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Minister clarifies bauxite mining site rehab works

December 8, 2014 4:06 am

Rehabilitation works by Aurum Exploration Fiji Limited at the Nawailevu Bauxite Mining site in Vanua Levu is being carried out as recommended in the Environmental Impact Assessment report.

This was confirmed by Lands Minister Mere Vuniwaqa in the Parliament today after a question was posed by the opposition bench on what rehabilitation programs are in place for the Mining Site in Nawailevu Bua.

Vuniwaqa says the objective of the EIA report is productive capacity, meaning the mined area must have the capacity to nature and grow pines as pine was planted their prior to mining.

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She says Aurum Exploration is already planting legumes, water melons and vegetables on the mined out site.

“On the Fiji Pine Limited recommendation that the mined out area would need 30, 000 pine plants to cover the mined out area – to that effect the company is currently nurturing these pine seedlings and the government also holds a $1b bond to make sure that the company carries out its rehabilitation works in accordance with the EIA report.”

Vuniwaqa also clarified reports about the high volume of soil being taken away from Fiji from the mining site.

“The reason why the soil has been removed from the first mine is because the content of bauxite in that particular soil is very high. In relation to the second mine – they have already got a lease for that – the company will actually purify the soil here in Fiji at the site – just because the bauxite content for that mine is much lower. It doesn’t make sense for the company to take that soil and pay the cartage for it to China. I know that in the media it is sounding like there is a conspiracy to carry soil out of Fiji and that’s the intent but the fact is scientifically and also if the honorable member could go and check on Google – this is how it happens.”

The Minister also clarified that the company holds a 20 year lease on the mining land and if the re-planted pine matures to harvest in between that time… it will belong to the company.

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