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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Daily Post, Sept. 18) - The mining of marble is becoming a positive prospect for the highlands of Nadroga where large marble and precious metal deposits have been identified.

A team from the Mineral Resources Department (MRD) led by its Minister Tevita Vuibau met with the landowning units of Toga, Vunaqoru and Tawatawadi where a large deposit of marble is present. The team met with landowners to explain the possibilities and to advise them on proper avenues to follow with regards to marketing this natural resource.

Located about 25 kilometers up the Sigatoka Valley road on the eastern bank of the Sigatoka River, the marble deposit site was first evaluated by MRD in 1970 with a view to promoting it as a potential source of lime product for cement manufacturing industry and as a dimension stone product.

The mining prospect was under license to a Wing Investment Company granted in 2000 which expired in 2003.

Therefore, MRD has recommended the tendering of the license to any interested parties with expertise and financial backing to advance the resources to mine development.

On the promotion of the prospect, the Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources has suggested that MRD work closely with the Fiji Trades and Investment Bureau with regards to presentations on mineral exploration initiatives and prospects at overseas conference.

Likewise for the security of the mining prospect the Vuibau agreed there should be a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the landowners, contractor or companies to clearly demarcate responsibilities to ensure that breaches are duly addressed.

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