Tag Archives: Mineral Resource Department

Goldmine tragedy in Fiji

An aerial view of the Vatukoula Gold Mine outside Tavua.

An aerial view of the Vatukoula Gold Mine outside Tavua. Picture: VGML

Repeka Nasiko | Fiji Times | 3 January, 2019

A 47-year-old Chinese national died instantly after rocks fell on his head at a Vatukoula Gold Mine Ltd shaft last weekend.

Police Intelligence and Investigation chief ACP Vakacegu Toduadua said the accident occurred at the mining company’s Dolphin Shaft early Saturday, December 29, 2018.

“A rock fell on the head of a 47-year-old Chinese national who died instantly at the scene while a second 48-year-old Chinese national received injuries,” he said.

“Both were taken to Lautoka Hospital. “A post-mortem (examination) of the deceased has been completed and we have yet to receive the report from the Mineral Resources Department mine inspectors to ascertain the negligence part of the management.”

Meanwhile, Mineral Resources Department acting director Apete Soro said their officials were alerted of the fatal accident last Saturday.

“The ministry through the Mineral Resources Department was informed around 1:15 am of the accident which occurred an hour earlier,” he said.

“A team from the department, which included the manager of the mining division who is a mine engineer and his assistant, were mobilised to Vatukoula the same night and confirmed upon arrival that one male fatality and another male was admitted to Tavua Hospital.

“The latter was later transferred to Lautoka Hospital, but has since been discharged.”

He said an investigation by the department was in progress.

“The team are currently undertaking preliminary investigation which will then lead to the Board of Inquiry under the discretion of the Director of Mines.”

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Fiji farmers’ claims of waste spillage refuted

Luke Rawalai | The Fiji Times | November 28, 2017

THE Mineral Resources Department has refuted claims by livestock farmers in Naibulu, Dreketi of bauxite waste water spillage.

Naibulu livestock farmer Deo Chand told this newspaper that livestock in the area had nowhere to drink since drains were flooded with excessive waste water from the mining site, which spilled into waterways. Mr Chand said livestock farmers normally relied on rainwater that filled the drains to quench their animals’ thirst.

“However, when it rains this becomes a problem because the water in these drains turn reddish and we believe this is water from the mine site’s collection pond,” he said.

Another livestock farmer, Anup Kumar, said they did not face the problem before mining started in the area.

Responding to these concerns, Mineral Resources Department director Raijeli Taga said in the last inspection report by the team, the runoffs from stockpiles and mining area had been taken care of.

Ms Taga said sediment traps had been installed to cater for runoffs.

“These are closely monitored by the mine manager and the inspection team to avoid stream sedimentation,” she said.

“The wet season is being accounted for in the monitoring plans because of the protection of the downstream communities’ livelihood, which also includes the ecosystem in the area of mining.

“Evidence received so far from the mine site manager has shown that such plans and management strategies and plans indicated that it is working, hence the need to continue to monitor for improvements.

“An inspection team sent out included a (Ministry of) Lands officer from our northern office and an officer from the Department of Environment.”

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Meeting to resolve Fiji row over mineral prospecting licence

namosi protest

Radio New Zealand

Fiji’s Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, has called an urgent meeting to resolve a row over a mineral prospecting license.

Namosi Joint Venture was awarded the license to search for minerals in the Namosi highlands, west of Suva.

Mr Bainimarama says he was told by the Minerals Resource Department that everyone had been consulted.

But a landowner in Waivaka Village, Pedro Leveni, told Bridget Grace they did not give approval.

PL: The Namosi Joint Venture is the join of three companies, two from Japan, Nittetsu Mining from Japan and Newcrest Mining from Australia joined together and they call themselves Namosi Joint Venture, that’s the company that is exploring minerals in our land.  They didn’t renew the SPL license in the last decade, and the last renewal is on the 15th of March this year and matagali, matagali is one of the land that is being targeted by this company, there is a lot of mineralisation in my land.  And seven matagalis discovered that this company has been destroying our environment, damaging our forest, and the flora and fauna, damaging it without good payment.  And that’s why we didn’t want to renew the SPL license.  At the end of the day what we have been understanding that, doing exploration for the last four decades, at the end of the day they will mine our land.  But we don’t want mining, that’s why we don’t want to renew the exploration license.

BG: Your village was consulted about the license and you said no?

PL: When the license expired in March 15th this year, the Minerals Department came around asking the landowners about their view, and seven matagalis that are involved in this exploration, the company’s targeting their land.  They don’t want, we don’t want the license to be renewed because of that reason, damaging the ecosystem, damaging the rivers, damaging the flora and fauna.  At the end of the day we are looking, at the end of the day exploration has been done where for the last four decades, we didn’t understand this company would mine our place, but Namosi is very small and we have heard from the geologists about the deposit underneath our land is the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere.  Compared to the deposit on the surface, they are totally different.  The mine on our land will be going nowhere and our land would be like a desert.  I think you’ve been seeing good vegetation of Fiji especially in Namosi, in the rainforest.  If they mine this place there will be a big pool of water with nothing growing.  And we are thinking of our future generations, where will they survive.  Because mining will just go on for 50, 60 years, after the mining what will our trees and deserts survive.  That’s why we do not renew this license.

