Australian gold mining firm pushed off Guadalcanal
Australia's St Barbara Limited has evacuated all staff from its Gold Ridge mine on located on the island of Guadalcanal, part of the Solomon Islands, after reporting a ‘serious escalation’ in security concerns.
St Barbara has been hit by a series of natural and man-made disasters at Gold Ridge this year.
In April, operations at the mine which produced 46,000 ounces of gold in 2013, were halted following torrential rains that caused extensive damage and led to the evacuation of expat workers.
St Barbara's staff were subsequently ordered by authorities not to return to the site. When that dispute was settled In June St Barbara found a large number of illegal miners had set up camp at the Gold Ridge open pit.
Mining Weekly reports St Barbara said on Thursday "that once the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force was able to confirm that security had been re-established at the site, a return to site would be assessed."
The Gold Ridge mine commenced operations in 1998. After a period of being dormant, in 2010 a $150 million refurbishment and expansion project to around 100,000 ounces per year was started. St Barbara acquired the Gold Ridge mine in 2012, according to the company website.
Gold Ridge is situated approximately 40 km by road from the Solomon Island capital city Honiara. Honiara is approximately three hours flight from Brisbane, Australia.
St Barbara last year produced 365,000 ounces of gold, with the bulk coming from its Gwalia mine in Western Australia.
Image courtesy of St Barbara.