Vanuatu's Commissioner of Mines says the awarding of a new contract for exporting piles of manganese from Efate is a breakthrough for mining in the country.
A US company, Vanuatu Project Management Limited, has signed a contract with the Vanuatu government to remove and export 500,000 tonnes of manganese which was mined nearly 30 years ago.
Under its former owners, the company packed up and left the country when Vanuatu was still under joint British and French colonial rule.
Tony Tevi says the remaining stockpile has remained untouched for years...
"There have been exploration companies and scientific companies like SOPAC who have gone down to do more scientific research to estimate the volume. We've got those reports but we just need someone who is at the moment capable of doing the job and we've got one now, they've signed the contract. And that's a very big step towards the development of mines in Vanuatu. Once this is going then you'll probably see others as well moving."
Vanuatu's Commissioner of Mines, Tony Tevi.