The New Ireland Provincial Government is pleased that St Barbara’s Simberi Gold Mine is focused on improving the lives of the people of the Tabar Group of Islands through its emphasis on the agricultural sector and its drive to create market access for the locals.
This is after the General Manager Jason Robertson, gave a presentation on the current mine operations to the Provincial Executive Council and New Ireland Administration on Tuesday 3rd November at the New Ireland Legislative Assembly.
Mr. Robertson said while the aim of the mine is to ensure it makes a profit for its shareholders, it equally wants to ensure the community is also benefiting.
“I want to make sure that one day when the mine ceases operations, Simberi and the Tabar group is in a better place for St. Barbara having been there.“
Mr. Robertson added that St. Barbara seeks to engage local companies in providing services and supplies to the mine, and said the company has 30 contracts with Landowner Companies who are providing services to Simberi mine. The contracts range from K5,000 to K100,000 per month with overall total investment of K 1.75 million a month.
The locals are currently being involved in Cocoa Rehabilitation and Planting, with one plantation already boasting up to 7,000 seedlings ready for distribution to local farmers for cultivation.
The mine has also engaged the services of Paradise Foods to develop a chocolate bar specifically made from Tabar cocoa.
“Our vision is that one day there will be enough critical mass of cocoa production for a boat to come in every couple of weeks. We are trying to create a sustainable future,” Mr. Robertson said.