Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s Speech at the Granting of Lease to AMEX Resources Ltd

Ni sa bula vinaka and good afternoon to you all. I am both pleased and proud to be here with you today at the commencement of the MBA Delta Ironsands Project.

The granting of this mining lease to Amex Resources Limited (ARL) has been in development for a long time – including feasibility studies, research, and extensive planning.

Amex is an Australian company listed on the Australian stock exchange (ASX). We are joined here today by the Company’s major Shareholder, Kenny Zang; Shareholder, Ian Yibo; Managing Director, Matthew Collard; Technical Consultant, Ian Cowden; Environmental Consultant, Dr. Paulo Vanualailai; and Country Manager, Emori Toloi.

As Fiji’s economy continues to expand – reviving old industries and developing new ones – it is important to ensure these operations run with the utmost transparency, accountability, and an eye toward future development.

It has been a priority of my Government to uphold high standards for all business – old and new – and, as a result, we are gathered today to celebrate Fiji’s expansion into new and growing industries.

Following the successful launch of Fiji’s first bauxite mine in November 2011, and well-maintained management, the decision to welcome Amex onto our shores was made after informed deliberations and tested experience.

This project represents a 21-year undertaking by ARL. The initial investment to commence the removal of iron ore from the delta of the Ba River will be close to $150million Fiji dollars. Approximately $75million Fiji dollars will be spent onshore in Fiji. An estimated 300 full-time and 50 short-term jobs will be created for Fijians.

As part of a long-term sustainability plan to remove rich deposits of ironsands, Amex will dredge mineral sand from the Ba delta; extract the iron ore content; and replace the tails back into the delta. The ironsand will then be barged to Lautoka, where it will be unloaded, washed and stockpiled.

It is through such consideration for environmental protection and renewal that my Government felt comfortable in both the experience and growth strategy of Amex to pursue this project.

In addition to the positive economic impact this project will have on the Fijian economy, increased and consistent activity in and around the river will also assist with necessary dredging to help avoid future flooding.

As this latest partnership attests, Government is committed to position Fiji as a destination for foreign investment. We have created an environment that has encouraged such partnerships – not only through the systematic elimination of corruption in public and private business, but also through investment in Fiji’s internal resources.

My Government is here to empower all Fijians and maintain a safe and productive environment for internal and international investment—directed not by corruption, but by responsible management and financial responsibility.

In the last year, Fiji has undertaken a number of large growth initiatives in areas such as telecommunications and clean and renewable energy. This has positioned our Pacific Island community as one of the most progressive, serving also to benefit our regional neighbours in shared innovation.

Also in the past year, Fiji and its leadership attended and hosted international conferences on matters of international trade standards and foreign policy; opened new Embassies around the world; and strengthened ties with international partners as they contributed to flood rehabilitation efforts.

A number of our strongest partners are based in the Asia-Pacific region, and have invested heavily in the development of various programmes and initiatives in Fiji. From the pursuit of mushroom farming to joint-medical research, there is great interest in our nation as a destination for foreign investment.

I have recently returned from a trip to China where great interest in Fiji was shown by potential investors. We will soon have Chinese investment in food processing; housing; power generation; and textile industries.

As we welcome an expanded and dynamic range of opportunities for foreign investment upon our shores, my Government will work to ensure demonstrated stability, integrity, transparency, and accountability in all stages, and all aspects of this work.

It is integral for the sound and sustainable growth and prosperity of any industry or undertaking, that leadership maintains a strong set of principles for future growth. ARL has demonstrated a strong understanding of these principles and of the financial and economic landscape in Fiji.

And, with these few words, I would like to once again thank ARL for understanding how best to approach an investment opportunity while also taking heed of Fiji’s unique environmental needs. Together, we will strive to create a sound environment of success as we expand the mining industry in this new direction.

Again, I would like to thank the shareholders, managing director and representatives for their efforts in making this project a reality.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you very much.