Category Archives: Fiji

Confusion over FGF and bauxite mining in Fiji

Luke Rawalai | Fiji Times | March 23, 2017

The landowning unit of Fiji’s first bauxite mine in Nawailevu, Bua yesterday clarified this issue that Lands Minister Faiyaz Koya earlier described as “one that will benefit the future generation only”.

In an earlier interview with this newspaper, Mr Koya said only the three generations emerging within the 99-year lease duration of the Nawailevu bauxite mine would be eligible for the Future Generation Fund.

Mr Koya said the funds were meant for the future generations of the three landowning units of Noro, Nalutu and Naicobo in Nawailevu.

However, in their response and speaking on behalf of the landowning units, Vilikesa Kaidawa said the Future Generation Fund derived from the royalties of bauxite mining would also benefit current landowners.

This, he said, included the elders of the three landowning units.

Mr Kaidawa said landowning units had a workshop with representatives from the Land Bank Unit who assured them that current generation would also benefit from the revenue generated from investments of the FGF.

“We had a workshop with the unit on the first week of last month where we were told that the fund would be put in investment institutions to grow the fund of $600,000,” he said.

“Revenues generated from the investments will benefit current members of the LOUs while the $600,000 will be set aside for future generations.

“The workshop was also attended by representatives from investment banks and talks had been held during the workshop on putting up investment projects such as the purchase of a home, hotel and so on to bring in revenue.”

Mr Kaidawa said they had asked for part of the funds to invest and make money.

But the Ministry of Lands has made its stand clear that the FGF would not be released at any time except for the three generations born during the 99-year lease period.

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Fiji villagers claim mine spill destroying fishing grounds

Shalend Prasad points at a water outlet from the bauxite mine alleged by members of the public to be waste water from sediment ponds within the mine. Picture: LUKE RAWALAI

Luke Rawalai | Fiji Times | March 20, 2017

PEOPLE in Nasarawaqa, Bua and those living along the Dreketi River claim the decline in marine resources around the area is due to spillage of waste water from the bauxite mining in Naibulu, Dreketi.

Sasake villager Apisalome Tumuri claimed that the spill off from the mine during heavy rain forced marine life out from the area to the deep sea.

The 52-year-old fisherman claims there had been a lot of changes in their fishing ground since mining began in nearby Naibulu, Dreketi.

Mr Tumuri said fish, crabs and bech-de-mer had begun disappearing from their fishing grounds during the past three years. He said in the past, villagers could pick shellfish and fetch mud crabs from nearby mangroves.

He said they now had to go out into the open sea to get these.

Dreketi resident Losana Lomani said the Dreketi River had turned red last week after heavy rain was experienced in the area.

Ms Lomani said they learnt that the muddy water originated from the mining site and that women in the area found it hard to find freshwater mussels in the river.

XINFA Aurum Exploration Fiji Ltd’s senior officer Sang Lei said the muddy water witnessed by villagers was normal rain run-off from land.

Mr Lei said all waste water from the mine was contained in the sediment pond at the mine and that none had seeped into the waterways as claimed.

Responding to queries, permanent secretary for Lands and Mineral Resources Ministry Malakai Finau said it was normal for the sea to turn muddy during heavy rain.

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Fiji villagers complain of ‘red’ sea

The sediment pond at the XINFA Bauxite mine in Naibulu, Dreketi which is said to have spilled waste water. Picture: LUKE RAWALAI

Luke Rawalai | Fiji Times | March 17, 2017

XINFA Aurum Exploration Fiji Ltd has strongly denied claims that sediment ponds at their mining site were overflowing, spilling into waterways and ending up in the sea.

The sediment ponds hold wastewater from the mining process.

The company made the statement after people raised concerns regarding the change in water colour during adverse weather experienced last week in Nasarawaqa, Naibulu, Nakalou and surrounding areas.

The company’s senior officer San Lei said it was just normal water runoff from land.

Mr Lei said all wastewater from the mine was contained in the sediment pond at the mine and none had seeped into the waterways as claimed. However, villagers of Sasake in Bua claimed heavy rain in the mine area caused spill-off from the sediment ponds that ended up in the sea.

Viliame Bailato, who claims to have fished in the area for 20 years, said seawater around the village turned red during the heavy rain, claiming it was soil carried by rain water from the mining site and the sediment pond.

Mr Bailato said the normal run-off from land during heavy rain was different from what they experienced last week.

He said last week they had to travel to open sea to catch fish because there were no fish within the lagoon.

The 53-year-old said the incident had been happening for a while now, claiming the spillage had even driven mud crabs and other marine organisms from their shores.

