THERE are no plans by Newcrest mining company to reopen the Mt Kasi Gold Mine in Dawara, Cakaudrove at this stage, says company manager Greg Morris.
He said the company believed further exploration work was the next step in working towards a sustainable and economic project.
"We had submitted an application for a special Prospecting Licence (SPL) to explore for gold in an area in Cakaudrove Province on Vanua Levu," he said.
"The government is processing the application and is yet to grant the SPL to Newcrest."
Mr Morris said the SPL would only allow Newcrest to conduct exploration, and that the exploration area applied for under the SPL included the site of the former Mt Kasi mine.
Mineral Resources Department director Malakai Finau said the $13 million exploration work was expected to begin soon after they finished processing the company's licence.
He said they earlier met landowners of Dawara Village in Cakaudrove and the meeting also included Newcrest officials.
"The company will take on the project as they have been given the green light to carry out work at the site," he said.
"We are in the final stages of processing the SPL before exploration work begins.
"We had entered into consultation with the landowners and they have agreed about the use of their land to be explored for gold."
Mr Finau said such projects would boost the North economy.
"MRD will continue to support such developments and ensure our minerals are exploited in a sustainable manner for the benefit of our people."
Mr Finau confirmed the company had submitted its work program for three years.
The landowners could not be reached for a comment.
Mount Kasi goldmine closed down operations in 1996.