Tag Archives: Namosi

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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Newcrest refutes Fiji pit claim

A drill pad site. Photo: Namosi Joint Venture

A drill pad site. Photo: Namosi Joint Venture

Luke Rawalai | The Fiji Times | March 2, 2017

NEWCREST Exploration Fiji Ltd says it has no plans for a third mine pit for the Namosi Joint Venture.

This is after claims by the Tikina Namosi Landowners Committee (TNLC) that it had evidence to indicate that the NJV had plans for a third mine pit at Waivaka West in Namosi.

Committee chairperson Josefa Tauleka said they were hoping to sit with government officials to discuss the effects of extensive mining on the fragile ecosystem in the Namosi highlands.

Mr Tauleka said they had been studying the company’s exploration developments in the highlands for the past eight years and gathered evidence that the company intended to have a third mining pit at Waivaka West, which is a major water source on Viti Levu.

“In a letter to Natural Resources Standing Committee chairman Joeli Cawaki, the TNLC expressed its concerns on the effect of spillage to the neighbouring provinces of Serua, Naitasiri, Rewa and Tailevu,” he said.

Newcrest Exploration Fiji Ltd country manager Greg Morris said the company had no intention of mining a third pit.

He said they had continuously updated landowners on the progress of the project and “listen to their issues and concerns”.

“NJV has not yet applied for a mining licence. Neither does it have plans for a third pit as suggested by the TNLC.”

Newcrest Ltd has 71 per cent shares in the venture.

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Row Flares Again Over Namosi Exploration

TNCL chairman Josefa Tauleka with children of Namosi village who were also part of the meeting yesterday. Photo: Lusiana Tuimaisala

TNCL chairman Josefa Tauleka with children of Namosi village who were also part of the meeting yesterday. Photo: Lusiana Tuimaisala

Maika Bolatiki and Lusiana Tuimaisala | Fiji Sun | February 26, 2017

The Tikina Namosi Landowners Committee (TNLC) will seek a meeting with  Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to discuss its concerns about the mineral explorations in Namosi.

At a TNLC meeting at Namosi village yesterday, members unanimously opposed exploration currently carried out by the Namosi Joint Venture (NJV) on environmental grounds.

TNLC chairperson Josefa Tauleka said that they were against exploration since it started in Namosi because they felt it would destroy their natural resources.

He said that no one seemed to listen to them and that was why they wanted to meet with Mr Bainimarama.

“We have a caring Prime Minister and we know he will listen to us,” he said.

“We already had made a presentation to the Prime Minister in 2012  but we really want to meet him again to brief him of the current developments.”

Mr Tauleka said they fully supported the Prime Minister’s green economy policy because it was in line with what TNLC believed.

“We also support him as chair of COP 23.”

NJV is currently exploring minerals in the province and has been granted a licence, SPL 1420 till 2020.

Mr Tauleka claimed mining would be next.

He alleged that according to the company’s Mining Plan there would be two mining pits but from information they had gathered there would be a third pit at Waivaka West. The company, he alleged, had opted for open pit and not underground mining.

The NJV has strongly refuted claims by the TNLC of its plan to have a third pit.

“NJV has no plans for a third pit as suggested by the TNLC, “ Greg Morris the Newcrest Mining Limited Country Manager Fiji said.

He said they had not applied for a mining licence.

The company, he said, had been given an exploration licence only and that was what they were doing.

NJV made a presentation to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mineral Resources chaired by Joeli Cawaki on the progress of their exploration.

Meanwhile, Mr Morris said the company provided a briefing to the Parliamentary Natural Resources Standing Committee on the progress of the NJV Waisoi project Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA).

The ESIA is yet to be completed but it will discuss the potential impact and the proposed management measures in accordance with the term of Reference issued by the Department of Environment.

He said the NJV had been continuously meeting with the landowners over the past to update them on the  project and listen to their issues and concern.

See also: Tikina Namosi Landowners respond to NJV mining claims

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Tikina Namosi Landowners respond to NJV mining claims

A drill pad site. Photo: Namosi Joint Venture

Namosi Joint Venture exploration drill site

Tikina Namosi Landowners respond to the Chairman of the Fijian Parliamentary Select Committee on Natural Resource in relation to Namosi Joint Venture Director Mr Greg Morris’ claims on his presentation to the Standing Committee…

“Warm Greetings Mr Cawaki,

“At the outset, I wish to congratulate you on the tremendous work you are doing in assisting the Fijian People in these times.

