Newcrest Mining will now work directly with Fiji military dictator Frank Bainimarama after he seized responsibility for the Namosi copper and gold project.
Bainimarama announced the move in response to environmental concerns about the billion dollar project, located 30 kilometres west of the Fiji capital Suva.
He said he was particularly concerned about protecting the rights of landowners and ensuring they got the maximum benefit from the mine’s development.
A Government website said Bainimarama’s decision was the “result of some people seeking to politicise the project for their own benefit by spreading misinformation”.
“It is imperative to be forward looking to ensure a clean environment for future generations while trying to gain maximum benefit for landowners — as has been done successfully throughout the world,” it said.
Newcrest is the manager and 69.94 per cent owner of the Namosi project, which aims to develop the world-class Waisoi copper and gold deposit.
While Waisoi has some of the largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits in the world, the Sydney Morning Herald reports Fiji’s political instability has slowed the project’s development.
Bainimarama rose to power in a 2006 military coup, Fiji’s fourth since 1987.
His leadership has previously been criticised by world powers for creating unacceptable limits of freedom of association and assembly.
Newcrest had no comment when contacted by Australian Mining this morning.