Lands Ministry cracks down on illegal extraction

April 11, 2024 6:33 am

The Ministry of Lands is taking a tougher stance on illegal gravel and sand extraction, collaborating with the Solicitor General’s Office and the Fiji Police Force to review penalties for the offense.

This move comes amid growing concerns about the environmental impact of these activities.

Currently, the iTaukei Land Trust Gravel Regulation 1998 prescribes a maximum penalty of $400 or six months imprisonment, or both, for those who breach the regulations.

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Permanent Secretary Raijeli Taga says they are working with relevant stakeholders to strengthen processes to combat illegal gravel and sand extraction.

“The Ministry works with provincial offices, where the community teams they go and inform the land owners that they have also a duty to inform, report and also not engage in the illegal activities of extracting gravel.”

Taga adds the review will also address the issue of landowners breaching the law.

“For gravel and sand extraction, the legal authority that issues the license in the director of lands, legally the ownership of those resources rests with the director of lands so we are working with the Solicitor general Office and the Fiji Police Force in reviewing the penalties that we issue including landowners that breach those laws.”

Taga says they are committed to protecting its environment and ensuring sustainable practices in gravel and sand extraction.