Kalesi Mele | The Fiji Times | May 30, 2017
AMEX Resources is exploring the sandbanks of the delta at the mouth of the Ba River between Raviravi and Vatutavui from its Sorokoba field base for iron sand.
Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya said this yesterday during the handover ceremony of the wharf site to Chinese company First Harbour Consultants for the construction of a new wharf and ship-loading infrastructure.
“Not only will the project boost our economy and open up employment opportunities; it is also expected to complement Government’s efforts to dredge the Ba Delta, thereby reducing the impacts of flooding during wet weather and we all know the damaging effects of a river bursting its banks,” he said.
“This is undoubtedly good news for those living along the Ba Delta but there is also better news for the nation. Now more so than ever ladies and gentlemen, investor confidence in Fiji has never been higher. Despite Fiji’s recent experience with devastating natural disasters, the outlook on our economic activity is encouragingly expected to continue growing.”
Iron sand is a component used to create steel and is popular and in demand among the growing economies of the world.
“We have healthy deposits of it here in Fiji, but we must carefully consider all aspects of mining for such a resource, including its environmental impacts before the mining lease is granted. Albeit given the lease three years ago, I am happy to mention that Amex has continued to meet the compliance requirements, so Government is willing to partner with them for mutual gain, in our respect, economic returns and investment and in Amex’s case, a steady supply of this sought after mineral.”
This new wharf and ship-loading facility will include a berth, a barge unloading facility, a washing plant, a stockpile area, ship-loading infrastructure, as well as workshops and offices.
The construction of the facility together with the purchase of a specialised marine fleet represents a $180-million investment. This is in addition to the $25m the company had already spent on exploration and other associated works leading up to this.