SUNBIZ

New $16m Quarry To Employ More Fijians

A $16 million stone crushing quarry, one of the country’s largest, is set to be opened in Dawasamu, Tailevu, by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama on July 28. It is owned
07 Jul 2016 14:44
New $16m Quarry To Employ More Fijians
The site for the new stone crushing quarry in Dawasamu, Tailevu which is expected to open on July 28. Photo: GOLD ROCK INVESTMENT LIMITED

A $16 million stone crushing quarry, one of the country’s largest, is set to be opened in Dawasamu, Tailevu, by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama on July 28.

It is owned by locally-based company, Gold Rock Investment Limited, and it will employ more than 40 people when it becomes fully operational. So far more than 30 people are working on site preparing for the opening.

Company managing director Hui Shun revealed that their new venture had the potential  to rake in a projected revenue of $50million to $60million annually.

The project was initiated in March last year where they bought and installed a stone crushing plant from a renowned company in Finland.

Mr Hui said their annual production could reach up to 600,000 cubic metres with fully specific aggregate necessary in different construction for roads, airports, wharves and buildings.

Construction work was delayed after Tropical Cyclone Winston in February and other tropical depressions that followed.

The company also provided relief assistance of over $10,000 to the nearby villages after TC Winston.

 

Background

Mr Hui, an investor originally from Hong Kong, is now a Fijian citizen and has been here for over 14 years.

He was initially involved in seafood exports, in particular beche-de-mer (sea cucumber) to several Pacific island countries.

“I’ve got markets for beche-de-mer trade in Fiji and the South Pacific and I got more than 70 per cent of the market,” he said.

The company based in Vatuwaqa, Suva, decided to diversify into the gravel extraction industry because of  beche-de-mer trade had dropped.

“I’ve got other companies in New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna, and factories in Tuvalu and Kiribati,” he said.

Mr Hui said the ‘good people’ was what attracted him to move here.

“I love Fiji. I stayed in most Pacific Island countries and Fiji is the best,” he said.

 

Benefits for locals

The project will also see more locals being employed. Currently, the company employs over 35 locals from nearby settlements and villages at the production site and plans to train and employ more later.

The land on which the quarry site sits is also leased and the landowners will receive royalty payments of $6.64 per cubic metre of gravel extracted in addition to the lease money and employment opportunities.

Company engineer Niko Buke Waqadau said the actual running of the crusher would be done by specialists from China who were experts in the operations of the machinery.

“Most of the equipment are imported from China but is a Finland brand,” he said.

Mr Waqadau revealed that they were looking at acquiring about 219 acres of freehold land mainly to stock material produced from the quarry.

“We need to get these materials out where it is accessible to our clients,” he said.

The company will also consider exporting to other Pacific island nations. He said the quarry had the capacity to move to the export market as well.

 

Environmental impact

Mr Waqadau said they had engaged with several consultants including a geologist and an environmental consultant to ensure safe and quality practices.

“We still awaiting approval from the landowners to blast the mountain because of the environment in terms of the rivers and creeks.

“We’re also looking at the rising sea level and climate change and sea water protection, so we’re looking at that as an alternative,” he said.

Mr Waqadau said they employed a geologist to test rocks at the quarry and also at potential sites such as Wainadoi to meet specific requirements from roads.

He said the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA, which had been approved by the director of environment, would specify their extraction practices and rehabilitation after extraction.

“There is a committee from the landowners, they will also be watching us in our extraction and act as a watchdog,” he said.

The company has also purchased various heavy duty auxiliary equipment such as generators, excavators and loaders to ensure smooth production.

Feedback:  filipe.naigulevu@fijisun.com.fj

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