Tag Archives: Bua Bauxite mine

Taga: Volatile nature of mining impacts bauxite

The number of bauxite export cannot be estimated for 2017 because of volatile nature of the mining business, says director Mineral Development Dr Raijeli Taga. Picture: Luke Rawalai

Serafina Silaitoga | The Fiji Times | May 17, 2017

Director Mineral Development Dr Raijeli Taga said this resulted in one shipment being sent so far this year to China.

This, she said, was sent in March.

Despite this situation, Dr Taga said XINFA Aurum Exploration Fiji Ltd would continue with its mining operation to stockpile for later export when the commodity price improved.

“The number of bauxite export cannot be estimated for 2017 due to volatile nature of the mining business,” she said.

“Further exports will be purely a business decision of the tenement holder which will depend on the market price in terms of profitability and sustainability of their operations.

“If the export price is not feasible then the tenement holder would continue with the mining activity and export when the price is right.”

For last year, Dr Taga said the export declined because of low commodity price in China who was the primary buyers of Fijian bauxite.

“Since the bauxite from Fiji is not of premium grade, it has to compete with bauxite from countries such as Australia, Mongolia and Indonesia which are of superior grade,” she said.

“According to the quarter one update of 2017 from the Bauxite Index, the Chinese domestic alumina prices have fallen from recent highs in January, as supply was ramped up to take advantage of the higher prices.

“Subsequently, it assumed that the bauxite export would be very similar to 2016 unless the price improves.”

However, announcements, she said indicated that bauxite import would remain weak as China had suspended spot import for three months because of ample cheaper DOM (Days on Market) supply.

She said Beijing also announced plans for winter cuts

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Easter and the environment

Namosi exploration

Archbishop Peter Loy Chong | The Fiji Times | April 14, 2017

Peace — Shalom! (May you have fullness of life). Peace is the first word uttered by Jesus to his disciples after he rose from the dead. Jesus greets the disciples who were still traumatised by his humiliating and brutal death.

Easter celebrates the most important event of the Christian tradition, namely the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, the writings of the New Testament have no record of Jesus’ actual rising from the tomb. Instead it only has accounts of the appearances of Jesus to the disciples. This means that the disciples’ knowledge and experience of the Risen Jesus was given to them. In other words revelation is a gift from God. Therefore, to understand what happened on that original Easter and to reinterpret its meaning for Fiji today we turn to the disciples’ experiences of the risen Jesus.

The Easter-experience took place in the context of Jewish peoples’ suffering and hope for liberation. Ever since the Babylonian exile around 587BC, the Jews have always looked forward to their liberation when God will send a messiah. One of the earliest records of Easter is found in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (1Cor.15:3-5); “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” The New Testament Easter narratives taken as a whole hold the following structure:

  • Jesus revealed God to the disciples,
  • The disciples had to overcome a certain doubt or disbelief,
  • The Risen Lord charged them with a mission.

Easter began with an experience. Jesus’ life, teachings, miracles, suffering and death gave new meaning and purpose to the disciples. They experienced liberation, truth and hope. In other words they came to know Jesus as the Christ, the anointed one, the messiah. In Jesus they found the truth that was worth living and dying for. Easter and Jesus’ resurrection is not only about the dead body of Jesus coming back to life, rather it was more about how the spirit and life of Jesus lifted up the lives of believers. Easter charged them with a mission for the whole world. This is the Easter Good News.

What is the Easter mission for Fijian Christians? In this reflection I want to focus on our Easter mission in the context of climate change and caring for our environment or in the word’s of Pope Francis I, Our Common Home.

Today the message regarding the vulnerability and destruction of our common home, the earth, has been made clear. Pope Francis’ letter addressed to all the peoples of the world, “Laudato Si: Encyclical Letter on Care for our Common Home” states that the earth, our sister, now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.” (Laudato Si no.2) He adds that “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” (Laudato Si’no. 66) Human beings are responsible for the cry of the earth, our sister and mother.

Pope Francis raises important questions that challenge our Easter mission to protect and raise our fallen home and all that live in it.

  • “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?”
  • “This question does not have to do with the environment alone and in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal.”
  • This leads us to ask ourselves about the meaning of existence and its values as the basis of social life: “What is the purpose of our life in this world? What is the goal of our work and all our efforts? What need does the earth have of us?”
  • “Unless we struggle with these deeper questions I do not believe that our concern for ecology will produce significant results.”

Last week I came to know of a quarry operating near Natadradave, Dawasamu that intends to crush all the stones and rocks it can find in the river alongside the village and sell the crushed stones locally and overseas. They have carried out an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and hence given a licence to operate a quarry. I am deeply concerned how the extraction of stones from the river will affect the environment in the nearby villages of Natadadrave and Delakado. What impact will it have on the fishes, prawns and other creatures that depend on the river including human beings? What will happen if there is heavy rain and flooding?

The people of Natadradave are not the only victims of some so-called development projects. We already have bauxite mining in Bua. There is mining interest in Wainunu, Bua. A mining company has been carrying intensive mining explorations in Namosi for the last 40 years. Some reliable sources state that their licence for Deep Sea Mining in Fiji’s ocean has been issued. Along with the extractive industries we have to take into account the logging industry and any industry that exploits our natural resources. All these projects carried out in the name of development must be evaluated and questioned in regard to social and ecological justice. How do they develop and protect human beings, creatures and the environment?

