Newcrest Exploration (Fiji), a subsidiary company of Newcrest Mining Limited, will spend about $13million on exploration works at Mount Kasi Gold Mine in Dawara, Cakaudrove for the next three years.
In an interview Mineral Resources department director Malakai Finau confirmed the company had been given the green light to carry out such proposed task at the site.
“Exploration work proper has not started yet as we are in the initial stages of processing the granting of the licence,” Mr Finau said.
“The company has submitted their work program for three years with a budget of about $13million to spend on exploration.
“Mining works is still a long way off as the new company will have to commence from possibly scratch again after the previous exploration and mining on Mount Kasi.”
The initial landowner consultation, he added, was held last month in which a government team led by the permanent secretary for Lands and Mineral Resources, Tevita Boseiwaqa, and company representatives visited the landowners to notify and advise them on the exploration work to be conducted in the area.
“I would like to relate to the significance of the mineral exploration to resume at Mount Kasi as about 14 years is quite a long time for a potential mineral deposit to be idle with no mineral exploration activity.
“Newcrest Exploration Fiji Ltd should be given the opportunity to invest in Fiji through this exploration activity with all due support as given to all other mineral exploration companies or other investors for that matter.”
However, Mr Finau said Newcrest was advised to hasten its preparation and be ready to commence exploration work once the exploration licence was finalised by the department, and also to be sensitive to landowner issues and be mindful of the environment.
“This is exploration work and not mining and the care and monitoring of the exploration activities by the company, and its potential impact to the environment and to the people, community and landowners is a high priority for the department.”