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APIA, Samoa (January 18, 2002 - Samoa Observer/PINA Nius Online)---The Samoa Aufaipopo Society of coconut growers is looking at a fresh start this year by setting up a new mill after a long dispute over the right to operate the Vaitele Oil Mill.

Elan Trading Ltd., an Australian company, is currently operating the Vaitele mill.

Samoa Aufaipopo Society had run it in conjunction with a New Zealand company before the mill was put on tender.

The society’s spokesperson, Sala Vaimili, said negotiations between the society and Deputy Prime Minister Misa Telefoni were under way.

The Vaitele Oil Mill was set up in the seventies by Tupua Tamasese’s government. It was once the country’s main foreign exchange earner.

But Cyclones Ofa and Val in the early 1990s destroyed coconut plantations around the country causing the mill to close. Later, it was leased to outside management, and finally it was put on tender.

For additional reports from the Samoa Observer, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Samoa Observer.

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