29 May 2013

Fiji government to monitor seabed exploration

3:17 pm on 29 May 2013

The head of Fiji's Mineral Resources department says it will monitor the activities of three foreign mining companies, which have been granted licences to explore Fiji's seabed for minerals.

The department has given a total of 17 exploration licences to the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, Nautilus Minerals and Bluewater Minerals to carry out test drilling for minerals, such as gold, copper and zinc.

The Director of the Mineral Resources department, Malakai Finau, says the government will ensure the companies comply with its Environmental Management Act, which aims to protect the country's Exclusive Economic Zone.

"What we do is we identify the risks and then we require them to mitigate against environmental risks that we identify and that's one of the ways in which we protect the environment from potential environmental impacts of advanced exploration."

Malakai Finau says an advantage of granting the exploration licences is the government will get updated information on Fiji's seabed minerals.