Nasarawaqa fisherman Oliva Uga alleged fish numbers in the area had dwindled because of the spillage.

Mr Uga said the waters in the area used to be known for the schools of mackerel or salala.

He said for three years now they had no sign of the fish in their fishing grounds.

Other fishermen in both areas claim waters within the Nasarawaqa, Dreketi and Nakalou areas had been affected by the spillage last week.

Responding to questions from this newspaper, permanent secretary for the Lands and Mineral Resources Ministry, Malakai Finau, said muddy water experienced last week was the result of normal run-off from land. Mr Finau said it was normal for the sea to turn muddy during heavy rain, adding this even happened at the Rewa River.

He said officials from the ministry had been at the mine to verify claims from people, adding they would send them to the mine site again to verify the current claims.

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Newcrest refutes Fiji pit claim

A drill pad site. Photo: Namosi Joint Venture

A drill pad site. Photo: Namosi Joint Venture

Luke Rawalai | The Fiji Times | March 2, 2017

NEWCREST Exploration Fiji Ltd says it has no plans for a third mine pit for the Namosi Joint Venture.

This is after claims by the Tikina Namosi Landowners Committee (TNLC) that it had evidence to indicate that the NJV had plans for a third mine pit at Waivaka West in Namosi.

Committee chairperson Josefa Tauleka said they were hoping to sit with government officials to discuss the effects of extensive mining on the fragile ecosystem in the Namosi highlands.

Mr Tauleka said they had been studying the company’s exploration developments in the highlands for the past eight years and gathered evidence that the company intended to have a third mining pit at Waivaka West, which is a major water source on Viti Levu.

“In a letter to Natural Resources Standing Committee chairman Joeli Cawaki, the TNLC expressed its concerns on the effect of spillage to the neighbouring provinces of Serua, Naitasiri, Rewa and Tailevu,” he said.

Newcrest Exploration Fiji Ltd country manager Greg Morris said the company had no intention of mining a third pit.

He said they had continuously updated landowners on the progress of the project and “listen to their issues and concerns”.

“NJV has not yet applied for a mining licence. Neither does it have plans for a third pit as suggested by the TNLC.”

Newcrest Ltd has 71 per cent shares in the venture.

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Row Flares Again Over Namosi Exploration

TNCL chairman Josefa Tauleka with children of Namosi village who were also part of the meeting yesterday. Photo: Lusiana Tuimaisala

TNCL chairman Josefa Tauleka with children of Namosi village who were also part of the meeting yesterday. Photo: Lusiana Tuimaisala

Maika Bolatiki and Lusiana Tuimaisala | Fiji Sun | February 26, 2017

The Tikina Namosi Landowners Committee (TNLC) will seek a meeting with  Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to discuss its concerns about the mineral explorations in Namosi.

At a TNLC meeting at Namosi village yesterday, members unanimously opposed exploration currently carried out by the Namosi Joint Venture (NJV) on environmental grounds.

TNLC chairperson Josefa Tauleka said that they were against exploration since it started in Namosi because they felt it would destroy their natural resources.

He said that no one seemed to listen to them and that was why they wanted to meet with Mr Bainimarama.

“We have a caring Prime Minister and we know he will listen to us,” he said.

“We already had made a presentation to the Prime Minister in 2012  but we really want to meet him again to brief him of the current developments.”

Mr Tauleka said they fully supported the Prime Minister’s green economy policy because it was in line with what TNLC believed.

“We also support him as chair of COP 23.”

NJV is currently exploring minerals in the province and has been granted a licence, SPL 1420 till 2020.

Mr Tauleka claimed mining would be next.

He alleged that according to the company’s Mining Plan there would be two mining pits but from information they had gathered there would be a third pit at Waivaka West. The company, he alleged, had opted for open pit and not underground mining.

The NJV has strongly refuted claims by the TNLC of its plan to have a third pit.

“NJV has no plans for a third pit as suggested by the TNLC, “ Greg Morris the Newcrest Mining Limited Country Manager Fiji said.

He said they had not applied for a mining licence.

The company, he said, had been given an exploration licence only and that was what they were doing.

NJV made a presentation to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mineral Resources chaired by Joeli Cawaki on the progress of their exploration.

Meanwhile, Mr Morris said the company provided a briefing to the Parliamentary Natural Resources Standing Committee on the progress of the NJV Waisoi project Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA).

The ESIA is yet to be completed but it will discuss the potential impact and the proposed management measures in accordance with the term of Reference issued by the Department of Environment.

He said the NJV had been continuously meeting with the landowners over the past to update them on the  project and listen to their issues and concern.

