Vanuatu May Begin Exporting Limestone To New Caledonia

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SAS Goro Mines looking to source materials for nickel mining

By Jonas Cullwick

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 14, 2013) – The potential for Vanuatu to export limestone to New Caledonia for use at SAS Goro Mines is very high considering the quality and quantity of the mineral at Vothal near Port Olry on Santo. This is according to the Director of the Department of Geology, Mines and Rural Water supply, Chris Ioan.

Mr. Ioan said it was for this reason that the directors of the landowners of SAS Goro Mines made a recent visit to the country two weeks ago. During this trip the delegation visited Vothal, the site of the limestone where they signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the landowners, and to see how the limestone can be exported to New Caledonia.

"To facilitate this export possibility, we would require a legislation, on which began consultations last year and have come up with a Quarry Bill which is going before the First Ordinary Session of Parliament starting later month," Director Ioan said. He added that SAS Goro Mines also require this piece of legislation for the deal in limestone between them and Vanuatu to be possible.

"The next stage is we must go to the Philippines to see their operation and to see how we might be able to develop the principle here in consideration with our topography and weather conditions," Mr. Ioan said.

In the meantime, government is looking at developing the site where the limestone quarry will be located, by putting in infrastructure including roads, electricity, telephone access and water. All these development stages will need to be completed, before any negotiation on mining of limestone for export to New Caledonia can start, Director Chris Ioan said.

Limestone has two important uses in nickel mining operation. Firstly, limestone is used in the process to extract nickel from the rocks in which the mineral is imbedded. Secondly limestone is used to treat waste from the mines or tailings.

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