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Stop order issues for river gravel extraction

June 5, 2017 5:51 pm

The Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources has issued a stop work order on the extraction of river gravel undertaken by licensees, Zhaorufu and Suliasi Dolesau in Waibau, Naitasiri.

The stop order was issued after identification of illegal extraction, a breach of conditions of their iTaukei Lands Trust Board license for extraction of gravel from the surface of iTaukei land and not river gravel.

License for extracting of river gravel is the legal responsibility of the Department for Lands; and this illegal activity was directed by the ministerial taskforce assigned to monitor the extraction activities.

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The illegal operation was continuing without the proper license and breached conditions of the approved Environment Impact Assessment, whereby crushers and screens are not to be in the water.

However during inspection time, reports indicated that the crusher was in the river – posing threats of contamination through fuel leakages.

In addition, the illegal operation disregarded several conditions including; personnel not adhering to occupational health and safety requirements, absence of a Quarryman during crushing, inadequate monthly tally record report submission of extracted volumes to the Department for proper calculation of royalties to State, unwillingness to oblige for remediation on possibility of riverine damage or sedimentation, and prohibition of public access on six metre reserve which should always remain for public use.

The operators will have to await the outcome of their license application submitted to the Department of Lands while in the meantime, the Mineral Resources Department will continue to vigilantly monitor their operation to ensure compliance as well as to make necessary changes to their quarry set up, the permit of which the Mineral Resources Department did not issue.

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