Gold Ridge Mine

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Gold Ridge is a mine on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, about 30 km south east of the capital Honiara. The Gold Ridge mine was operated by Ross Mining N.L. and Delta Gold Ltd between 1998 and 2000 but had to be abandoned because of civil unrest. In 2003 it was acquired from the political risk insurers by Australian Solomons Gold. Allied Gold acquired the company in 2010 [1] and subsequently rebuilt the mine. Production was restarted at the end of 2010.

At the end of August 2012, the assets of Allied Gold were acquired by St Barbara Limited, including Gold Ridge Mining Limited. St Barbara is an Australian-based gold mining company, with gold mines in the Yilgarn and Leonora Shires in Western Australia and the Simberi mine in the New Ireland Province of Papua New Guinea. The Gold Ridge mine was the only operating mine in the Solomon Islands at this time, and contributed approximately 20% of the Gross Domestic Product of the Solomon Islands economy.

In April 2014, St Barbara shut down the Gold Ridge mine following flash floods. St Barbara employees were subsequently banned by the Solomon Islands government from re-entering the country.

Gold Ridge was sold by St Barbara for A$100 to a landowner-controlled company GoldRidge Community Investment Limited (GCIL) in May 2015, including all legal and rehabilitation liability.[2]

The Solomon Islands government's Disaster Management Council declared Gold Ridge a "disaster " area on July 7, 2015.[3]


During 1568 a Spanish explorer named Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira found gold in the Gold Mine area near the mouth of the Matepona River.[4][5] However, it was not until 1936 that the discovery was attributed back to the Gold Ridge area.[5] This resulted in a number of attempts to work the area during the 1930s, before a prospecting licence was granted to the Balasuna Syndicate.[4][5] The syndicate subsequently started hydraulic mining in the area during 1939, until World War 2 halted all work during 1942.[4][5]

During 1950 the Solomon Islands Geological Survey was established, which led to the start of systematic surveys in the area.[5] These surveys continued over the next 30 years, before modern exploration of the area subsequently started during 1983, after Amoco had successfully tendered for the rights to mine it.[4][5] Cyprus Minerals brought the project during 1985 and farmed part of it in a joint venture with Arimco Mining.[4] A feasibility study was subsequently completed during 1990 and updated during 1992, before the joint venture withdrew and allowed the leases to lapse.[4]

During 1994, the Solomon Islands Government put the project out to tender, with Saracen Minerals being the successful bidder.[4] They subsequently sold their interests to Ross Mining during 1995, who undertook over $100 billion of drilling and updated feasibility studies, before in 1998 open pit mining commenced.[4] After two years of operation Ross Mining was acquired by Delta Gold during May 2000, who abandoned Gold Ridge a month later because of civil unrest on Guadalcanal.[4] As a result of the abandonment a political risk insurer subsequently paid Delta Gold and took ownership of the project.[4] During September 2004 the insurance company put the project out to tender with the support of the Solomon Islands Government and Gold Ridge Community.[4] In May 2005 Australian Solomons Gold acquired the project, before they were taken over by Allied Gold during 2009.[1][4] Allied Gold subsequently announced a A$150 million refurbishment and redevelopment program during March 2010. St Barbara subsequently acquired Allied Gold in September 2012.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Profile July 2010" (PDF). Allied Gold. July 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 6, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  2. ^ SBS World News (July 7, 2015) Bid to find 'saviour' for Solomons gold mine amid toxic slug fears
  3. ^ SBS World News (July 9, 2015) Solomon Islands mine declared 'disaster zone' over dam collapse fears
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "St Barbara Limited: Operations Overview: Gold Ridge". St Barbara. September 19, 2012. Archived from the original on September 19, 2012. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Tolia, Donn H; Petterson, M.G (January 1, 2005). "The Gold Ridge Mine, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands' first gold mine: a case study in stakeholder consultation". Geological Society, London, Special Publications. 250 (1): 149–159. doi:10.1144/GSL.SP.2005.250.01.15. 

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Coordinates: 9°36′S 160°08′E / 9.600°S 160.133°E / -9.600; 160.133