Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has met the Gold Ridge Community Landowner’s Council as the government explore the possibility of selling off the mine site to a potential investor.
The meeting allows landowner’s and the government to update each other on the latest developments regarding the situation of the mining site since it was closed in April 2014.
The Prime Minister impressed upon the Council representatives, the government will not be acquiring the mine, but will facilitate the transfer of ownership from the operator, St Barbra to another potential mining operator if there is to be a change of hands of ownership of the mine.
Mr. Sogavare says, the government awaits crucial reports from experts before the Cabinet will decide on the way forward for the approach taken by the government on its commitment to the party to the Gold Ridge mining agreement.
Based on the recommendations a consultancy group, the government will undertake the necessary and extensive financial, operational, environmental and legal due diligence in order to obtain the full picture of the potential costs and risks involved.
Meanwhile, Chairman of GRCLC Dick Douglas said the prolonged closure of the mine is of grave concern to landowners who have been denied benefits for last year.
Mr Douglas says, women and children have suffered as a direct result of the closure.
He says most affected areas include water supply, small community projects, scholarships, royalties and other spin-off benefits.
Mr Douglas pledge to support the DCC government advance Gold Ridge mine and ensure the landowners adhere to the spirit of the mining agreement.