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Pure water source among ‘best in the world’

By Maciu Malo SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 14, 2011) - Work on a multi-million dollar mineral water factory has begun in Nadelei, Tavua.

The new bottled water company says once in full operation, the Government will rake in up to FJ$45 million [US$25 million] per year under the new water extraction tax of 15 cents per liter.

The Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources’ acting geoscience manager Waseroma O’Connor said the newly-discovered mineral water source was one of the best in the world and would become one of the biggest bottled water factories in the country.

He said a preliminary test was carried out where 85,000 liters of water was extracted in just 10 hours.

"We have put one borehole and the outcome has been encouraging," said Mr. O’Connor.

"The water quantity and quality is rated as one of the best in the world."

He said the ministry was working closely with the Korean Resort Company which has secured a Crown Lease to establish and operate the plant.

O’Connor said the water source was discovered by the KRC officials. He said the investor had secured a lease for drilling and had worked on clearing the area a few months ago.

KRC director Young Gee Chang said the company had spent more than FJ$800,000 [US$447,000] looking for the best mineral water source and was satisfied with the Nadelei findings.

He said the first phase of development was expected to be completed in 12 months.

"We have budgeted FJ$1.5 million [US$838,000] for the first phase of construction which includes the cleaning up of the site, putting two more boreholes and the setting up of the factory.

"For the last three years we have been looking for this kind of mineral water and we are pleased that this Nadelei source meets the requirements of the World Health Organisation."

Mr. Chang said they had also secured registration of label for market purposes in Korea.

"We are targeting the Asian market and we are happy that our market in Korea has indicated their willingness to buy water from Fiji." He said the company has targeted an annual production of 300 million liters.

Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki said the Government supported the new factory because it would bring the much-needed revenue to the country.

He said the setting up of the new factory would guarantee job opportunities for locals.

"The Government is supporting all investors wanting to setup business in the country and we will see that this new factory is set up as soon as possible.

"We have arranged with all the authorities concerned to allow an easy flow of job with regards to the paperwork concerning the setting up of the new water factory," Mr. Cawaki said.

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