Fijian villagers excited about job opportunities through Chinese-invested mining project

20:55, February 11, 2011      

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Villagers in Fiji's northern island Vanualevu are being excited about job opportunities as four landowning units in Bua Province of the island have welcomed the setting up of a Chinese-invested bauxite mine in their area.

Provincial Officer in Bua Jale Sigarara told media on Friday that the land owning units of Noro, Nawailevu, Navakasiga and Burenitu are all happy with the co-operation between the Chinese investor Xinfa Aurum and the Fijian government as this would mean a new source of income for many of the unemployed in the villages.

It was reported that the land owners and the Xinfa Aurum company are currently awaiting formal endorsement of the Land Use Regulation by the cabinet after which a lease will be handed over to begin operations.

All negotiations of royalty and lease payments over the new bauxite mining in Bua have to be finalized before a surface lease is issued.

Acting permanent secretary for Fiji's Ministry of Lands Filimone Kau confirmed that they were only waiting for certain decisions by the cabinet under the new Land Use Regulation to allow the ministry to issue the surface lease to the Chinese company - XINFA Aurum, adding "once the surface lease is issued then the company can start construction work."

He promised that while talks are still underway, one of the conditions set down by the government was that the mining company Xinfa Aurum had to employ a certain percentage of villagers.

However, the Agriculture Ministry has warned farmers to invest in their land and not allow the mining opportunities to slow down their productivity.

Villagers are encouraged to continue to produce fresh food for their families to ensure they have a healthy diet always.

Source: Xinhua
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