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Fiji landowners have no say when it comes to mine exploration

MRD clarifies mine licence

Sikeli Qounadovu| The Fiji Times

THE Mineral Resources Department (MRD) says the consent of landowners is not needed for companies to obtain a mining exploration licence.

The MRD, however, states that landowners will need to be notified that exploration will be done to their land.

MRD official Isei Raiyawa made the clarification at a talanoa session with villagers in Namosi on Wednesday saying landowners’ consent will only be needed if a mining licence is applied for.

Mr Raiyawa was reacting to questions raised by Namosi villager Sipiriano Nariva on why when majority of landowners had agreed to the termination of the Special Prospecting License 1420 (SPL 1420) for the Namosi Joint Venture (NJV), Government still extended the licence for another five years.

“The mineral is owned by the State and consent from landowners is not needed when it comes to exploration. What should be done is they need to be notified, which we had done. This work being conducted by the NJV is still in its exploration stage and not mining.” Section 3 (1) of the Mining Act states that all minerals “shall be deemed always to have been, the property of the Crown (State).”

Furthermore section 26 (1) of the Mining Act states that the Director of the MRD has the prerogative to grant a prospecting licence over an area not exceeding 400 hectares.

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Fiji: Permit to mine

Timoci Vula | The Fiji Times

TWO companies are carrying out exploration works for potential mineral manganese ore.

In an Information Ministry statement issued yesterday, director Mineral Resources Department Malakai Finau said Viti Mining had been granted a permit to mine and had worked on its first shipment recently.

“Oak Mines is into advanced stages of exploration and had expressed interest to mine and are working towards lodging their application,” Mr Finau said.

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Fiji: Wainivesi Mine’s lease being assessed

Mineral Resources assures decision by month-end

Rachna Lal | Fiji Sun

Mineral Resources Department director, Malakai Finau, has confirmed the department is currently assessing the application for the mining lease extension for the Wainivesi Mine.

Wainivesi Mine’s mining lease expires at the end of July and Mr Finau has assured they would give the decision by the end of this month.
 Asia Pacific Resources Limited, owner of the Wainivesi Mine in Tailevu, are hopeful for a positive response soon.

Managing director, Matthew Huggan, said a positive response will open the door to further investment and the generation of significant wealth for the nation, the landowners and of course the investors.

“Our investors are comforted that the Fijian Government has never cancelled or failed to extend a Mining Lease when the holder has continued to invest on a consistent basis as we have,” he said.

“Furthermore, the Bainimarama Government has consistently been pro-investment and pro-wealth generation for the nation.
 “So our overseas investors feel confident that the lease will be extended and that we will be able to keep working and investing in the nation. ”
What makes the Wainivesi mine interesting is that it contains a range of minerals from gold, silver and copper to zinc and lead.

Assurance acknowledged

Mr Huggan said executives from Asia Pacific Resources who met with Mr Finau at the end of April were told the department was reviewing all necessary aspects.

“He acknowledged the huge amount of capital and the effort invested into the project by the company and assured that this would be taken into account,” Mr Huggan said.
 “He also assured our executives that Fiji remained a secure and worthwhile investment destination for mining and exploration capital.”

Investors worried

Asia Pacific Resources is privately funded company with local and foreign shareholders.
 Mr Huggan said “A number of our shareholders have investments in other projects and companies in Fiji and have long term confidence in the nation as well so this is good news.

However, in the current global investment environment, they are like everyone else and concerned about the safety of their money.

“They see the major risk to their investment in our company is that officials at the Mineral Resources Department do not extend our Mining Lease.
 “If the lease is not renewed, the investors are concerned they will have lost their investment of millions of dollars and that their other investments are similarly in jeopardy.
 “The company is just in the process of completing a $500,000 private placement and several major investors have said they would wait to see if the Mining Lease was extended before they invested any further.”

Mining progression

Meanwhile, the mine, after a set-back as a result of Cyclone Evan in December,is now back on track.
 Mr Huggan said they hope be processing concentrates in the next couple of weeks.

“Last week our ball mill was running and commissioned well.  Our crushing circuit was also commissioned well,” he said. 
“As we speak, the leaching circuits for copper are being commissioned.  And the leaching circuits for producing gold and silver circuit are set to be commissioned in the next fortnight. 
“Once this is completed, we will commission the final ball mill and be in production.”

Mr Huggan said for about six months, there would be a time of fixing and modifying the plant to make it run smoothly after which they would be producing at full capacity.

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