Cyclone Ita wreaks havoc at St Barbara’s Golden Ridge in the Solomon Islands

Flooding has caused the St Barbara to suspend open pit mining and processing at the Gold Ridge Operations in the Solomon Islands.

A statement from company CEO Tim Lehaney said the decision was made on April 3 after a significant rainfall event, which subsequently developed into tropical cyclone Ita.

1000 millimetres, a full metre of rain was recorded over the four days preceeding April 4, including 500mm in a single 24 hour period.

The flooding caused extensive damage to roads, including road access to the mine and a single key bridge, wwhch has isolated the mine from fuel supplies, food and medical supplies.

The open pits have also suffered significant damage from flooding, with security risks escalating over the weekend and endangering the 200 personnel onsite.

“The safety of the Gold Ridge workforce, the majority of whom are Solomon Islanders, is our highest priority and accordingly the decision to evacuate all personnel from the site was taken,” Lehaney said.

“The company is in continuing discussions with the Solomon Islands government regarding the future of the mine.”

St Barbara will provide an update in the March 2014 quarterly report, due to be released later this month.

In the second half of 2013, Gold Ridge produced 29,431 ounces of gold, representing 15 per cent of St Babara’s total production for the period.

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