21 Aug 2003

Vanuatu planning to reopen manganese mine

9:42 am on 21 August 2003

The head of Vanuatu's Geology and Mines Division, Tony Tevi, is planning to reopen the country's only mine.

The manganese mine, on Efate, was deserted after its French operators pulled out of the country in 1978, before independence.

It's estimated that earnings from the mine would be enough to pay all Vanuatu's outstanding debts, with money left over.

Mr Tevi won't say how much manganese stock could be mined, but sources have confirmed that the French extracted thousands of tonnes and left it in a heap prior to their hurried departure.

Mr Tevi says legislation will need to be reviewed before the mine can reopen, to comply with the need to distribute wealth fairly between landowners, the mining company and the government.