In 1999, industry made up 14 percent of GDP. Data from 4 years earlier showed that construction contributed about 48 percent of this sector. This contribution, however, varies considerably from year to year depending on new developments in the tourist sector and in private industry. Manufacturing made up 39 percent of the industry sector, and its contribution has been steady and slowly growing.
There was a manganese mine operating on the island of Efate in the 1960s and 1970s, but currently there is no significant mineral production. Nevertheless, there is much interest in the mineral possibilities of the country, since Vanuatu is similar geologically to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, where gold and other minerals are currently being mined. In the mid-1990s, Australian aid allowed a countrywide survey of mineral potential, and following this, a number of exploration licenses were taken out by private companies.
Manufacturing is a relatively minor industry in Vanuatu, although in the late 1990s it contributed just over 5 percent of GDP. The most important manufacturing enterprises cater for the local market in areas such as food processing (especially meat), wood processing and construction materials. Most of the manufacturing is located in the capital, Port Vila, although small operations such as production of soap from coconut oil take place elsewhere. The growth of tourism has encouraged the production of traditional handicrafts.