“Vinaka saka vakalevu.

“I read with dismay the presentation given by Mr. Greg Morris yesterday as part of their presentation to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Natural Resources

“I write as Chairman of the Tikina Namosi Landowners Committee TNLC, wishing to highlight some of the issues needed also to be raised by Namosi Joint Venture NJV on but failed to do so. These are most important to us Fijian as we live in a very small island state called Fiji and wishing to commence with a massive open cut copper and Gold Mine very similar to OK Tedi in PNG. NJV has been smiling when it is explaining the economic benefit to the Country and not the Shareholders who will get more and the employing of 2000 people as part of its workforce, although I wish to highlight some of the issues from the Landowners perspectives and these are:

  1. Has NJV highlighted the environmental damages it has caused to our land the last 10 years of exploration in Namosi?
  2. Has NJV mentioned the vast area covered which if you look at the mine plan, anyone would be quick to establish that to have the first pit with a size of 180 rugby field and with 2 pits you will know that there will be migration of people;
  3. Has NJV mentioned of a third pit which is not mentioned in the Mine plan although we understand its where its gold deposit are concentrated,
  4. Has NJV mentioned that to show the third Pit, Government will automatically disallow the Mine License,
  5. Has NJV mentioned of a cost benefit analysis after mining has finished.
  6. Who pays for these costs?
  7. Is it sustainable to have a massive copper/gold mine in the smallest province in Fiji;
  8. In terms of migration, where will our people settled,,,,,,, Serua?
  9. What happen to the Heritage Act, the Museum Act, the Archeological and Paleontologist Act.- How can they identify with us?
  10. What’s the use of the Baseline Studies and where is the report now?
  11. What happens to provinces such as Serua, Naitasiri, Rewa and Tailevu if spillages does occur?
  12. Who will pay for the social implication after mining?
  13. What is the use of taking the lead in Climate Change stance as part of the COP 21, 22 and our taking Chairmanship in COP 23?
  14. When our ecosystem is damaged, who will feed us when all living organism are dead through chemical use,
  15. Has NJV mentioned that the Suva/Nausori populations are drinking from the Waimanu River that flows from Wainivalelevu from Namosi?
  16. How does the LOU benefit from this mine?
  17. How sustainable is the waste storage DAM or Tailing Dam. Who pays for the spillage downstream if an Earthquake or any disastrous weather phenomenon does occur?

“Sir the list goes on and on. The money is good for the Country on a short term benefit but the damage caused cannot be put the pristine environment back again. It will whisper to your ear and say…..moce qi sa la.

“As members of the Fiji First Party and government, we understand that we are following government road map to sustainable development and to have a project that is unsustainable will be against your road map.

“We need fresh air, fresh water, fresh crops and vegetation for our survival, so to mine Namosi is taking away what the almighty has given us to enjoy.

“I hope the TNLC’s humble plea will be taken on board and that serious and honest consideration in that Namosi should not be mined as it will cause more to the people and government after mining has taken place.

“What we do in our lives will determined our destiny to the next life whether it be good or bad, we will answer to the almighty or how justifiable we are.

“Vinaka saka vakalevu.

Josefa Rauto Waqavatu Tauleka

Chairman TNLC

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Economic benefits promised if Namosi Joint Venture operations begin

A drill pad site. Photo: Namosi Joint Venture

A drill pad site.

By Semi Turaga | Fiji Village |  16/02/2017

736 full time positions are expected to be created every year if the Namosi Joint Venture gets a mining license and starts mining operations.

This was revealed by the Project Manager of Namosi Joint Venture Greg Morris in a presentation to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources.

Morris says the figures are based on a study about the economic benefits of the project which was done by a specialist consultant.

He also highlighted in the presentation that they expect a peak of 2,000 employees in the fourth year of the operation.

Morris says they also expect to generate $343 million in Gross Domestic Product per annum on average when the operation starts.

The Namosi Joint Venture was established in 2008 for the exploration and development of mineral resources in the Namosi area.

