The new Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology Honorable Dickson Mua Panakatasi has on Friday 10th October embarked on a familiarization visit to Gold Ridge Mining Limited and Win Win Investment Company both located in Central Guadalcanal.
The visit to the two sites was to introduce the Minister to the kind of work the Ministry is engaged with stakeholders and partners in mining through the Environment and Conservation Division (ECD).
While Introducing the team from the Ministry, Permanent Secretary Dr Melchior Mataki thanked members of the GRML Board of Directors both local and international for accepting the Ministry’s request to have the recently appointed Minister to take this important tour to help familiarize himself with the work of the Ministry with some stakeholders in the mining sector and also to hear the progress GRML under its new owners has made since taking over the mine.
Minister Mua thanked the GRML Board for allowing the visit to take place. He said as the new Minister it is good to have a clearer understanding of their operation and familiarize himself with stakeholders that the Ministry works with especially under the Environment Act.
“From this visit I’m sure I will have a fair idea of the progress you have made and how the mining is going to be done here which will enable me to update cabinet and caucus should questions arise” Minister Mua said
The Ministers remarks was followed by a very comprehensive presentation by senior executives of the company who joined in virtually via zoom from abroad. Their presentation focused mainly on how GRML will be carrying out its mining operation. This was followed by a tour of the GRML plant.
Further down the GRML mining site, the Minister and his team also visited Win Win Investment limited a small alluvial mining establishment that started in 2016.
Speaking to the team, local company director Charles Fox Meke said what they have is just another form of mining similar to hand panning with the use of a few machineries to extract gold from the riverbed.
“The main difference from what you visited this morning at GRML is we only use water to separate the gold from the sand that we extract from the river” he said. The visit concluded with the team being shown how gold is separated from sand and soil using very simple shaking- table technology.
GRML and Win Win investment are both located in Central Guadalcanal and have a good working relationship with each other. The two companies are sharing resources to upgrade the road that leads to the two mine sites.
The ministry through ECD will continue to monitor both mining operations and others throughout the country for compliance to the Environment Act.