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No Bauxite Shipment For The Time Being Says Jone Usamate

One of the problems they had in the past was like, initially bauxite from Indonesia was not exported to China and because of that lot of the small bauxite mine that Fiji had over in Bua, and there was a market for it.
15 Aug 2022 17:19
No Bauxite Shipment For The Time Being Says Jone Usamate
Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Jone Usamate

Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Jone Usamate says there has been no schedule for bauxite shipment yet. There hasn’t been a shipment from Nawailevu Jetty in Bua to China since 2019.

Aurum Exploration (Fiji) Limited began its operations in 2012. Mr Usamate said bauxite was an issue; whether people export or not, it depends on world market prices, supply and demand.

“Sometimes we can have the resources available here but if the price of bauxite goes down it affects the whole chain,” Mr Usamate said.

“Or in any case if there is over-supply because we are a small producer is something the buyer needs to look at.”

 

“We had COVID-19 in China. That means the things that you do such as manufacturing slows down a bit and so when all that happens it has an impact on whether it economically makes sense to send because the transportation cost from here to China is quite expensive.”

When that happens it also means the bauxite payment is also affected.

He explained that mining was like this. Sometimes when something is happening in the other part of the world, it impacts mining in Fiji.

One of the problems they had in the past was like, initially bauxite from Indonesia was not exported to China and because of that lot of the small bauxite mine that Fiji had over in Bua, and there was a market for it.

He said when Indonesia produces a lot to flood the market, it affects these kinds of mines.

 

Shipment Update Since 2012

China is the largest bauxite importing country in the world given its high demand for aluminium (final product derived from processing of bauxite).

From 2012 to 2018, Aurum Exploration (Fiji) Limited made a total of 26 shipments. Out of these 26 shipments, 22 shipments originated from Nawailevu bauxite mine in Bua and four from the Naibulu bauxite mine in Dreketi.

Mr Usamate said currently, they were just stockpiling waiting for the right time. Meanwhile, he confirmed that the landowners have received their allocated royalty. Royalty depends on the amount of bauxite being extracted.

Mr Usamate is hopeful that the company will start exporting again. He revealed there are some local companies that have expressed interest in bauxite mines.

He didn’t reveal names of the companies bearing in mind exploration was a very expensive and risky exercise.

“Lion One Pte LTD has already spent $145 million over 17 years and they have not made a cent,” he said.

“With mining you spend money up front, we need to have people that will invest in that hoping it one day leads to a big return.”

An email sent to Aurum Exploration (Fiji) Limited remains unanswered.

 

Feedback: shratikan@fijisun.com.fj



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