THE DEWATERING treatment for the Gold Ridge Mining Ltd Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) at Gold Ridge in central Guadalcanal is currently underway, starting at around 6pm on Tuesday.
This came after the government, through the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology granted approval on the 19th of this month, for the dewatering process to take place.
GOLD Ridge Community Investment Limited (GCIL), a company associated with landowners, is now the new owner of the mining site.
A visit by government officials from the Ministry of Environment and Conservation together with members of the media yesterday, have witnessed the dewatering exercises kicking off smoothly.
Speaking during the site tour, the Chairman of Gold Ridge Mining Limited (GRML) Walton Naezon said, its a relief, as one of the risky parts of the site has been taken care of.
“One of the risky parts of taking over Gold Ridge has now taken care of and it is a big relief to the company, the people living along the nearby rivers, the government of Solomon Islands and the country as a whole.
“This process will take about three months to be completed and 1 meter of the treated water from this facility will be discharged into the nearby river.
“This has been one of the top priorities of the company,” Mr Naezon said.
He added, on behalf of the company and its investor partners, he wished to thank the government through the responsible ministry to see it fit to issue the dewatering license so that the process can be carried out.
“After the dewatering of the 1 meter of water from this dam, we will make sure that the remaining waters are treated and dewatered.
“This is one of the company’s priorities to make sure that the 6 meters of water content in this dam is being dewatered this year,” Mr Naezon added.
According to operators of the tailings dam treatment plant, about 550 cubic meters of water will be expected to be treated per hour and the treatment duration will take up to 59 days.
Joe Horokou, the Director of the Environment & Conservation Division within the Ministry, was responsible for issuing the license said, the process to grant the dewatering license is not easy.
“Before we issue the license to the company, there are a lot of community talks taken place. And at the same time, the company also consider samples from the TSF to make sure that the discharged water is safe,” the Director said.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Dr Melchior Mataki said, during the cause of the dewatering, the ministry will work alongside the company to make sure that the company is complying with the conditions of the license.
By RONALD TOITO’ONA