Luke Rawalai | The Fiji Times | October 9, 2016
GOVERNMENT agencies will take more serious stances in monitoring 67 mineral exploration licences in the country.
Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya said it was important to monitor mining works to ensure that proper procedures were followed.
Mr Koya said he would continue the work of former minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa to ensure that the environment was free from different types of pollution during mining.
“Monitoring is something that we take seriously,” he said.
“With regards to the environment, there is a need to seriously monitor mining works and ensure that proper procedures are followed throughout the extraction of minerals.
“I will soon begin meetings with the responsible departments under the Mineral Resources Department to ensure that policies are put in place to safeguard our environment.”
Mr Koya was responding to earlier statements made by former Lands Minister Ms Vuniwaqa who had earlier said that since bauxite mining was new the ministry initially found it hard to monitor mining works, adding that it was better with it now. Ms Vuniwaqa, who has since been appointed Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, had said the recent spate of mining projects in the country had been a learning project, adding they learned very fast through bauxite mining because of the objections to it.
She had said bauxite mining had negative impacts on natural ecosystems because of failure in monitoring systems.
Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources permanent secretary Malakai Finau said recently there were currently 67 mineral exploration licences issued in the country.