DATELINE Resource Limited has announced a joint venture agreement with Australian company Conto Resources to financially assist an expanded exploration and drilling program at Udu Point in northern Vanua Levu throughout 2013.
Dateline, also located in Australia, through its Fiji company — Matai Holdings Fiji Limited — is the managing operator of the Udu Point project.
It has been exploring for copper and zinc deposits at its lease holdings since 1996.
In a statement, Dateline chairman Mark Johnson said this was a major milestone for the people of Udu Point.
He said under the terms of agreement, Conto would contribute up to $6.2million to Dateline to fund the continuing exploration and drilling program.
"This is a vote of confidence not only in the project's operations, but also in Fiji as well," Mr Johnson said.
"Conto is an excellent company with technical abilities," he said.
"If the exploration is successful, our merged companies would be positioned to move quickly towards the development of the mine."
Nukudamu villager Esala Qaniuci said such a development would create job opportunities and infrastructure not only for them but for nearby villagers as well.
"Currently, there are six villagers helping the workers out with the program and we are really happy because this development is a way forward for us," Mr Qaniuci said.