They currently have an exploration license.

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Govt consultations on experimental seabed mining have failed

resource roulette

Ropate Valemei | The Fiji Times | June 09, 2016

DESPITE Government’s claim that the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources had conducted wide consultations with key stakeholders to formulate a Draft Policy on Deep Sea Mining (DSM), the Government consultations have not included a broad cross section of Fijian civil society, the public, or indigenous and/or coastal communities.

This was revealed in a report by Blue Ocean Law and the Pacific Network on Globalisation on how deep sea mining and inadequate regulatory frameworks imperil the Pacific and its people, which was released early this week.

The report notes that Fiji’s Department of Environment (DOE) estimates that only about 40 per cent of educated people may be aware of DSM, and that coastal users and outlying communities are largely ignorant of what is happening with respect to DSM prospecting; the DOE reiterates the need for comprehensive consultations and awareness raising.

It further states that one commentator notes that the iTaukei Affairs Board, the TLTB, and the provincial and tikina councils — institutions mandated by statute to deliberate and make recommendations on developmental and other issues that impact the welfare, wellbeing, and good governance of the iTaukei or the indigenous peoples of Fiji — have not been seriously consulted regarding the development of a DSM framework.

With respect to the 2013 mining decree, it adds the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources reportedly organised a review of the law but did not include landowners or significant civil society organisations representation in its consultations and would have proceeded with finalising the law if not for an online petition protesting the lack of consultation.

Other consultations organised by the MRD in the past have been called off on short notice.

In a report staff at the Department of Mineral Resources recognises the need to both consult with and obtain consent from landowners and those communities located closest to potential DSM sites, but whether this will actually be done in the event of actual DSM remains to be seen.

“Awareness of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) throughout indigenous and local communities in Fiji is limited, and it appears that the government does not require FPIC from operators in its existing onshore mines.”

In existing cases involving terrestrial mining, it says there has been no FPIC, and even meaningful consultation is often lacking.

For instance, the mineral prospecting that has been going on in Namosi for more than 40 years, involving more than 15 companies, many landowners have repeatedly expressed opposition to mining, withholding their consent.

“Instead of heeding these clear expressions, mining companies have approached chiefs of local villages, who are not landowners, and paid them, or in some cases directly employed them, in order to gain their consent to mining on what, essentially, is not their land.”

In the case of the Bua bauxite mine, it states the agreement with the community was signed and negotiated by a third party hired by the Government, without any legal advice provided to the community; benefits from this mine are restricted to a small number of individual landowners, while the larger community receives nothing, a situation bound to create conflict as the whole community suffers the environmental impacts of the mine.

The report further note that the Tikina Namosi Landowner Committee (TNLC) notes that bribes occur at multiple stages of the process, from the local level up the ministerial chain; the putative “consent” obtained from individuals who have been paid by mining companies, in addition to being illegal under Fiji’s Constitution, does not equate to the FPIC of indigenous peoples or landowners.

In some cases, government officials have advised that 100 per cent of landowners surveyed expressed support for mining in Namosi; however, a survey conducted by the TNLC revealed that more than 90 per cent of the community (around 984 surveyed individuals and landowners) actually opposed prospecting.

Although the landowner system does necessitate more extensive consultation measures than other jurisdictions, the report notes that obtaining legitimate FPIC in Fiji is challenging.

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Fiji landowner bemoans lack of mining consultation

A drill pad site. Photo: Namosi Joint Venture

A Namosi drill pad site

Radio New Zealand

A landowner in Fiji’s Namosi region says their views were barely taken into account in the decision to renew a controversial mining exploration permit.

The Minerals Department this week granted a five year extenstion to the Namosi Joint Venture to search for minerals in the Namosi highlands, west of Suva.

Affected landowners complained in October that they had not given their approval and were opposed to the licence, saying the venture had caused serious environmental damage.

The prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, called an urgent meeting between the government, the venture and landowners to resolve the dispute.

But one of the landowners, Pedro Leveni from Waivaka village, says the consultation was superficial and it appears the government had already made up its mind.

“This meeting, the government just came to seek clarification, eh? They just want to hear the landowners view regarding the renewal of the SPL. But they’ve already renewed the SPL. It’s like fooling around the landowners.”

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