Tag Archives: Xinfa-Aurum bauxite mine

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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Fiji: Father’s Wedding Plans For Son Crushed

Waseroma Lava (right), and daughter, Asilika Fisher yesterday. Insert is the late Floyd William. Photo: Peni Drauna

Waseroma Lava (right), and daughter, Asilika Fisher yesterday. Insert is the late Floyd William. Photo: Peni Drauna

Peni Drauna | Fiji Sun | 25 May, 2016

A father’s big wedding plan was ruined after his 29-year-old son died at the bauxite mining site of Xinfa Aurum Exploration (Fiji) Limited at Matasawalevu in Dreketi last weekend.

Nabavatu villager Waseroma Lava in Dreketi said his son Floyd William was the eldest of six siblings and was supposed to get married in August.

“He was working as a supervisor for his company for two years,” the 49-year-old father said.

“On Saturday, an employee of his company came to us with a message stating that William was crushed by a conveyor belt carrying soil containing bauxite.”

He was rushed to the Dreketi Health Centre but was pronounced dead.

“I was in shock and till today I do not believe the details revealed by the company over the cause of his death.

“I do not demand for compensation.

“Instead, I am looking for truth and a valid explanation.

“William was a much disciplined man, kind and friendly.

“He was financially supporting our family since my wife and I are unemployed.

“He was a very talented rugby player who played for Labasa Army and warden team.”

When Fiji Sun contacted Xinfa Aurum Exploration (Fiji) limited managing director Sireli Dagaga yesterday he said he could not comment.

“The Fiji Police Force, Department of Mineral Resources and Department of Labour are carrying out their individual investigations,” Mr Dagaga said.

“During the incident there was no eye-witness and it would take us a while to comment.”

Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Semi Koroilavesau said his northern team was informed yesterday of the incident at Dreketi last weekend. The team was there now to conduct investigations on the site.

Meanwhile, Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said this case was a work related accident and investigation continues.

The post mortem of the victim is yet to be conducted.

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Fiji government earns a pittance from Bauxite mining

Mineral Resources director Malakai Finau makes a presentation. Picture: SOLOMONE RABULU

Mineral Resources director Malakai Finau makes a presentation. Picture: SOLOMONE RABULU

Bauxite Mining

Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari | The Fiji Times

GOVERNMENT has earned about $1.2million from about $40m that the Chiping Xinfa Huayu Alumina Co. Ltd receives from selling bauxite.

This is about three per cent of the total amount after tax, which is received through the Mineral Resources Department.

This amount is then shared between Government and landowners once a formula for a fair share is determined by the State.

Since mining began at Nawailevu in Bua two years ago, Mineral Resources Director Malakai Finau said, they received $1,229,994.48 from the company as of August 20 this year.

Mr Finau told the Standing Committee on Natural Resources yesterday that this was the provision of the Mining Act with regards to bauxite.

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In Nawailevu, as in other parts of Fiji, everybody wins except the poor land owners

Below we publish the reflections of Fiji Opposition Parliamentarian and Lawyer Mr Niko Nawaikula following a tour to mine affected communities. He found that multi million dollar mining and forestry projects are not really improving the livelihood of the Resource Owners of the Nawailevu. The people are still poor, although Bauxite Mining by Chinese company Xinfa Aurium continues. But if there is something that this project can be guaranteed to bring it is a degraded environment…

Niko Nawaikula Photos 2

Niko Nawaikula

A multi million dollar stockpile of bauxite exported and the land, on this side of Bua, stocked with miles and miles of ready to harvest pine but NawaNiko village struggles with basic living.

The equation simply does not add up. Something must be wrong somewhere. Someone has taken and used up all that money but it’s certainly not the landowner. 

The village looks the same as before the government and Xinfa entered to mine the bauxite.

According to the villagers the biggest amount they saw is the one written on a big cheque that now hangs prominently in the Turaga ni Yavusas home. 

The sum written is $ 577,000.00.

Niko Nawaikula Photos cheque

“It is big alright but did you actually receive that money in your hands”, I asked. They said no. They said the money is sent to their trustees who are some people they do not know. Some money has been brought and distributed, not much they said.

Niko Nawaikula Photos plantation 6

By any standard, if the bauxite extracted from their land is worth millions and if the million dollar operation of pine chips at Wairiki include pine from their land, then surely they must be well off?  We assessed their wealth by looking at the way they live and living standard. There is absolutely nothing there. 

The old wood and tin houses that were there before the project are still here.

With all those millions one would expect Nawailevu village to be looking like a five star resort with nicely planned and designer houses on landscaped settings. But no. The standard of living has not increased one bit. 

Today in his tin and iron house, the Turaga NI Yavusa, elderly and half deaf, sits patiently with his family over a simple meal of fish and Tavioka.

Come and eat he called out to us and we replied, ” thank you we have had lunch.” 

Then looking around and seeing no sign of change , I jokingly asked him, ” so where’s all the money gone?”. He looked down with eyes closed with both hands up shaking his head and both hands signalling, I don’t know.

In true iTaukei style , as we were about to leave, he looked around him for the best gift he has to offer us. And opening a chest he pulled out 4 nicely riped mangoes that we accepted with much thanks.

The fate of the villages of Nawailevu is no different from those at Nawaca, Nagadoa or any native fijian village . Everybody else wins and makes their money except the poor land and resource owner.

We need to rethink the way we do things. I tend to agree with a thought by J Baba that we need to empower them to take control of their own land and resource… Otherwise the new highway will be a means to take them quickly out of the villages to elsewhere where they can find meaning.

Niko Nawaikula Photos 3

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