Serafina Silaitoga | The Fiji Times
THE proposed bauxite mining in the district of Wainunu has not been accepted by majority of the villagers because its monetary value of four cents per kilogram was much less than dalo [taro] and yaqona [kava].
This was revealed yesterday by the Bua Urban Youth Network after a team conducted a survey in six villages interviewing traditional leaders, children, youths, women and men.
The group’s spokeswoman, Vani Catanasiga, said out of the seven villages in the district, the group didn’t cover Saolo but they had been assured by traditional leaders and villagers that they didn’t want bauxite mining.
“We based the cost of bauxite per kg from the price published in The Fiji Times earlier with $US20 ($F42) a tonne so landowners would be paid four cents a kilogram of bauxite,” she said.
“Compared to dalo which sells for about $3 a kg and yaqona between $25 and $40 per kg, landowners should not be misled.
“And with Wainunu and Nadi districts already booming with its dalo exports, landowners feel this is the way to go and not bauxite.”
Another major reason cited by the villagers was the fact that bauxite has been identified in their farms and villages.
“For Nadua Village, they have told us that bauxite sits in their village but they are not interested at all in relocating,” Ms Catanasiga said.
“Bauxite has also been found in their farms and most of these villagers depend on the food to feed their families and earn an income.
“They have also learnt from the Nawailevu saga and these villagers in Wainunu don’t want the same to happen to them.”
Tui Wainunu Ratu Orisi Baleitavea has called on the youths to work with his Wainunu Development Board.
“Instead of these youths shooting bullets at us, let them come out to talk to us and we work together on other options for the people of Bua and Wainunu to improve their living standards and alleviate poverty,” he said.
“In 2012, we approved a mandate at the chiefs meeting in the district to have bauxite mining in Wainunu but like I said before, we will include wider consultation for all villagers.”