Business

Bauxite mining boosts Bua

By JOELENE TUIMOALA Aurum Explorations Fiji Limited’s salary wage bill for its 163 workers annually is $864,000. And 99 per cent of the workers are from the province of Bua
10 Oct 2012 08:38

A total of 163 workers will benefit from the Aurum Explrations Fiji Limited in Bua with a total of $864,000 to pay the workers alone. Photo: JOELENE TUIMOALA

By JOELENE TUIMOALA

Aurum Explorations Fiji Limited’s salary wage bill for its 163 workers annually is $864,000.
And 99 per cent of the workers are from the province of Bua which means that the majority of the amount is used to boost economic activity in the province.
Nawailevu mine manager Basilio Vanuaca told Fiji Sun the company had a lot to offer the people of Bua in terms of lifting their livelihood.
He said they had a two-year licence for mining and 20 years for rehabilitation works.
The company, under its contract, was allowed to mine one million tonnes of bauxite ore to be transported to China for processing.
“The processing of bauxite consumes a lot of electricity and this is why we’re sending it to China. We cannot process bauxite in Fiji because there’s not enough power to do the processing,” Mr Vanuaca said.
Mr Vanuaca said with the machines they had, they could mine one million tonnes of bauxite ore within 11 months but they were spreading to two years for the benefit of the local people.
He said the company had already paid out $2.5 million to the landowners.
Mr Vanuaca said the three clans whose land had been leased out to the company – mataqali Naicobo, Noro and Nalutu had formed their own investment companies for their own benefit.
The mataqali Naicobo, Mr Vanuaca said, they had bought two vehicles and the company was hiring them to transport workers.
“We’re paying the mataqali $4000 a month for the hire,” Mr Vanuca said.
Mataqali Naicobo adviser and North Development Programme manager, Waisale Tuidama said as a spin-off from what the mataqali was getting from the bauxite company, they had now formed a company called the Naicobo Investment Limited.
“We have registered the company and we have board meetings every month in Labasa,” Mr Tuidama said.
He said they had already purchased two vehicles and they were planning to build dormitories for the workers closer to the mine.

Nawailevu mine manager, Basilio Vanuaca. Photo: JOELENE TUIMOALA

The company he said prioritised education for members of the mataqali.
The chairman of the Bua Provincial Council, Alipate Radrodro, commended the work of the bauxite company especially in the employment of the people of Bua.
He said nearby villages had benefitted from the spin-offs from work carried out by the company and some were supplying food to the company.
“They’re supplying vegetables, root crops and fish to the company and the people are paid and had used the money for their own benefit,” Mr Radrodro said.
Commenting on reports of the polluted fishing ground, Mr Radrodro said this was not true because during their visit to the jetty they saw no sign of any pollution.
In fact he said from the report they gathered, there were more fish found including sea crabs.




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