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.