DESPITE assurances by the parent company of a mining project near the mouth of the Sigatoka River that environment impacts would be minimal, some residents remain concerned.
Robert Kennedy, a member of the Western Division development committee said people needed to understand all the implications of the proposed project by Magma Mines Ltd, a subsidiary of Australian company, Dome Gold Mines.
“I was there when this iron-sand mining project was first suggested and I had expressed reservations because of the possible implications to tourism properties and historical sites,” he said.
Mr Kennedy is also the owner and operator of Sandy Beach Cottages at Korotogo near Sigatoka.
“My understanding is that once the heavy minerals are taken out of the sand, the residual sand becomes lighter and it will float and affect reef area and coral around the river mouth and out to sea.”
Magma Mines Ltd also plans to conduct drilling work on Korura Island near the mouth of the Sigatoka River.
Mr Kennedy said the island was considered historically significant because of the number of prominent citizens who were buried there.
“These are some of the early Europeans and other people who contributed significantly to the establishment and development of Sigatoka and it would be a real shame if mining work is allowed on the island.
“I would urge all the authorities concerned and the people of Sigatoka to reconsider allowing mining of the river because of the impact on the environment and also on historic Korura Island.”
Mineral Resources director Raijeli Taga said the Department of Environment had given the project the go-ahead after completion of the environment impact assessment carried out by an independent organisation.