BAINIMARAMA TOUTS FIJI MINE INDUSTRY

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Expanded prospecting, big profits anticipated

By Caroline Ratucadra SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, Nov. 9, 2011) - The mining industry in Fiji is expected to rake in over one billion Fijian dollars of economic activity once explorations and actual mining activities at defunct and potential sites become fully operational.

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said Government was seriously considering re-activating explorations and actual mining at Mount Kasi in Cakaudrove and the operations of other potential mines like Namosi.

He made the remarks while opening the country's first bauxite mine at Nawailevu in Bua yesterday.

Commodore Bainimarama said development of the mining sector would create immediate business and employment opportunities, improve Fijians' living standards, reduce poverty and attract economic attention to the region.

"As the Fijian Government explores the best and most promising opportunities for economic advancement, it is crucial that our Government and our partners maintain a level of transparency and fluid communications to ensure valuable and unassailable growth," he said.

Commodore Bainimarama said Fijians should feel confident in this form of exploration such as the Nawailevu bauxite mine while Government continued to implement various reforms to create high trading standards for long term growth and a bright future for the Fijian economy.

However, with the development of the mining sector, he assured the people that Government would not shy away from its responsibility to the community and the people.

"We stand by the workers. We stand by the resource owners. We stand by the investors. We stand by the environment. Ours is a holistic approach. This is how we will proceed," Commodore Bainimarama said.

As of June this year, a total of 49 special exploration licenses covering 576,146 hectares were issued by Government.

The Prime Minister who is acting Minister of Lands said a further 37 exploration applications including deep sea explorations were in varying stages of processing.

"We’re strengthening the monitoring of these licences to ensure the licence holders keep true to their commitments, I am happy to state that feedbacks received have been encouraging," Commodore Bainimarama said.

The Nawailevu bauxite mine is the first for Fiji and is now the third operating mine in the country, after Vatukoula and the Wainivesi gold mines.

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