FIJI GOES HOLLYWOOD

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (January 5, 2000 – Fiji’s Daily Post)---As Fiji's Daily Post reported a few months ago, Fox Studios -- one of the world's renown film makers -- is considering a proposal to build a multimillion dollar "studio city" in Fiji.

Agriculture Minister Poseci Bune made the official announcement Monday.

Bune said the film company favors government land at Yaqara because of its close proximity to the airport and its low annual rainfall.

Yaqara is currently a cattle station, but Bune said part of it could be made available to Fox Studios for the project.

Fox Studios recently opened new filming facilities in Australia.

"The company has been talking to the government since it came into power in June last year and we're very interested and looking at the project very positively," Bune said.

He said the company plans to employ 28,000 people, many of them locals.

The studio city would include resorts, cinemas, restaurants and shopping malls -- similar to the Fox Studio complex opened in Sydney in November.

Yaqara also has a multi-million dollar drinking water plant, Natural Waters of Viti Limited, which belongs to U.S. millionaire David Gilmour.

"Owned by the Fiji Water Company, the company plans to spend another $38 million to expand their operations because the water it produces has become famous worldwide," Bune said.

The government was also looking at a proposal from Evian Water to build a plant in Yaqara.

Just like it has done in France, Evian Water -- considered the best bottled water in the world -- proposed building a holiday resort in conjunction with the water bottling factory.

"A local company known as Magic Mountain, owned by landowners in Ra, is also waiting for a government permit to build a water bottling factory in the area," Bune said. "But government needs to complete an environmental impact study of the area before we allow the companies to operate."

Evian is also interested in building a resort in Fiji in association with its water bottling plant and will consider the possibility of a joint venture with Fiji Water, Bune added.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fiji Live.

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