Gold Ridge Mining is seeing an increasing level of illegal mining at its Gold Ridge operation in the Solomon Island.
According to one senior miner at the site "the situation is getting out of control," the Solomon Star News reports.
Despite employing close to 100 security personnel on the ground, they have reportedly avoided confrontation with the illegal miners as they are mostly villagers living near to the mine.
"They would come in hundreds and the security guards could not just do anything," the miner stated at Forum Solomon Islands International "It’s a difficult situation. "We have dogs and security personnel on the ground, but we discourage direct confrontation with the locals. "The situation has gone out of hand.”
He went on to say the illegal miners stand behind operating equipment so workers can’t see them and "it is scary to say the least because sooner someone will seriously get hurt or even killed. This is what we are trying to avoid".
"We can’t afford to meet unnecessary costs of a fatal accident."
In a previous interview with the Solomon Star, Gold Ridge Mining’s general manager Stean Barrie stated that "we feel that it is only a matter of time before an illegal miner is seriously injured or possibly even killed"."There are families with women and children in active mining areas whom we do not wish to put in danger," he added.
The mine is located on Guadalcanal, near to the Solomon Island’s capital Honiara, and is owned by St Barbara.