Analysis

Magma Mines Limited: How Landowners Gained

The dredging was exclusively carried out as an emergency flood mitigation exercise to protect/safeguard communities/villages from risks of flooding and protect the valley’s vegetable farmers.
25 Feb 2020 09:37
Magma Mines Limited: How Landowners Gained
People on a safari on the Sigatoka River.

When SODELPA Member of Parliament Viliame Gavoka tabled a petition in Parliament regarding supposed mining, it was not only poorly written, it was extremely misleading. It did not help when the petition was devoid of all and any facts.

It does not help when politicians either get emotional about issues or use Fijians to advance their own political agenda.

Opposition Member of Parliament Viliame Gavoka outside Parliament on February 19, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Opposition Member of Parliament Viliame Gavoka outside Parliament on February 19, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Misleading media:

The story accompanying the picture of the other newspaper do not match each other.

The article mentioned about the village “Nahingatoka Village” – this village is after the Sigatoka Town and nowhere close to the stockpile dumpsite picture shown on the front page.

The stockpile dumped is supposed to have come from the dredging exercise conducted at the Sigatoka river mouth and not from any mining site picture.

The necessary approvals to dump the dredged materials were obtained from the relevant land owning units [mataqali] on whose land the dumping was carried.

The Environment Impact Assessment approval was granted to the Department of Land and Water Resource Managements (LARWM) for the proposed Sigatoka River Dredging on July 16, 2013.

Sigatoka river dredging project was planned under Land and Water Resource Management Division then under Ministry of Agriculture in 2016.

Dredging:

The dredging was exclusively carried out as an emergency flood mitigation exercise to protect/safeguard communities/villages from risks of flooding and protect the valley’s vegetable farmers.

The valley is known as the ‘Salad bowl of Fiji’.

After the regulatory requirements were met with, (1) EIA approval from Department of Environment, (2) Waiver of Fishing Rights (3) Director of Lands Approval (4) Approval from Landowners for use of land to dump dredged material.

The Tender was advertised through the Fiji Procurement Office and the Government Tender Board approved ‘China Railway Company’ to undertake dredging project. Dredging works commenced in late 2016.

Dredged materials were dumped on approved dump sites through an EIA process and upon mataqali giving consent to dump on their land.

The Department, under the current Director and Permanent Secretary imposed a variation to the original EIA approval in September 18, 2018, required the Department of Waterways and the China Railway First Group Fiji Ltd to submit to the Department of Environment a rehabilitation plan for all sites impacted on from stockpiling and dredging related operations. The Department also required a monitoring committee to be set up.

The ‘Tui Madudu land owning unit’ will be clearing the dredged material [sand] which will be carted away and sold.

Once the sand is removed then rehabilitation will be carried out to fast track the rehabilitation of dumpsites.

Screenshot 2020-02-25 at 9.41.33 AM

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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