Category Archives: Fiji

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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Mine workers in Fiji not covered by Health and Safety laws

Mine workers in Fiji are not covered by Occupational Health and safety Laws

Mine workers in Fiji are not covered by Occupational Health and Safety Laws

Union: Miners not covered

Felix Chaudhary | The Fiji Times | November 26, 2016

THE mining sector is not covered under the country’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation, an issue that the Fiji Trades Union Congress is very concerned about.

FTUC national secretary Felix Anthony said miners had been promised they would have their own OHS laws since 2007, and yet, nothing had been done.

Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Minister Jone Usamate confirmed the mining industry was not covered under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1996.

Mr Usamate said the Act applied to all workplaces in Fiji except workplaces or operations connected with the Mining Act, Quarries Act, Explosives Act and Petroleum (Exploration and Exploitation) Act.

“The mining industry is not covered under the health and safety at Work Act as this law deals with health and safety in general whereas in mining, there are industry specific characteristics or risks that are specific to it,” he said.

“The competencies required for mine inspectorates are industry specific whilst OHS inspectors have general health and safety competencies and the mining industry operates under stringent risk management systems that are unique to the mining industry.

“I will look into this issue ensuring at all times that the best interests of Fiji as a whole are our priority.”

Mr Anthony said mine employees worked in a dangerous industry.

“The risk of injury and even death is extremely high and there are no OHS laws to govern their workplace,” he said.

“We are very concerned about the working condition of workers in the mining industry and call on the Government to look into the matter with urgency.”

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Fiji mine villagers to invest $1m

The horizon on the mountain top seen behind Inosi Masivava the head of yavusa maururu of Nadua Village will be the third bauxite mining site in Bua. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

The horizon on the mountain top seen behind Inosi Masivava the head of yavusa maururu of Nadua Village will be the third bauxite mining site in Bua. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

Serafina Silaitoga | The Fiji Times | November 23, 2016

A LARGE sum of the premium payment of $1.8 million for the third bauxite mine in Bua will be invested.

Members of the yavusa Maururu of Nadua Village and landowning unit of the new bauxite mine at Wainunu have agreed to invest most of the funds for their future generations.

Yavusa head Inosi Masivava said they were working with the iTaukei Land Trust Board about these issues.

“We will invest $1m and we have discussed options for investment, but it has to happen because our decisions today will have an impact on our future generations,” he said.

“All 22 members of our yavusa have agreed to this because we know that investing money increases our savings.”

Apart from the investment fund, the yavusa has also set aside $600,000 for improved housing project.

Mr Masivava said a few members had already built, extended and refurbished their houses in the village.

“We could not do this in the past because our income was limited and we could only pay the bills, buy food and take care of other expenses,” he said.

“But now we are seeing a big difference and fast change to our daily living with parents being able to build new toilets and bathrooms.

“It’s encouraging and great to see the positive changes happening within our yavusa, especially with our members.”

Mr Masivava said bauxite mining would not begin anytime soon.

“It will happen on our piece of land, but we have been advised that it will happen later.”

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Company optimistic sand mining on Fiji’s Sigatoka River will be approved

Sigatoka River, Fiji. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Sigatoka River, Fiji. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Radio New Zealand | 11 November 2016

An Australian mining company says it’s very optimistic it will get the green light to mine sand along Fiji’s Sigatoka River.

Dome Gold Mines is seeking a mining lease from the government for the ironsands project.

It’s rejecting concerns the mining could pose a threat to the environment or the nearby Sand Dune National Park, which contains an important Lapita archaeological site.

The company’s chief executive Jack McCarthy said the project could bring a hundred jobs and environmental benefits.

“The river itself being so choked would benefit by being deepened, and the Government of Fiji I believe is interested in that happening and that would be for flood mitigation purposes,” he said.

“But in addition to that it would open the river up for commercial and pleasure craft that currently can not enter the river because it’s too shallow.”

Jack McCarthy said it would be two years before mining would get underway after the project is approved.

Sand mining in Fiji promises environmental and economy benefits

Dateline Pacific | Radio New Zealand | 11 November 2016

An Australian mining company is dismissing concerns about its proposal to mine sand along the Sigatoka River in Fiji.

Dome Gold Mines says it’s waiting for the government to approve a mining lease for the Ironsands Project.

Concerns have been raised about the effect it could have on the environment and the nearby Sand Dunes National Park, which contains an important Lapita archaeological site.

But the company’s chief executive Jack McCarthy told Jo O’Brien that rather than causing harm, the project will bring economic and environmental benefits

JACK MCCARTHY: The sand deposits formed over thousands of years and one of the minerals it contains is magnetite which is used for iron ore production. But during the development of the project we realised that the river itself being so choked would benefit by being deepened and the Government of Fiji I believe is interested in that happening and that would be for flood mitigation purposes but in addition to that it would open the river up for commercial and pleasure craft that currently can not enter the river because it’s too shallow, and possibly open the river for the transport of goods from the Sigatoka River Valley. Our project would result in production of excess sand and excess gravel and magnetite as a concentrate, which is used in the steel-making process, and also a non-magnetic heavy mineral product which we would like to look to market. It would not involve the use of any chemicals. It’s basically a situation where you dig the material up using a dredge and that’s pumped through a processing plant and only is water is used in the processing plant.

JO O’BRIEN: What benefits would you see this project bringing for the local people and the local economy?

JMC: Aside from the things I mentioned with regard to the river, which would improve water quality and fish stocks there would be quite a number of jobs created locally, and clearly that would have a commercial impact in the local community and the local economy.

JOB: Would you have an idea of how many jobs?

JMC: About 100 permanent jobs created.

JOB: You mentioned water quality, there have been some concerns about the environmental impact of the project. Are there any issues there for people to be concerned about?

JMC: No I think the concerns are probably based on a lack of understanding. Our feedback with the community is that the river itself presents a danger to them for flooding. But no there wouldn’t be any negative environmental impact, if there is any environmental impact it’s going to be positive. I mean deepening the river provides a much larger volume of water in which fish stocks can live. It will improve the water quality itself in that tidal area because the water flow will be able to get in and out of the river more easily. It should improve and allow access to fishing.

JOB: And you mentioned the Sand Dunes National Park, there have been some fears about the impact it could have on that area, a heritage area. What’s your response to that?

JMC: There’s no impact whatsoever. The park boundary is well established. Our operations are well outside the park boundary.

JOB: So there’s no danger to the sand dunes or the archaeological site there?

JMC: No those dunes are not remotely connected to what we are trying to do.

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Concern over Fiji river mining

sigatoka-fiji

Felix Chaudhary | The Fiji Times | October 18, 2016

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.

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