The Fijian government for the first time issued a mining license to a Chinese company on Friday.
The Chinese company, Xinfa Aurum, received the mining license from Fijian Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, meaning the startup of the company's bauxite project after some three years of exploration.
This is the first mining license issued by the Fiji government in the past decades and the first land leased by the Land Bank under the country's Land Use Decree as a result of the government' s land reform.
Speaking at the license handing-over ceremony, the prime minister expressed his congratulation to the Chinese company, while highlighting the importance of the mining sector in Fiji.
The mining sector can not only improve local revenues but also contribute to the country's GDP, said Bainimarama, hoping more Chinese investors come to Fiji to conduct projects of development.
Chinese Ambassador Han Zhiqiang said that Fiji is expected to rake in 20 million Fiji dollars (11.11 million US dollars) through the bauxite mine in Bua in the northern island, and there will be a lot of benefits for the local people as more jobs and better infrastructure will be provided.
He said Fiji has a huge potential for the development of abundant natural resources with its important geographical location, hoping Fiji would enjoy more success on the way of realizing economic prosperity and "building a better Fiji."
Both China and Fiji face similar tasks in realizing growth, stability and prosperity, said the ambassador,expressing that the Chinese government will continue to provide assistance to Fiji within its capacity and promote mutual beneficial cooperation between the two countries.
As part of its commitment to the local community, the Xinfa Aurum company handed over a check of 60,000 Fiji dollars (33,000 US dollars) to the landowners as an educational trust fund called "Future Generation."