Gold Ridge confirms job cuts

Following heavy rainfall and production and security issues, St Barbara has cut its workforce at its Solomon Islands' Gold Ridge mine.

The miner has confirmed it will reduce staff at the site from 570 workers down to 160.

The miner first announced its intention to reduce the workforce at gold mine in July after suspending operations.

St Barbara was forced to halt operations earlier this year after the site was lashed by torrential rainfall from cyclone Ita that cut access to the site and flooded pits, causing site instability.

The problem was then compounded by security concerns after the pits saw a number of illegal miners move in and camp in the site.

Last week St Barbara announced it was withdrawing all workers from the site as well, due to these escalating safety and security concerns.

"The decision to withdraw all staff from the Gold Ridge site followed a number of recent serious security incidents which have been growing in frequency and severity," St Barbara said in a company statement.

"These incidents have been reported to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF).

"Subsequent to the withdrawal of GRML personnel from the site a number of people from local communities and illegal miners have entered the mine site and the RSIPF is now in attendance," the miner said.

Despite this issues "GRML has continued to pay the entire Gold Ridge workforce since the suspension of operations", however is it has "no foreseeable prospect of mining operations recommencing this calendar year it was necessary to reduce its workforce to levels more appropriate for the currently limited scale of activities and dewatering".

"The planned redundancies have been communicated to employees, [with plans to] reduce the local workforce from approximately 570 to approximately 160 people. The expatriate workforce has also been significantly reduced.

"All redundant employees will be paid their full entitlements."

The future of Gold Ridge is up in the air, with St Barbara stating "options for the future of the mine continue to be actively considered and discussed with the Solomon Islands Government."

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