Landowners of the Tina River Hydro Development Project have agreed to extend access to the proposed dam site for another 18 months from February 2013 when the current access agreement expires.
The extension is necessary as important technical studies remain to be finalised.
The technical studies are required to determine the final location and construction methods for the hydro project dam and associated infrastructures.
Some of these outstanding works include geotechnical studies of local materials at two new proposed sites some distance upstream from the location of option 6 previously determined at the end of first feasibility studies.
The two new sites have been recommended following careful analysis of the results of drilling near Senge Village in October and November last year.
These careful analysis revealed the rock there cannot support a roller compacted concrete dam, the type originally recommended by engineers.
Land acquisition as well as Environment and Social Impact Assessment Studies will also be undertaken and finalised during the extended access agreement period.
The extension was also requested by the World Bank which is supporting the Solomon Islands Government with the project.
The extension will see the project continue to benefit from World Bank assistance.
The agreement for extension of access was signed on November 21 by members of the Tina River Hydro Landowners Council at the Solomon Kitano Mendana Hotel.
The Permanent Secretary of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification, Rence Sore, signed the extension agreement on 29th November following a series of community consultations involving more than 500 members of the community who attended a four-day consultation at Rate School in Bahomea.