Gold Ridge makes aid donation, Australian Police to guard mine

In response to the flooding crisis in the Solomon Islands, Gold Ridge Mining has donated $100,000 to the Australian Red Cross to assist with emergency aid.

So far 23 people have been reported dead in the wake of Cyclone Ita, with torrential rain and flash flooding around the capital Guadalcanal last week, leaving ten’s of thousands of people homeless.

All remaining personnel were evacuated from the mine on Monday April 7.

The Australian government sent Australian Federal Police officers to assist on Wednesday afternoon.

The AFP officers have been posted at the Gold Ridge mine to provide security support while operations are suspended.

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

The flooding caused extensive damage to roads, including road access to the mine, including the Tinahulu Bridge, which 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.

“We thank all our employees at Gold Ridge for doing an exceptional job over the past week in very difficult circumstances.

“We have also thanked the Solomon Islands Prime Minister for his support in assigning police to Gold Ridge in recent days to secure the mine site and has also thanked the Australian and New Zealand governments for their support.

“We have a team ready to be deployed to Gold Ridge to undertake a site assessment and commence site stabilisation work and will do so as soon as continued security can be reasonably assured. The site assessment is expected to take some time.”

Gold Ridge Limited has confirmed that employees will be paid as scheduled during April and community related commitments will be met.

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

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