Global demand, recession affects Fiji bauxite exports

Serafina Silaitoga | The Fiji Times

FIJI has exported $48million worth of bauxite so far from the shores of Bua in the Northern Division.

But the drop in global demand has affected export and slowed work progress at the mines this year.

Aurum Exploration (Fiji) Ltd executive Derek Qiu confirmed although works continued, operations were not the same during peak period.

He said the company had exported 1.2million tonnes of bauxite since mining started in Bua.

“We may just have two shipments this year because of the global market situation. The global demand is less but work at the Dreketi mine is progressing,” he said.

On the number of bauxite shipments expected from Dreketi, Mr Qiu said, that was yet to be determined.

He said the recent bad weather experienced in the North had also affected work progress. Mr Qiu did not elaborate on the tonnage of bauxite stockpiled at the mine site.

However, in July, he confirmed that 70,000 tonnes of bauxite valued at $1.4m were stockpiled at Nawailevu in Bua because of the decrease in market demand.

If the situation continued, Mr Qiu said, 50 per cent of mining operations around the world would close down.

He said the company had felt the effects of the global economic recession in the prices of bauxite and other ores.

Efforts to obtain the exact amount of lease paid to landowners was not successful but a report tabled to the Parliament Standing Committee in July stated the four landowning units in Nawailevu had already received $400,000 of about $1.5million allocated to them.

Landowners of mataqali Naita, Lekutu Village had received $200,000 but it was not clear how much landowners of Nabiti Village in Dreketi had received so far.

Government had also set aside $600,000 for the future generation of the landowning units.

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