Serafina Silaitoga | Fiji Times | May 06, 2016
AT least $4 million worth of bauxite remains in mining sites as export from the shores of Bua has been stagnant for a year despite improvement to the global market.
About 70,000 tonnes of bauxite valued at $2.8 million has remained at the Nawailevu stockpile area and 30,000 tonnes worth $1.2m has been kept at the mining site in Dreketi, Macuata.
Aurum Exploration (Fiji) Ltd’s director Derek Chiu confirmed that the company had not been able to export bauxite for a year now.
“We have not been able to export bauxite since the first quarter of last year and haven’t been able to make changes or to export this year,” he said.
“The global demand for bauxite is very bad and this has affected the situation. The quality of the bauxite from Bua has also delayed our export from Bua.”
Director mineral Raijeli Taga also confirmed the tonnage of bauxite that has not been exported.
She added that bauxite from Bua was not classed as high-grade which has also contributed to the situation.
“The department is fully aware that the price of bauxite has recovered to some extent given the rise in demand for bauxite in China, which is the wold’s biggest bauxite consumer,” she said.
“The bauxite in Bua is not classed as high-grade bauxite, thus the issue of securing an export market given the slow or sluggish recovery of bauxite price as well as China’s insatiable demand for high-grade bauxite.
“This is because of the shortage of supply of high grade bauxite which was caused by Indonesia banning bauxite export in 2014 as well as Malaysia, two of the world’s biggest bauxite exporters.”
Mrs Taga said Aurum Exploration had been continuously advising the department of issues faced in their efforts to export bauxite.
“Currently 70,000 tonnes of bauxite is sitting at the Naiviqiri stockpile and another 30,000 tonnes of bauxite at Aurum’s mining site in Dreketi ready to be shipped,” she said.