18 Sep 2008

Six families of former Fiji mine workers facing eviction won't budge

5:31 pm on 18 September 2008

One of the shareholders in Fiji's Vatukoula Gold Mine says six former workers have to move out of company housing they have been occupying illegally.

Vatukoula Gold says the former miners have found jobs elsewhere but the houses they're living in are owned by the company and are desperately needed to house its current employees.

The workers have said they will not go until they have received their full entitlements.

Brian Wesson, of Westech, which is a major shareholder in Vatukoula Gold, believes the miners are just making excuses not to leave, because of their favourable living conditions.

"So after 20 months the mine's saying, well you've got a job somewhere else, you don't work near the mine. We need somewhere for our people to stay, and they are our houses, it's our land. We've been giving you free electricity and water for over a year, and it's time to move on."

Mr Wesson says the former miners were paid generous redundancies by the mine's previous owners, Emperor Mines, and are therefore owed nothing.