Expats working at the GRML were reported to have left the mines. Photo credit: NA Finance.

Expats working at the GRML were reported to have left the mines. Photo credit: NA Finance.

Expatriate workers of St Barbara have left the country after the company enforced the ‘force majeure’ clause in its agreement with the government.

Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo says he was alerted on the situation late last week when most of the company’s expatriate workers have left the country.

“Given the fact that they have already reached a stage where they have decided to go into a maintenance mode of operation, and when this natural disaster happened and the infrastructure got totally destroyed, it really puts a lot of pressure on the company. And so somehow they decided to enforce the ‘force majeure’ situation, clauses in the agreement to just work out.”

However, Prime Minister Lilo says the mine is a very critical asset of the Solomon Islands Government.

He says the country’s economic progress is factored on the successful operation of Gold Ridge mine.

Mr Lilo says experts from the Australian Federal Police will be manning the facility alongside the Police Rapid Police during the government strategise on a long term solution for the Gold Ridge Mine operation.

SIBC understands, the government continues it dialogue with the company on the status of the Gold Ridge Mine.

Meahwhile, the Guadalcanal provincial Government has registered its disappointment to the management and owner of the Gold Ridge Mining Limited -St. Barbara company for leaving the country without notice.

In a statement, a member of the Guadalcanal Provincial Government, Walton Naezon says why is St. Barbara the only private sector who left the country without notice over the aftermath of last week’s flash floods.

He calls on the national government through the director of mines to request for a detail summary of physical losses as a result of the flood based on the principles of good international mining industry practice.

Mr Naezon says the company’s application for force majeure has been viewed an opportunity to cover up for its failure to comply with good and international mining industry practise for sound engineering structure of the mining facilities.

He says the company must return within the next 24 hours and explain to the government and landowners reason why it left the country ahead of other investors who have suffered the consequent of the aftermath.

SIBC News understands, the government had met with stakeholders yesterday regarding the status of GRML.

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