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Analysis: Alert Authorities Of Mining Issues, A Good Call From Minister Koya

Members of the public concerned about the environmental impact caused by mining in their community should alert relevant authorities. It’s fair to say that this call by the Minister for
11 Oct 2016 11:00
Analysis: Alert Authorities Of Mining Issues,  A Good Call From Minister Koya
Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, during his press conference Photo: KATHRIN KRISHNA

Members of the public concerned about the environmental impact caused by mining in their community should alert relevant authorities.

It’s fair to say that this call by the Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources, Faiyaz Koya, last week in Bua also applies to those mining projects in their ‘exploration’ stages.

This includes the Namosi Joint Venture (NJV) project.

Armed with a Special Prospecting Licence (SPL 1420) granted by the Government in 2008 which was renewed twice and later extended for another five years last year, NJV conducts exploration activities in the Namosi and Naitasiri Province – the licenced area.

According to the NJV website, exploration activities are focused on two ore bodies in the Waisoi area in Namosi which contain copper, gold, and molybdenum.

In addition, highly prospective locations to host copper and gold mineral deposits have been identified in the Waivaka Corridor and other areas.

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is currently in its final stage and expected to be finalised by year end.

The EIA assesses any potential social and environmental impacts of a mine in the area.

The NJV has emphasized that the project will not proceed if the Fijian government does NOT approve the EIA. They will not build the mine if it cannot be developed and operated economically and at an appropriate environmental, social and safety standard.

This is because Government ultimately decides whether mining will go ahead or not under section 30(1) of the 2013 Constitution.

Along with this, the NJV as part of its community capacity building, has chanelled at least $700,000 towards education assistance not only to the Tikina of Namosi, but the province and the vasu as well.

Community-based networks like the Tikina Namosi Landowners Committee (TNLC) play a vital role in amplifying environmental concerns from the 13 villages they represent.

According to chairman Josefa Rauto, TNLC over the past eight years has been given the mandate to be the voice of the landowners in the Tikina of Namosi and Waidina.

This is despite recent efforts to discredit their work. TNLC have been accused of causing disunity in the vanua amongst other things.

Some of the landowners involved in the TLNC have had their homes dismantled. Others have been threatened about having their homes relocated while some have had their lives threatened.

Interestingly, over the past year, a new body has been set up called the 1420 Committee.

There are questions as to what role this new committee plays, questions that only the founders of the committee can clarify.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

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