4 Jul 2007

Fiji's Vatukoula goldmine deal nears closure

9:10 am on 4 July 2007

The Australian company which was trying to buy out the closed down Fiji gold mine at Vatukoula is reported to have found a business partner to provide the finances.

The Fiji Times quotes the interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, as saying Westech Gold did not have the finances to get the gold mine back into operation which was the cause of the delay.

But, Westech has now entered into a partnership with the highly successful Canadian mining entrepreneur and financier, Red Lion Management Limited.

Westech Gold's head, Brian Wessen, says with Red Lion's support it will take three months for preparatory work before the mine becomes fully operational.

Mr Sayed-Khayum says further talks are expected this week on issues raised by Westech, such as tax concessions, before a mining licence can be issued.

Meanwhile, representatives of the community of 1,700 redundant miners at Vatukoula are demanding a say in further negotiations between the government and Westech, saying they have been left in the dark and are in dire straits.