A US company has become the first mining company to sign a contract with the Vanuatu government to remove and export piles of manganese which were left by a French company.
The firm packed up and left the country almost 30 years ago when the country was still under joint British and French colonial rule.
The Managing Director of Vanuatu Project Management Limited, Randall Pollock, said the terms of the contract allows the company to remove and export about 500,000 tons of manganese to the US market.
The Director General of Land, Russel Nari said under the law, when any kind of mineral has been extracted and left on the surface, it is owned by the state and custom landowners are not entitled to any of it.
But Mr Pollock said the company felt a moral responsibility, which is why they it is giving the government two percent of the profits, the landowners two percent and Shefa province, where the mine is located, one percent.