Vanuatu daily news digest | 27 September 2014

While the people of Vanuatu are awaiting a decision from the Vanuatu Government concerning nickel smelting operations at Cape de Queiros on Santo, Radio Vanuatu reports Sanma Province considers it a good project. Secretary-General Sakaria Daniel spoke of the many job opportunities such a project would bring to the region. "School dropouts would be able to find career pathways," Daniel told the national broadcaster. "In Vanuatu we have no mining. We don’t know what it is. In my letter I said, as the executive officer of the province, I have no objection to the project. Once we have support of the national government we then don’t have any good reason to stop the proposal. It will help our revenue base." Acting PM Ham Lini met the manager of the project yesterday afternoon in Port Vila. The decision of the government will be announced in the coming week.

Daily Post also covers the nickel treatment plant and has the Mai Holding Company (MHC) PRO Taupua Christian saying cheap labour and low tax are not the main reasons for the smelting to be moved from New Caledonia to Cape de Queiros on Santo. Rather he draws attention to the strong Melanesian bond Santo has with New Caledonia and the sister city agreement between Luganville and the Mont Dore suburb of Nouméa from where the company is seeking to relocate its smelting operations.

Daily Post also draws attention to the first Deep Sea Minerals Policy conference to be held in Vanuatu. It will take place between 7 and 9 October at the Malvatumauri chiefs’ nakamal. Minister Regenvanu says "Our vision is for our stake-holders and citizens to have a high level of engagement in scrutinising the Deep Sea Minerals Policy draft before finalisation." Why was there no such initiative before government approval of nickel smelting near Port Olry?

The Independent this week headlines with the royal visit of Princess Anne, to take place October 24 – 29. The Deputy British High Commissioner from Honiara, Simon Gore, has been in Port Vila this week to discuss the visit and the Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue (EPLD) with which it is associated. The Princess has inherited the role of patron of the EPLD from her father, Prince Philip. Navigating Our Future Together is the theme of the conference which will have representatives from 23 Pacific countries. Older people in Vanuatu will recall the previous royal visit on the Royal Yacht Britannia in 1974 when the Queen, Prince Philip and Princess Anne visited the Naggol on Pentecost on their way to Santo.

A meat and food safety workshop has been continuing over four months in the capital. The Agriculture Department is responsible, and 16 participated. The South Pacific Community assisted with funding.

Vanuatu Times carries news of the VBTC planning with Huawei Technologies of China towards digital TV that could be accessed around the islands with mobile telephony. The discussions between the major broadcaster in Vanuatu and the world’s largest telecoms equipment maker are said to be "a collaboration" by that newspaper.

The Reserve Bank has been advising that the Tuvatu money which has been illustrated in Daily Post and discussed on Buzz FM 96 is not recognised as legal tender. Only the vatu is legally permitted as the currency of Vanuatu. Trading in indigenous currencies is done against the risk of prosecution.