28 Sep 2012

New Caledonian miner still negotiating with Vanuatu over limestone

6:42 pm on 28 September 2012

The New Caledonian mining company Vale is still negotiating with Vanuatu over the import of limestone.

A delegation led by the company's chief executive Marc Homou is expected to arrive in Port Vila on Monday for a further series of talks with Vanuatu's authorities.

Vale New Caledonia is negotiating to mine limestone on the islands of Santo, Pentecost, Malekula, Efate and Erromango.

At the moment Vale imports limestone from the Philippines but transport from there takes six days compared with 48 hours from Vanuatu.

In a statement, Vale says it needs 100,000 tonnes of Vanuatu limestone per year and it hopes its operation will create a new mining boom there.

Vanuatu's minister of Lands and Mines, Steven Kalsakau has announced an amendment to the lands and mines act to give customary land owners more benefits.

He says under the act land owners are only entitled to royalties but with the proposed amendment they will receive 50 per cent of the value of the extracted resource.