situation.

As such, the situation the Network has seen the need for its provincial and national leaders to take the lead in addressing it now.

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