Tag Archives: Xinfa Aurum Exploration Fiji

Fiji villagers claim mine spill destroying fishing grounds

Shalend Prasad points at a water outlet from the bauxite mine alleged by members of the public to be waste water from sediment ponds within the mine. Picture: LUKE RAWALAI

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.

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Bauxite mining causes heated debate in Bua

xinfa bauxite bua

Bua Concerns Cleared By Mining Firm

Josaia Ralago | Fiji Sun | 7 October 2016

The issue of bauxite mining raised many unasked questions among representatives causing a heated discussion during the Bua Provincial Meeting in Nabouwalu yesterday.

Xinfa Aurum Exploration Limited representative Isireli Dagaga clarified to the mata-ni-tikina (district representatives) present that there were many false and fabricated information being passed around about the detrimental impacts of bauxite mining on the environment.

“There have been concerns raised that it increases the rate of landslides, damages the marine ecosystem, even soil being taken overseas and issues of deforestation. But I want to tell you today that these issues are not true and we ensure that the environment condition is reinstated after our works,” Mr Dagaga said.

“Bauxite is an element in the soil and we only excavate four metres – to a maximum of six metres which rarely happens – of the top soil.

“I want to assure members of this meeting that soil is not being taken but only the bauxite as it will be a waste of boat space if we were to take soil.  The material is also observed in laboratories to ensure that it is bauxite before shipment.

“There are also sediment pools after the processing to filter the water before it is released into the sea.

“The top soil removed is replaced and trees replanted to prevent landslides.”

Galoa Island villager Suliasi Saraqio said this was not true as the sediments during the mining in Votua were usually piled in the Lekutu River which they used for travelling purposes.

“The water colour was different and the sediments made the river mouth shallow creating difficulty for us when we travel. But now after the mining, the situation is improving,” Mr Saraqio said.

Bua chief Ra Makutu Nagagavoka said the process that Mr Dagaga talked about – especially the inclusion of a sediment pond – was not carried out during the mining in Nawailevu, Bua.

Ra Makutu said part of the concern was on why this processes were not carried out in Bua and only when they moved to other areas for excavation.

He said in his opinion, it would be better if arable lands were not excavated and tree-felling exercises carried out just for excavation purposes as forest resources were far better if preserved.

Mr Dagaga announced that they had given out $4 million to landowners in Bua who had their lands mined for bauxite.

“This includes Nawailevu, Votua and Wainunu,” Mr Dagaga said.

“This amount has been given out to the Land Bank and iTaukei Land Trust Board.”

Ra Makutu questioned as to how fair these allocations were as they could only guess the total amount of money the company got compared to the ones these individuals received.

He said if they claimed to be fair then they should distribute a just share of the income they received from the excavation to the landowners.

Meanwhile, Xinfa Aurum Explorations is currently working on a site in Dreketi in Macuata.

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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 ministry probes death

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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: Bauxite exports halted


Joanne Vaetiti | Fiji Times

THE global recession has continued to affect bauxite export with no shipments departing from our shores since last year.

XINFA Aurum Exploration (Fiji) Ltd yesterday confirmed the drop in global demand had continued to affect export.

Company executive Derek Qiu said they hoped to begin exporting this year though he could not confirm a date.

The company only exported two shipments last year.

Mr Qiu said China was the biggest buyer of bauxite.

“Because of the global economy recession, the bauxite mining demand went down,” he said.

Mr Qiu added mining works was still in progress despite the low demand from the market.

Despite the global effect, Mr Qiu added the company focused on its rehabilitation work in Nawailevu, Bua.

He added they had planted 50,000 pine trees so far in the area, and were nursing 150,000 seedlings.

Fiji has exported $48million worth of bauxite so far from the shores of Bua.

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Fiji Opposition questions Nawailevu mining quotos

Timoci Vula | The Fiji Times

THERE is no quota on the amount of ore that can be extracted by the bauxite mining company at Nawailevu in Bua, or any other mining company for that matter.

And as Lands and Mineral Resources Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa explained in Parliament yesterday, when mining leases are given, it does not impose a quota.

She added she did not know of any other jurisdiction that imposed a quota on the extraction of ore.

She made these comments in response to questions raised by Opposition member Mosese Bulitavu.

Mr Bulitavu questioned the approved quantity of bauxite ore Aurum Exploration (Fiji) Ltd was allowed to extract; the total anticipated dollar value and the payments to landowners.

While she noted the cost per tonne of bauxite extracted was at $US80 ($F162) per tonne, Mrs Vuniwaqa said the total anticipated value was yet to be determined as they awaited a confirmed amount from the pre-mining estimate carried out prior to mining.

“The ministry and the company are currently working together to reach the amount as close as possible of the real amount of extraction of bauxite that was done.”

“So at this date, there is no firm conclusion to that study,” Ms Vuniwaqa said.

“Once that study has been carried out properly, the company and Government will be looking at tally records done throughout the extraction to determine this amount. It is only then that we can state for certain what the value was.”

Mr Bulitavu posed a supplementary question where he quoted a third party figure from Customs of 1,287,843.7 tonnes of soil and rock being extracted and shipped out of Fiji as opposed to the maximum one million tonnes allowed under the memorandum of lease.

Ms Vuniwaqa said the amount in the lease were anticipated amounts, estimates made prior to the starting of the lease.

“Just to rationalise the question madam Speaker, how can we tell how much ore is in the ground. The lease was signed prior to the mining and anticipated estimate is in that agreement.

“Government and the company, with the landowners, who are part of the tally team, they are working together now to establish as closely as possible the exact amount that was extracted.”

On the question of royalty payments, Ms Vuniwaqa said of the three royalties payable to landowners – rock, soil and ore – Government had paid landowners rock royalty.

For the soil royalty, she said, Government, Aurum Exploration and the landowners were working to establish, as closely as possible, the amount of bauxite, out of which that calculation would also throw out the amount of soil that is with the bauxite.

She said once that was determined, the soil royalty could then be calculated.

“The third royalty is the ore royalty. This is a new inclusion in Section 30 of the Constitution. Under Section 30, Government is now mandated to give a fair share of that royalty to landowners and Government will do that.

“At the moment, those royalties payable are being held in trust by the Mineral Resources department. The landowners will be consulted together with all Fijians, public consultations will be carried out before we reach a formula on what a fair share is.”

Ms Vuniwaqa said payments yet to be accessed by the landowners would be the Future Generation Fund and royalties in relation to the extraction.

“There are certain issues in relation to the setting up of trust funds in the relevant mataqali – relevant trustee issues which we are currently working through with the trustees to sort that out before the mataqali will be able to access those funds.

In November last year, Aurum Exploration shipped 1.2 million tonnes of bauxite to China.

  • For the Nawailevu south mine – extraction has finished and the mine is going through a rehabilitation program;
  • The premium and the rent payable to date for the surface lease have been paid;
  • The access to the mining site and the camp site – lease and premium have been paid;
  • The quarry and stockpile site – lease and premium have been paid;
  • Fishing rights compensation for the jetty has been paid;
  • Rock royalty to the mataqali Nalutu has been paid.
  • Nawailevu South Mine – Presently undergoing operations;
  • Premium and rent payable to date have been paid; and
  • Access lease and rent payable to date have been paid.

[Source: Mereseini Vuniwaqa, Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources]

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