Misinformation on Gravel extraction a concern

July 11, 2024 6:27 am

[File Photo]

There is a lot of misinformation prevalent about the classification of gravel extraction as an illegal activity, which is concerning.

The Permanent Secretary of Environment, Dr. Sivendra Michael, echoed these sentiments while responding to questions posed to him regarding the “illegal gravel extraction” activities taking place in Navua after concerns were raised by community members.

Dr. Michael says the gravel extraction in the Navua River is an authorized extraction activity that is done through an approved license issued through the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources.

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“These activities being classified as illegal is not right. The ministry does its checks and balances for the Ministry of Environment in particular. We do our environmental impact assessment screening. This particular case for any extraction activities like this, it went through the ministry.”

Dr. Michael says that an environmental management plan was approved for the activity, and mitigation measures were highlighted. Subsequently, joint inspections with the Ministry of Lands were conducted.

He adds that joint inspections are conducted, and this has been happening continuously.

The Environment Ministry has had multiple conversations with the extraction companies when the community flagged environmental concerns.

Minister for Mineral Resources, Filimoni Vosarogo

Meanwhile, the Minister for Mineral Resources, Filimoni Vosarogo, states that after the parliament session this week, he will be meeting to discuss these issues.

“They actually have a license, but I think it is just the manner and timing in which they conduct their work that seems to be in conflict with the times that are used by tourists that go up the Navua river After this parliament session, we will sit together with the ministry of environment, officials, and the company just to make sure that we can have a comprehensive knowledge of what the issues are.”

Vosarogo highlights that, as the issuing authority, they will be investigating these concerns.

He says that they will also try to identify if there have been any actual breaches that have happened because if there are, they will take action.

However, at the moment, the lands ministry will be investigating the complaints as the issuing authority for such a license.

The relevant ministries have assured that they will be meeting with the appropriate stakeholders in due time to discuss the issues and concerns regarding this particular extraction.