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Government stops company from extracting gravel in Navua

February 16, 2016 6:58 pm

The government has stopped All Earthworks Company from extracting gravel under the Namosi Development Corporation issued license from the Navua River with immediate effect.

The notice comes after Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama called together government stakeholders in a meeting on Monday.

Complaints have been raised with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama concerning the gravel extraction operations by All Earthworks Company.

The complaints involve the issue of the river becoming shallower upstream making it inaccessible for boats utilised as a mode of transport by villages and communities in the upper Navua River.

The river has also been diverted by the gravel extractor by constructing an access way in order to reach the opposite side to extract more gravel.

Villages and communities reported a depressed ecosystem resulting in depleted river food sources, such as fish, eels and mussels, as the extraction operations continued.

The license to extract gravel from the particular area of the Navua River was issued to the Namosi Development Cooperation but was being utilized by All Earthworks Company- this the government says is unethical and raises issues of legality.

Bainimarama has given a directive that the Lands Minsitry or the TLTB will only approve gravel extraction license after appropriate Environment Impact Assessments (EIA) are conducted.

The Prime Minister is emphasizing the need for Government officials to make timely decisions to ensure that in the future, exploitation of resources and communities in this manner are avoided.

The Fiji Police Force has also jumped on board to ensure that the directive to stop the gravel extraction operations is complied with.