13 Mar 2007

Lawyers for former miners seek halt to Fiji mine closure

10:47 am on 13 March 2007

Lawyers for former Fiji gold miners injured or killed while working at the closed Vatukoula mine want its sale halted.

The Fiji Times reports that the move to stop the sale of the mine comes after the general manager of Emperor Gold Mining Limited in Fiji, Frazer Bouchier, denied there were any outstanding compensation claims.

The lawyers say such statements indicate the company's unwillingness to pay compensation to miners who were killed or seriously injured, even though two compensation cases are currently before the courts.

The Mine Workers Unions says more than 20 mine workers are currently awaiting compensation for injuries sustained at work.

Meanwhile, Mr Bouchier said from Sydney that the sale of the mine to an Australian company had been wrapped up and was awaiting endorsement by the government.

He did not disclose the price but some media reports in Fiji say it is in the vicinity of 12-million US dollars.