6 Mar 2006

Vanuatu mining potential deemed significant

4:24 pm on 6 March 2006

A US company which has signed a contract to export piles of the manganese mineral from Vanuatu says the country has huge potential for mining but its infrastructure needs rebuilding.

Vanuatu Project Management Limited has signed with the Vanuatu government to remove and export 500,000 tonnes of manganese that have been left untouched for nearly thirty years.

Under its former owners, the company packed up and left the country when Vanuatu was still under joint British and French colonial rule.

The company's managing director, Randall Pollock, says they would probably entertain getting back into mining, but now they're only going to harvest the piles on the ground in and off Efate that they've been approved to export.

"We have to take a step backwards before we take a step forwards because the infrastructure is just in really bad shape. So we need to rebuild and clean up the property before we can start really doing anything new. We plan on doing that. We plan on refurbishing the wharf, airstrip, much of the infrastructure there. It'll take years."

Randall Pollock of Vanuatu Project Management Limited.