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Mt Kasi: Mining, Quarrying Council Discuss Delays, Concerns

The Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation hopes one of its members wins the bid to mine Mt Kasi, said chief executive officer, Kameli Batiweti. His comments yesterday followed the Mining
24 Nov 2020 10:00
Mt Kasi: Mining, Quarrying Council Discuss Delays, Concerns
From left, iTaukei Affairs representatives, Cema Rokomatu and Josua Waqanivalu, during the Mining and Quarrying Council meeting in Suva. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation hopes one of its members wins the bid to mine Mt Kasi, said chief executive officer, Kameli Batiweti.

His comments yesterday followed the Mining and Quarrying Council monthly meeting in Suva, which was attended by Namosi Joint Venture and Newcrest, Lion One, Emperor Gold Mines and Viti Mining.

Mr Batiweti said he hoped a matured Fijian business won the bid for their track record in contributing to economic and socio development.

“We want people who understand the Fijian culture,” he said.

The council anticipates the announcement of the Mt Kasi tender “very soon”, Mr Batiweti said.

The tender closed in recent months, with an announcement expected by Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources, Jone Usamate this month over the successful bidder.

 

Difference
The Mining and Quarrying Council meeting also discussed concerns that emanated out of distinguishing mineral exploration from mining, he said.

The council, chaired by Nateva Bakaniceva of Newcrest with his vice chairman Harvie Probert who joined via Zoom from Australia, discussed delays associated with misunderstandings.

“Some authorities’ mix quarrying and mining with exploration work,” Mr Batiweti said.

“We’re going to address it with the respective authorities.”

“In exploration, there is no need for an environment impact assessment report.”

“There is, however, a collaboration between the exploration company and the stakeholders.”

Mr Batiweti said a parliamentary bill on climate change is out for review among members of FCEF.

Discussions are expected to follow with the Ministry of Economy over the impact the bill will have on the nature of doing business.

Mr Batiweti said discussions with the ministry were expected to be held before December 19.

 

Specialised skill
Mr Batiweti said the local mining industry would continue to include expatriates for specialised work.

“We are working with the Fiji National University on the long journey to addressing the shortage in local labour for mining.”

“It will be a thing of the past in time.”

Mr Batiweti said Fiji had only one specialised drilling expert in mining.

“We need to start investing in these areas, although the danger would be by way of poaching,”
he said.

“Until then, we will continue to bring in expats.”

 

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj


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