Report on the investigation into the payment of the royalties to Gold Ridge landowners is expected to be presented to the Solomon Islands Prime Minister by the end of the week.

The joint taskforce which was set up by the Prime Minister in a statement said investigations have made very good progress.

The Joint Task Force said, after the Report is presented to the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister will then give directives to relevant institutions, which will then present the report to the Gold Ridge Community Landowners Council, the Kolobisi Tailings Dam Association and the Metapona Downstream Association; the legally recognized associations in charge of landowner affairs.

The Special Taskforce was set up following the revelation that royalties had been paid out to landowner representatives contrary to the Mines and Minerals (Regulations) 2011.

“The investigation has taken more time than anticipated because of the nature of the work. It involves the Ministry of Mines, the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank and the Attorney General’s Office and the Office of the Prime Minister. It also involves significant documentation which needed to be verified and interpreted accurately,” the statement said.

The statement adds although the progress was slow, the taskforce, considered it important to be as thorough as possible because the allegations were very serious and could have very serious repercussions on those implicated.

Meanwhile, the statement said the decision by the Prime Minister to suspend the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification has gone through the process which became effective this week.

“The Government remains committed to the Gold Ridge Mining Project and will create the platform to address the relevant issues in a manner that is fair, transparent and sustainable,” the statement said.

In this regard, the National Government applauds the patience of the landowners as the royalties issues are addressed in a manner that is effective and fair to all,” the statement said.


Source: Press Release, Government Communications Unit