Tag Archives: Bua

Mine spill worry in Fiji

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 | 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.

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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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Fiji: State pleads with chiefs over Bauxite Mining


Luke Rawalai | The Fiji Times | October 10, 2016

CHIEFS in Bua have been advised to seek sound advice from Government departments and various organisations before entering into bauxite mining projects.

Speaking while officially opening the Bua Provincial Council meeting last week Ministry of iTaukei Affairs permanent secretary Naipote Katonitabua said chiefs needed to acquire the consent of mataqali members before entering into any contract.

He said chiefs needed to be mindful of the dialogue that needed to be undertaken with respective stakeholders.

Deliberating on their roles, Mr Katonitabua told chiefs that they needed to work closely with their respective provincial council offices.

Reflecting on the procedures, Mr Katonitabua said that they were put in place to ensure that natural resources were not overexploited.

He appealed to chiefs to conduct meetings and consultations with respective stakeholders before making any decisions on the mining of minerals such as bauxite or any projects affecting their natural resources.

He said chiefs and traditional leaders played an important role in setting out the proper platforms for talks to take place regarding matters affecting people under their leadership.

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No truth in youth claims, say Fiji’s lands ministry

xinfa bauxite bua

Bauxite mining in Bua

Luke Rawalai | The Fiji Times | September 6, 2016

THE Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources has refuted statements by the Bua Urban Youth that Government is undermining the iTaukei social structures to obtain the consent of landowners for bauxite mining.

The ministry’s deputy secretary, Malakai Nalawa  said that they had worked with the divisional commissioner, roko tui, relevant agencies, and three previous permanent secretaries, to conduct several meetings in the villages and districts of Bua before procuring landowners’ consent for mining activities on their land. 

Mr Nalawa said that there was no truth in the claim by the Bua Urban Youth (BUY) Network.

An earlier statement by the BUY said that Government needed to procure the consent of land owning unit and clans before making any decision to mine. 

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Fiji: Clan gives consent for mining


Serafina Silaitoga | The Fiji Times | June 04, 2016

ANOTHER landowning unit has given consent for bauxite mining in the district of Wainunu in Bua on Vanua Levu.

The mataqali Nabukuni of Nadua Village is the second to give consent while mataqali Navunivudivudi of the same village had last month agreed to mining activities.

A government team, chiefs and representatives from the company visited the village in Bua this week to discuss the issue.

Tui Wainunu Ratu Orisi Baleitavea said the team would visit every village in the district to seek their permission.

“This is actually our second round of visit to the villages. The first round of visit was done a few months ago where the team informed the villagers about details of bauxite mining,” Ratu Orisi said.

“We are doing this so the villagers can decide for themselves and the response has been positive so far.”

Ratu Orisi said basically, the district of Wainunu had agreed to bauxite mining.

“What we are doing now is completing our second round of consultation with villagers and raising awareness,” he said.

“We want them to fully understand the mining process and the employment opportunities it will provide and the rehab program too.”

At the village meetings, he said company officials spoke to villagers about the rehab program that would take place.

Company geologist and manager Isireli Dagaga also told villagers about the process of bauxite mining.

The team has also called on civil societies and groups that may find a problem with bauxite mining to contact them for further discussions.

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Fiji: Green light for mining, or just propaganda…?


Green light for mining

Serafina Silaitoga | The Fiji Times | May 20, 2016

A LANDOWNING unit in Wainunu, Bua on Vanua Levu has given consent for bauxite mining in the district.

Although the district meeting held at Daria Village this week did not identify the mataqali, Tui Wainunu Ratu Orisi Baleitavea confirmed that a landowning unit had given its approval.

In an interview with this newspaper, Ratu Orisi said the district development board had worked closely with the company to ensure landowners were well informed about bauxite mining issues.

“This is very important and we have had one landowning unit approve of mining in the district and the rest will follow suit,” he said.

“We have considered employment opportunities and a boost to income for our people so after awareness programs in villages and the visitation by chiefs, the landowners are coming forward.

“All we had to do was properly inform them and make them aware about the bauxite mining procedures and what it involves.”

At the district meeting, company representative and geologist, Isireli Dagaga told the villagers they had worked closely with government authorities and the provincial council in ensuring villagers of Wainunu were kept informed about bauxite mining.

Mr Dagaga, originally of Wainunu, assured the meeting of chiefs that he would never let anything affect his families and relatives in the district.

He questioned whether the civil societies and youth groups criticising bauxite mining had contacted the company seeking clarification.

He also said anyone with issues regarding bauxite mining or wanted to know more about it was to seek his assistance.

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Fiji: Green light for mine

Members of the Natural Resource Standing Committee from Parliament during their tour to the bauxite mines in Bua last year.

Members of the Natural Resource Standing Committee from Parliament during their tour to the bauxite mines in Bua last year.

Serafina Silatoga | Fiji Times, April 09, 2016

BAUXITE mining will go ahead in the district of Wainunu in Bua.

That has been confirmed by the Tui Wainunu Ratu Orisi Baleitavea who has headed a team of traditional leaders to consult villagers about the mining project.

“A lot has been said about bauxite and the lush vegetation of Wainunu and we admit it is all true, including the survey carried out by our children who hail from Bua,” Ratu Orisi said.

“But there remains a true fact that the people of Wainunu need some form of constant financial income.

“And mining is a project that will bring in a lot of income for the people of Wainunu as we all know the hardships we face financially.”

Ratu Orisi said Wainunu had survived on agriculture but people continued to be in financial needs.

“There are some successful farmers we have but there are other villagers who need assistance in earning a constant income.

“So bauxite mining and logging are two major capital projects in the district and logging started in 2014.

“The people that will benefit most from these major projects are our children because we have and will put aside money for their education.”

Ratu Orisi said the traditional leaders didn’t want their children to go through the life many of them lived.

“We didn’t complete our education, most of us dropped out at secondary and even primary school level and we struggled through life.

“We don’t want our children to go through that life. We want them to be successful people and the money earned from bauxite mining will help them achieve their educational needs.”

He added such projects would boost development in the district and improve the livelihoods of his people.

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