SUNBIZ

Namosi Mine Camp To Close

Namosi Joint Venture will close its fly-camp at Waikatama next month, in a move that some landowners have welcomed. But some landowners also want their Waisoi land returned, where Namosi Joint Venture has established its base camp. A letter from Namosi Joint Venture to the Director of Mineral Resources said an exit strategy for Wainikatama camp was in order.
23 Feb 2022 12:00
Namosi Mine Camp To Close
Waisoi base camp at Namosi, where Namosi Joint Venture operates and Nabukebuke landowner representative, Petero Saunivalu, in Suva, on February 22, 2022.

Namosi Joint Venture will close its fly-camp at Waikatama next month, in a move that some landowners have welcomed.

But some landowners also want their Waisoi land returned, where Namosi Joint Venture has established its base camp.

A letter from Namosi Joint Venture to the Director of Mineral Resources said an exit strategy for Wainikatama camp was in order.

 

Signed by Namosi Joint Venture country manager, Netava Bakaniceva, the letter said the move to close camp followed the completion of all exploration works and studies in the Wainikatama corridor.

The camp will close on March 1, 2022, with dismantling work expected to commence.

 

Rehabilitate Land
The company will remove all equipment from the site, and rehabilitate the land, the letter said.

“The work will take approximately three months to complete,” Mr Bakaniceva said in the letter.

“The camp site falls within mataqali Nabukebuke of Namosi Village, and a landowner representative will be required on site.”

 

The letter was dated February 15, 2022.

Yesterday, Mr Bakaniceva said he was not ready to comment.

Namosi Joint Venture said it would now focus on Waisoi valley, where the company has a camp site.

Mineral Resources director, Raymond Mohammed, did not respond to SunBiz queries.

 

Non Negotiable
On February 11,. 2022, landowner representative, Petero Saunivalu, went up to the Wainikatama site, to ask the company to vacate, Mr Saunivalu said.

“A few days later (February 15, 2022) they issued a letter notifying stakeholders of the exit strategy,” Mr Saunivalu said.

“We maintain our earlier stance – we do not want any mining acitivity or mineral exploration activity on our land.

 

“This is non-negotiable.”

“We want Namosi preserved for the sustenance of its people, and its future generations.”

“Nothing will change our mind.”

 

Mr Saunivalu said a 2020 market report by New Crest Mining revealed that Namosi had the prospects of mining up to 4.6 million ounces of gold.

“That figure does not include copper and other minerals found in the area,” he said.

 

Mining Act
The Mining Act stipulates that the minister responsible may, by order, prohibit or restrict prospecting for any specified mineral throughout the whole or any specified part of Fiji.

The minister may by a subsequent order, grant the exclusive right to prospect for any mineral so specified to such person.

The same Act also stipulates that the director may declare Government protection areas and grant mining tenements and declare any area, not exceeding 250 hectares in extent in any instance, to be a Government protection area.

According to the Act which is under review, “No person shall prospect or mine in a Government protection area without the consent of the director.”

 

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj



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