Solomon Islands government monitors dewatering at Gold Ridge mine

HONIARA: The Solomon Islands Government through its Ministry of Environment is closely monitoring the dewatering process at the Gold Ridge Mine Tailings Dam which began Tuesday this week.

This is to ensure compliance to the strict dewatering licence issued to the new mine owner, the Gold Ridge Community Investment Limited (GCIL).

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Dr Melchior Mataki said his officials will work with the company during the dewatering process to make sure the company complies with the conditions of the license. 

The Government has granted approval on March 19 for the dewatering process to take place following wider community consultations and consideration of samples from the TSF to make sure the discharged water is safe. 

The dewatering process will take about three months to be completed with the first 1 meter of treated water to be discharged into the nearby river this week. The company is expecting to discharge 6 metres of treated water from the dam this year.

During the process, about 550 cubic metres of water will be expected to be treated per hour with treatment duration of up to 59 days.

The dewatering process has relieved uncertainties among downstream communities, the company and the government of the risk of overflowing during the rainy season with the potential to trigger an environmental disaster.