THIS statement is made in response to the Gold Ridge Mining Ltd public statements made by the company’s CEO as reported in your papers in March 2022 editions regarding approvals surrounding GRML’s Direct Discharge of Cyanide containing mine waste into the surrounding environment.
- The chairman of Kolobisi Tailing Dams Association (KTDA) and Matapono Downstream Association (MDA) – the 2 bodies representing communities in the area wish to clarify that at NO time was approval granted by both Associations allowing Gold Ridge Mining Ltd to discharge mining waste from the Tailing Storage Facility (TSF) directly into the river systems without prior treatment.
On the contrary, KTDA and MDA have rejected during all consultations concerning Gold Ridge Mining LTD’s plans to discharge mining waste into the environment without prior treatment. These are in accordance with the approved mining plans for management of the tailings storage facility under the existing Mining Lease Agreement.
- KTDA and MDA condemn in the strongest possible term, the national government’s approval of the mining company’s (GRML) proposal for direct discharge through the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification with full knowledge
- That cyanide is 1000 times more lethal than COVID-19
- National capabilities in terms of monitoring the short-term and long term effects of cyanide contamination of the environment and potential impact on lives and livelihoods on communities downstream of Gold Ridge and North Guadalcanal coastal communities are limited or even non-existent but chose to grant an untreated controlled discharged permit to GRML which gave the company the “legal basis” to undertake the discharge,
To recent incidents of discharges of poisonous mining waste has clearly shown that national capabilities in monitoring mining operations are inadequate or non-existent.
- Construction of a channel in the TSF which resulted in the discharge of chemical waste into the river system in April 2021,
- Discharge of cyanide from the Heap Leach facilities at the mining site which killed fish and prawns into the Chovohio River.
The Ministry of Environment and Mines had not responded to these incidents. How are these responsible authorities expected to minor GRMLs direct discharge under the permit granted by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change?
Government response or lack of it in the above incidents shows the National Government callous attitude towards the safety of people living downstream of Gold Ridge Mining operations which the DCGA is promoting as a priority project in its “Redirection Policy”.
- Further, KTDA and MDA wish to disassociate itself from any suggestion that both Associations have given approval of Gold Ridge Mining Ltd to discharge cyanide and other poisonous chemical waste into the river systems without prior treatment,
- KTDA and MDA wish also to inform the public that the management of Gold Ridge Ltd in collaboration with individual in the responsible government ministries has continued to provide untrue and misleading information to misinform the public about both Associations position regarding.
- The discharge of stored mining waste from the TSF into the river systems
- Operational matters including employment conditions and bias in the recruitment process
- The formalization of ten (10) percent share of future dividends to land holding communities and Associations.
- KTDA and MDA calls on both domestic and international environmental and Human right organizations such as UNDP and WWF for technical assistance and advise to counter the misinformation campaign currently being conducted by GRML and its supporters in government regarding the financial and environment safety of the Gold Ridge Mining operations and other mining operations in Solomon islands.
Hon. Samson Maneka – (chairman) Metapono Downstream Association
Primo Amusaea – (chairman) Kolobisi Tailings Dam Association.