6 Dec 2006

Fiji gold mine says it closed because of continued losses

2:32 pm on 6 December 2006

Fiji's only gold mine is denying that it closed without any prior warning yesterday, leaving more than 1700 staff out of work.

The move by the Emperor Gold Mining Company reportedly caught the trade union movement and workers by surprise.

The company's Brisbane-based chief executive officer, Brad Gordon, says the company was forced to shut down operations because of continued losses.

And he says the unions involved have been kept in the loop all along.

"We included the unions in our prior consultation with our people and they were one of the key stakeholders that we informed prior to the announcement and we will continue to have them as a key stakeholder going forward."

Mr Gordon says the decision had nothing to do with Fiji's political instability, but admitted the timing was unfortunate.

He says the company will be working with the government, the unions and the community to try and minimise the impact of the closure.