THE Gold Ridge Community and Landowners Council [GRCLC] has called for an urgent review of a subsidiary agreement it signed with Gold Ridge Mining Ltd in 1996.
Among other things, the agreement provides for $10 million in infrastructure community projects such as roads and water supplies over five years from 1996. That’s $2 million a year,” its Chairman, Dick Douglas, told Solomon Star, Friday.
The agreement also provides for $120, 000 in funding small business training for community members, he said.
“But in the 24 years since the agreement was signed, nothing had moved in terms of development initiatives intended to address landowners’ needs. These initiatives were specified in the agreement to meet community needs and expectations,” he said.
Mr. Douglas said given that nothing had been done in the last five years, the time is now right for the agreement to be reviewed.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an ideal environment for the parties to come together for the review of the agreement while we are waiting for the new operation to begin.
“I suggest a roundtable for the government, the new company that has taken over the company and us, the Gold Ridge Community and Landowners Council,” Mr. Douglas said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity to get things in order before the mines start operating in 2021.”
Mr. Douglas said that he had raised the matter with both the government and the new Chinese company but none had responded.
He said one of the things he wants to see is that the Gold Ridge Community Landowners Council (GRCLC), Kolobisi Tailings Dam Association, and Metapona Downstream Association be recognised in a new agreement.
Mr. Douglas said he also wants to see closer cooperation with the Gold Ridge Community Investment Ltd (GRCIL) and the Associations he represented.
“Right now GRCIL seems to ignore us not realizing that we are the ones who signed the subsidiary agreement with the Solomon Islands Government. We should all start discussing the outstanding issues now, rather than later,” he said.
By Alfred Sasako