Fiji farmers’ claims of waste spillage refuted

Luke Rawalai | The Fiji Times | November 28, 2017

THE Mineral Resources Department has refuted claims by livestock farmers in Naibulu, Dreketi of bauxite waste water spillage.

Naibulu livestock farmer Deo Chand told this newspaper that livestock in the area had nowhere to drink since drains were flooded with excessive waste water from the mining site, which spilled into waterways. Mr Chand said livestock farmers normally relied on rainwater that filled the drains to quench their animals’ thirst.

“However, when it rains this becomes a problem because the water in these drains turn reddish and we believe this is water from the mine site’s collection pond,” he said.

Another livestock farmer, Anup Kumar, said they did not face the problem before mining started in the area.

Responding to these concerns, Mineral Resources Department director Raijeli Taga said in the last inspection report by the team, the runoffs from stockpiles and mining area had been taken care of.

Ms Taga said sediment traps had been installed to cater for runoffs.

“These are closely monitored by the mine manager and the inspection team to avoid stream sedimentation,” she said.

“The wet season is being accounted for in the monitoring plans because of the protection of the downstream communities’ livelihood, which also includes the ecosystem in the area of mining.

“Evidence received so far from the mine site manager has shown that such plans and management strategies and plans indicated that it is working, hence the need to continue to monitor for improvements.

“An inspection team sent out included a (Ministry of) Lands officer from our northern office and an officer from the Department of Environment.”

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Filed under Environmental impact, Fiji

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