Find Mining expertise in Solomon Islands
The mining industry in Solomon Islands has experienced a turbulent recent history, as all production ceased in 2000 due to civil strife and land ownership disputes. Gold has been an important source of GDP for the country and in 1999 production peaked at 150,000 ounces; the Gold Ridge mine in Guadalcanal was the source of much of this.
Gold Ridge mine was owned jointly by Ross Mining N.L. and Delta Gold Ltd between 1998 and 2000, at which time construction ceased. While the Gold Ridge mine was closed there was some ongoing alluvial gold mining in nearby rivers, and in the Western Province. Following a ten year interim, in 2010 Allied Gold acquired Gold Ridge and subsequently rebuilt the mine. Production was restarted in 2011, bringing with it a dramatic increase in mining investment, as international mining companies sought exploration licences in the hope of discovering further gold, nickel, cobalt and magnesium deposits. At its peak, Gold Ridge contributed approximately 20% to the Gross Domestic Product of the Solomon Islands economy.
In 2012, Australia-based gold mining company St Barbara Ltd acquired the Gold Ridge mine, the only operating mine in the Solomon Islands at this time. However, in April 2014, St Barbara shut down the Gold Ridge mine following flash floods. Other mining activities to currently take place in Solomon Islands include the extraction of bauxite, silver, lead, zinc, nickel and phosphate. Axiom Mining is one of the major players utilising mineral deposits in Solomon Islands. As part of the West Guadalcanal Project, Axiom Mining has carried out exploration of an area of 485 km² in the west of Guadalcanal Island and has discovered deposits of limestone, breccia, carbonate-base metal and quartz-sulphide.
Current employment figures for the extractive industries sector in the Solomon are unavailable.
The Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification oversees the extractive industry in Solomon Islands and distributes mining leases to prospectors – however, these leases may require companies to enter into equity-sharing agreements with the government.
The government, through the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification, recently developed a national mineral policy, as mining is expected to top the country’s exports in coming years. The new Mining and Minerals Amendment Act was implemented in 2014. At the Prime Minister’s High Level Roundtable on Development, Society and Environment held in Honiara in 2013, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification, Rence Sore highlighted this new development as key to the future of Solomon Islands, as mining is expected to become the largest contributor to Solomon Islands’ national economy.
In July 2011 the Solomon Islands government agreed to implement Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative measures, and the international EITI Board approved Solomon Islands’ application for EITI candidacy on 27 June 2012. Prior to the approval of the country’s candidacy, in early 2012, the Solomon Islands Extractive Industries National Stakeholder Group (SIEINSG) was formed as the primary body for overseeing and co-ordinating the implementation of EITI standards in the Solomon Islands. The body consists of extractive companies, government agencies and the civil society.
As an EITI candidate country, Solomon Islands must start disclosing payments from its extractives sector, and meet all the requirements laid out in the EITI standard within two and a half years of becoming a candidate in order to become EITI Compliant. Implementing EITI measures is expected to bring important benefits to public financial management in Solomon Islands, as well as improving the investment climate, and managing the potential risks of future conflicts in the extractives industry.
In June 2014 Solomon Islands released its first report under the EITI, becoming the first country in the Pacific region to do so. The report reviews payments made by extractive companies to the government and measures them against those received during 2012 and 2013. The availability of such a report is expected to benefit the country by making the information on revenues paid to the government by extractive industries public.
Although the extractives industry of the Solomon Islands is in the early stages of development, according to the EITI there is real potential for it to become the single largest component of GDP in the future.
|Mining and Minerals organisations in Solomon Islands|
|Australian Solomons Gold Limited||
|Solomon Gold plc||