Luke Rawalai | Fiji Times | April 13, 2018
SASAKE villagers in Bua, including fishers in Dreketi have showed their concern on the spillage of wastewater from Naibulu bauxite mining site, claiming the spillage has grown worse.
The fishers said the discolouration of seawater during heavy downpour continued to happen in the area.
Sasake villager Viliame Bailato claimed fish population in the area had dwindled over the years, adding they were worried about its effect in the next few years if spillage continued.
“People rely on fish and other marine organisms such as crabs for their sustenance and also to earn a living,” he said.
On behalf of fishers in the Dreketi irrigation area, Ashnil Kumar claimed waterways in the area would turn dark red during heavy rain because of the spillage from the mine’s sediment pond.
Responding to these concerns, Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya said the ministry routinely and at times randomly carried out water sampling as they continued to monitor the mining operation and its commitment to environmental protection.
Mr Koya said past analytical results indicated that they conformed to the National Water Discharge Standards.
“Physical parameters such as total suspended solids (TSS) and total dissolved solids (TDS) were analysed to be also within the standard in the mine vicinity,” he said.
“However, water samples collected during periods of heavy rain indicates high TDS and TSS which is basically discolouration along the normal waterways draining the water catchments that includes Naibulu East mine.
“The ministry remains committed to continue with such monitoring and is not working in isolation as it encourages self-regulation by the mining companies, because it is in their best interest to follow best international practices and comply with the relevant laws,” said Mr Koya.