Business / Companies

Fijian benefits from China firm's bauxite mining

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-10-12 15:03

SUVA -- The Nawailevu landowners of Bua in Fiji's northern island will receive over 600,000 Fiji dollars ($340,000) next year in relation to bauxite mining after receiving their first lump sum payment from a Chinese company earlier this year.

Acting Permanent Secretary for Lands and Mineral Resources Tevita Boseiwaqa said Friday the landowning unit will be getting their payment according to their agreement with the Aurum Explorations of China.

The export of bauxite to China is expected to make Fiji at least $22 million a year and the head of the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources says other countries are showing interest in importing the mineral.

According to the ministry's Permanent Secretary Filimone Kau, the first shipment was being loaded and would carry about 60,000 tons of bauxite to China.

The contract with the Chinese company was for one million tons to be exported over the next two years, while other countries have made inquiries.

"Right now bauxite is limited as far as serious exploration and mining is concerned to China but there are other interests being expressed by Russia, some European countries, and some other countries in Asia," said Kau.

He said the challenge is to ensure that any exploration and mining work is carried out in a sustainable way, and is mindful of the environmental and social implications.

Earlier this year, local newspaper The Fiji Times reported that two more districts in the province of Bua had been identified for bauxite mining.

Commissioner Northern Lieutenant Colonel Ilai Moceica was quoted as saying the districts of Nasarawaqa and Wainunu in the north have been marked for mining operations.

"Nawailevu bauxite mining has a lease of 22 years with three years for mining activities and 17 years for rehabilitation work," Moceica said, adding, "We are also looking at Nasarawaqa and Wainunu districts for bauxite mining."

"When the mining companies bring in Chinese employees to work, the villagers will have the opportunity to sell root crops and other food items, so this is one way for the villagers to earn money," he added.

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