7 Dec 2006

Fiji's gold mine says it's not abandoning facility

12:41 pm on 7 December 2006

Fiji's gold mine claims that while its shutting down operations it's not abandoning the facility or its workers.

The head of the Emperor Gold Mining Company in Australia denies that it closed without any prior warning yesterday, leaving more than 1700 staff out of work.

Brisbane-based CEO, Brad Gordon, says heavy losses forced the closure but the company will liaise with government, union and community leaders to minimise the impact of it.

Mr Gordon says legally the company's only obliged to give workers one week's notice, but it will continue to pay them for several weeks before working out a redundancy package.

"Rest assured the company will not be walking away from Vatakola and will not be walking away from our people. It's a difficult time for everyone and we want to ensure we do this with dignity and with respect."

One hundred staff are expected to stay on for the next month, when numbers will be reduced to 25.

Mr Gordon says the mine's under care and maintenance, and its hoped an extensive exploration programme will be carried out to enable the mine to reopen in the future.