See also: Tikina Namosi Landowners respond to NJV mining claims

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Tikina Namosi Landowners respond to NJV mining claims

A drill pad site. Photo: Namosi Joint Venture

Namosi Joint Venture exploration drill site

Tikina Namosi Landowners respond to the Chairman of the Fijian Parliamentary Select Committee on Natural Resource in relation to Namosi Joint Venture Director Mr Greg Morris’ claims on his presentation to the Standing Committee…

“Warm Greetings Mr Cawaki,

“At the outset, I wish to congratulate you on the tremendous work you are doing in assisting the Fijian People in these times.

“Vinaka saka vakalevu.

“I read with dismay the presentation given by Mr. Greg Morris yesterday as part of their presentation to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Natural Resources

“I write as Chairman of the Tikina Namosi Landowners Committee TNLC, wishing to highlight some of the issues needed also to be raised by Namosi Joint Venture NJV on but failed to do so. These are most important to us Fijian as we live in a very small island state called Fiji and wishing to commence with a massive open cut copper and Gold Mine very similar to OK Tedi in PNG. NJV has been smiling when it is explaining the economic benefit to the Country and not the Shareholders who will get more and the employing of 2000 people as part of its workforce, although I wish to highlight some of the issues from the Landowners perspectives and these are:

  1. Has NJV highlighted the environmental damages it has caused to our land the last 10 years of exploration in Namosi?
  2. Has NJV mentioned the vast area covered which if you look at the mine plan, anyone would be quick to establish that to have the first pit with a size of 180 rugby field and with 2 pits you will know that there will be migration of people;
  3. Has NJV mentioned of a third pit which is not mentioned in the Mine plan although we understand its where its gold deposit are concentrated,
  4. Has NJV mentioned that to show the third Pit, Government will automatically disallow the Mine License,
  5. Has NJV mentioned of a cost benefit analysis after mining has finished.
  6. Who pays for these costs?
  7. Is it sustainable to have a massive copper/gold mine in the smallest province in Fiji;
  8. In terms of migration, where will our people settled,,,,,,, Serua?
  9. What happen to the Heritage Act, the Museum Act, the Archeological and Paleontologist Act.- How can they identify with us?
  10. What’s the use of the Baseline Studies and where is the report now?
  11. What happens to provinces such as Serua, Naitasiri, Rewa and Tailevu if spillages does occur?
  12. Who will pay for the social implication after mining?
  13. What is the use of taking the lead in Climate Change stance as part of the COP 21, 22 and our taking Chairmanship in COP 23?
  14. When our ecosystem is damaged, who will feed us when all living organism are dead through chemical use,
  15. Has NJV mentioned that the Suva/Nausori populations are drinking from the Waimanu River that flows from Wainivalelevu from Namosi?
  16. How does the LOU benefit from this mine?
  17. How sustainable is the waste storage DAM or Tailing Dam. Who pays for the spillage downstream if an Earthquake or any disastrous weather phenomenon does occur?

“Sir the list goes on and on. The money is good for the Country on a short term benefit but the damage caused cannot be put the pristine environment back again. It will whisper to your ear and say…..moce qi sa la.

“As members of the Fiji First Party and government, we understand that we are following government road map to sustainable development and to have a project that is unsustainable will be against your road map.

“We need fresh air, fresh water, fresh crops and vegetation for our survival, so to mine Namosi is taking away what the almighty has given us to enjoy.

“I hope the TNLC’s humble plea will be taken on board and that serious and honest consideration in that Namosi should not be mined as it will cause more to the people and government after mining has taken place.

“What we do in our lives will determined our destiny to the next life whether it be good or bad, we will answer to the almighty or how justifiable we are.

“Vinaka saka vakalevu.

Josefa Rauto Waqavatu Tauleka

Chairman TNLC

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Economic benefits promised if Namosi Joint Venture operations begin

A drill pad site. Photo: Namosi Joint Venture

A drill pad site.

By Semi Turaga | Fiji Village |  16/02/2017

736 full time positions are expected to be created every year if the Namosi Joint Venture gets a mining license and starts mining operations.

This was revealed by the Project Manager of Namosi Joint Venture Greg Morris in a presentation to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources.

Morris says the figures are based on a study about the economic benefits of the project which was done by a specialist consultant.

He also highlighted in the presentation that they expect a peak of 2,000 employees in the fourth year of the operation.

Morris says they also expect to generate $343 million in Gross Domestic Product per annum on average when the operation starts.

The Namosi Joint Venture was established in 2008 for the exploration and development of mineral resources in the Namosi area.

They currently have an exploration license.

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