Easter brings the message of hope to the Jews and early Christians who have been oppressed for years. Easter message therefore speaks against the destruction of peoples, the environment and the planet. May the Easter services and prayers give us the strength to follow the Risen Lord courageously in his suffering, death and resurrection. Alleluia!

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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 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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Bauxite mining causes heated debate in Bua

xinfa bauxite bua

Bua Concerns Cleared By Mining Firm

Josaia Ralago | Fiji Sun | 7 October 2016

The issue of bauxite mining raised many unasked questions among representatives causing a heated discussion during the Bua Provincial Meeting in Nabouwalu yesterday.

Xinfa Aurum Exploration Limited representative Isireli Dagaga clarified to the mata-ni-tikina (district representatives) present that there were many false and fabricated information being passed around about the detrimental impacts of bauxite mining on the environment.

“There have been concerns raised that it increases the rate of landslides, damages the marine ecosystem, even soil being taken overseas and issues of deforestation. But I want to tell you today that these issues are not true and we ensure that the environment condition is reinstated after our works,” Mr Dagaga said.

“Bauxite is an element in the soil and we only excavate four metres – to a maximum of six metres which rarely happens – of the top soil.

“I want to assure members of this meeting that soil is not being taken but only the bauxite as it will be a waste of boat space if we were to take soil.  The material is also observed in laboratories to ensure that it is bauxite before shipment.

“There are also sediment pools after the processing to filter the water before it is released into the sea.

“The top soil removed is replaced and trees replanted to prevent landslides.”

Galoa Island villager Suliasi Saraqio said this was not true as the sediments during the mining in Votua were usually piled in the Lekutu River which they used for travelling purposes.

“The water colour was different and the sediments made the river mouth shallow creating difficulty for us when we travel. But now after the mining, the situation is improving,” Mr Saraqio said.

Bua chief Ra Makutu Nagagavoka said the process that Mr Dagaga talked about – especially the inclusion of a sediment pond – was not carried out during the mining in Nawailevu, Bua.

Ra Makutu said part of the concern was on why this processes were not carried out in Bua and only when they moved to other areas for excavation.

He said in his opinion, it would be better if arable lands were not excavated and tree-felling exercises carried out just for excavation purposes as forest resources were far better if preserved.

Mr Dagaga announced that they had given out $4 million to landowners in Bua who had their lands mined for bauxite.

“This includes Nawailevu, Votua and Wainunu,” Mr Dagaga said.

“This amount has been given out to the Land Bank and iTaukei Land Trust Board.”

Ra Makutu questioned as to how fair these allocations were as they could only guess the total amount of money the company got compared to the ones these individuals received.

He said if they claimed to be fair then they should distribute a just share of the income they received from the excavation to the landowners.

Meanwhile, Xinfa Aurum Explorations is currently working on a site in Dreketi in Macuata.

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Fiji Minister tells of negative mining effects

xinfa bauxite bua

Luke Rawalai | The Fiji Times | September 12, 2016

OUTGOING Lands Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa says bauxite mining had negative impacts on natural ecosystems because of failure in monitoring systems.

Speaking during an interview, Mrs Vuniwaqa said negative impacts of bauxite mining included dust emissions and the dirtying of waterways, which needed to be strictly monitored by the Mineral Resources Department.

Mrs Vuniwaqa said since bauxite mining was new the ministry initially found it hard to monitor mining works, adding that it was better with it now.

“It has been a learning project and we have learnt very fast in bauxite mining because of the objections to it,” she said. “The company mining bauxite at the initial site in Bua is now replanting trees after mining, which is part of their licensing conditions. They need to fulfil it before they leave the country.”

Mrs Vuniwaqa said mining at the first site had been completed adding that the mining company had a 20-year lease over the land.

“They mined for seven to eight years and if you go there now you will find it green,” she said. “As per the conditions of the licences they plant things that were there before they began mining and the idea now is to plant pine.”

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Fiji: Law sets ground for mining consent

nickel mine

Luke Rawalai | The Fiji Times | September 8, 2016

THE Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources will only seek the 60 per cent consensus from landowning units (mataqali) for the mining of minerals as required of them by law.

Responding to concerns raised by the Bua Urban Youth (BUY) network on the non-involvement of yavusa (clans) for the procurement of such consensus, the ministry’s deputy secretary Malakai Nalawa said the law was silent on the involvement of clans in the gathering of consensus.

Mr Nalawa said they were obliged by law to approach the mataqali rather than the whole yavusa to obtain 60 per cent consent from its registered members in the Vola ni Kawa Bula (VKB).

“iTaukei land, on which bauxite development is undertaken in Bua, is owned by individual mataqali which constitute the yavusa,” he said.

“However, the respective clan heads are also consulted for their support, in their capacity as the chief, to reinforce the consent of the landowning unit, which are components of their clans.

“Consent of the yavusa will only be sought if in the event the land is owned by the yavusa.”

Mr Nalawa said this meant that the land was owned by all the mataqali registered under that yavusa and therefore 60 per cent consent of the total members of all the mataqali registered under that yavusa, would be required to be procured.

“We, as a Government agency, will always respect our iTaukei institution as it is mandated by law to do so,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a statement BUY said all the appropriate approach to obtaining consent involved consulting everyone who would be impacted including clans who were part of the iTaukei social structure.

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