6 Sep 2007

Fiji administration moves to keep Vatukoula gold mine pumps operating

10:22 am on 6 September 2007

The new owners of the closed down Vatukoula gold mine in Fiji, Westech Gold, have been given until tomorrow to pay the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority 457-thousand US dollars in outstanding taxes.

Last month, the Authority issued a garnishee order against Westech freezing all its bank accounts because of unpaid taxes by the mine's previous owners, the Emperor Gold Mining Company.

But Fiji TV reports that after a meeting yesterday, the interim government and Westech reached what was described as middle ground.

The permanent secretary of the ministry of lands, Dr Rohit Kishore, says Westech has been given until tomorrow to come up with the initial down payment and then pay the balance of 6-point-8 million US dollars.

Dr Kishore says the government has told the TOTAL fuel company to keep supplying fuel to the gold mine so power can be generated to keep the mine shafts dry and prevent the type of environmental disaster feared earlier.