Board of Directors of GCIL and St Barbara at the signing. Photo credit: SIBC.

Board of Directors of GCIL and St Barbara at the signing. Photo credit: SIBC.

Gold Ridge Mines will soon be locally owned following a historic agreement signed in Honiara this week between Australian miner St Barbara and the Gold Ridge Community Investment Limited.

Gold Ridge Community Investment Limited is a locally owned company comprising of the landowners of the Gold Ridge area on Central Guadalcanal.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Honiara yesterday, Secretary to the St Barbara Board of Directors Ronan Cole says the mine will be locally owned for the first time in its history.

“So for the first time the Gold Ridge mine will be owned by a Solomon Islands company, owned by Solomon Islands people. It was a pleasure to meet with everybody, the directors I’ve met with here today and also the larger shareholder group yesterday. I felt welcomed in the group even though obviously we had some issues to work through. I absolutely wish everybody associated with GCIL and the future of the Gold Ridge mine every best wish for the future and every success for the future.”

Meanwhile, Board Chairperson of the Gold Ridge Community Investment Limited Walton Naezon has thanked St Barbara and acknowledged the challenges that lie ahead for GCIL.

“For us, we appreciate the work we’ve gone through. We’re happy to before the first time in Solomon Islands for a local company to own a mine, but as I always said to you this is the beginning of a long journey we’re going to fight. We’re going to work with the government to be able to develop Gold Ridge Mining Limited. For us the landowners and the local company, it’s a challenge for us and so we need to stay together and work together. We appreciate the fact that St Barbara will be staying with us for then next six months to be able to work together to re-develop the mine.”

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