Tag Archives: Xinfa-Aurum bauxite mine

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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$1.61M paid to 4 landowning units in Nawailevu village in premium and rental returns – Koya

Minister for Land and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya

Iva Danford | Fiji Village | 16 March 2018

A total of $1.61 million has been paid out to the four landowning units in Nawailevu village in Vanua Levu in premium and rental returns.

This was highlighted by the Minister for Land and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya who says that the Mataqali, Nalutu received $85,893.45 in rock royalty payments.

Koya says that 11 Yavusa’s in the Districts of Lekutu and Navakasiga in Bua have received fishing rights compensation amounting to $275,000.

He says the other benefits enjoyed by the landowners are the trucks purchased from the lease money that have been used for business purposes like transportation of staff, school children and other mataqali needs.

Koya says that the Mataqali Naicobo purchased a 3-tonne carrier to transport workers, school children and attended to other mataqali commitments.

He says that the Mataqali Nalutu has utilized their lease monies for housing purposes, purchase of fishing gear to assist them with their small business operations.

While responding to Koya’s statement, SODELPA MP Josefa Dulakiverata says that the mining company in Nawailevu should not have been given new exploration and mining license until rehabilitation process in Nawailevu has finished.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources says that government cannot influence the utilization of revenues received and the landowners are at liberty to utilize their funds how they want to, as the choice rests solely on the landowners. 

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Drilling programs to increase mining activity in Fiji

Aqela Susu | The Fiji Times | March 14, 2018

Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya says five extensive drilling programs have been proposed by local mining companies which will increase exploration activities.

In his ministerial statement to Parliament on Monday, Mr Koya confirmed the five companies are Thunderstruck Company in Serua, Vatukoula Gold Mines Ltd in Vatukoula, Dome Mines on Ono Island in Kadavu, Kalo Exploration in Cirianiu and Matai Holdings Ltd at Udu Point on Vanua Levu.

“The Vatukoula Gold Mines Limited (VGML), our major gold-mining company, will continue to undertake mining exploration activities to ensure minable resources are available for its mining operation,” he said.

“The iron sand mining project for Ba delta is at its development state as the tenement holder Amex Resources Limited is currently developing its loading port facility in Lautoka at a total investment of $30 million (USD).

“Lion One Limited, as the holder of Tuvatu Mining lease, is also at its developing stages with late 2018 as a proposed date of production. The company is focusing on stabilising the site to set up its mine mill and is working with the ministry as well as other respective stakeholders to ensure mining commences as agreed.”

Mr Koya said the bauxite mining in the Northern Division was progressing well and in a sustainable fashion.

He also confirmed that mining operations at Nawailevu on Vanua Levu have ceased because of the exhaustion of bauxite ore on site.

“This mining licence to XINFA Aurum is currently under rehabilitation and is monitored by the ministry on a monthly basis.”

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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: Probe over mine death continues

Serafina Silaitoga | The Fiji Times | June 03, 2016

THE Ministry of Labour has not completed its investigations into the death of 29-year-old Floyd Williams at the bauxite mine last month.

Minister for Labour Semi Koroilavesau said he would not comment on the investigations.

“I will not make any comments on the OHS coverage for mines until we have finalised our preliminary investigation report,” Mr Koroilavesau said.

“As for the workers compensation, the Labasa team is currently liaising with the employer to provide more documents in relation to wages records and awaiting the conclusion of traditional rites before taking down the statements of the dependents for the deceased.”

Mr Koroilavesau said last month the ministry did not monitor the occupational health and safety standard issues at all mining sites.

“The Health and Safety at Work Act 1996 applies to all workplaces, except those workplaces connected with the Mining Act, Quarries Act, Explosives Act and Petroleum (Exploration and Exploitation) Act. Therefore, the National OHS Service does not monitor the OHS standard at all mining sites, as these are exempted from the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work Act.”

Police said Mr Williams was trapped and crushed on the conveyor belt carrying soil to the bauxite dryer separator at Dreketi.

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Fiji: Youth call for tighter mine monitoring

xinfa bauxite bua

Serafina Silaitoga | The Fiji Times | May 27, 2016

THE Bua Urban Youth Network has called on Government to tighten monitoring process of the bauxite mine.

In a press release, the organisation believes the task of monitoring rehabilitation works at the Nawailevu mine site should have been given to the Department of Environment.

“Bua Urban Youth Network is calling on government agencies responsible to vigorously monitor safety, environmental and social impacts and immediately take mitigating action to address loopholes,” the release said.

“A critical part of this monitoring should have been played by the Nawailevu community, but their effective inclusion has consistently been undermined since 2011,” the release said.

“They did not give their free, prior and informed consent to the initiative in the first place and this affected their ability to effectively monitor their environment throughout the mining period.”

The release added the tragic accident in which a worker died at the bauxite mine should not have happened.

Minister for Labour Semi Koroilavesau said a team was investigating the incident.

“The accident has been brought to the attention of our Labasa office on (23/05/16) and our officers have already been deployed to carry out investigations into the accident,” he said.

“If a non-compliance issue is identified, various mechanisms such as verbal advise, formal correspondence and issuing of relevant notices, are used to ensure that workplaces meet the minimum OHS standards.”

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Fiji ministry probes death

xinfa bauxite bua

Serafina Silaitoga and Luke Rawalai | The Fiji Times | May 26, 2016

THE Ministry of Labour does not monitor the occupational health and safety standard issues at all mining sites.

Minister for Labour Semi Koroilavesau confirmed this yesterday as he responded to questions from this newspaper following the death of 29-year-old Floyd Williams at the bauxite mining site in Bua last Saturday.

“The ministry is not aware of any safety concerns raised by the workers in the mines as this area is not regulated by our ministry,” Mr Koroilavesau said.

“The Health and Safety at Work Act 1996 applies to all workplaces except those workplaces connected with the Mining Act, Quarries Act, Explosives Act and Petroleum (Exploration and Exploitation) Act.

“Therefore, the National OHS Service does not monitor the OHS standard at all mining sites, as these are exempted from the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work Act.”

But Mr Koroilavesau assured that investigations had started into the incident in Bua.

“The accident has been brought to the attention of our Labasa office and our officers have already been deployed to carry out investigations into the accident.

“If a non-compliance issue is identified, various mechanisms such as verbal advice, formal correspondence and issuing of relevant notices, are used to ensure that workplaces meet the minimum OHS standards.

“If an offence is committed against the Health and Safety at Work Act 1996, maximum fines of up to $100,000 in the case of a corporation or $10,000 in any other case, are imposed.”

Mr Koroilavesau said in cases of a serious offence being committed, legal proceedings were instituted against the person committing the offence.

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