14 Dec 2015

Bauxite mining practices in Fiji criticised

2:00 pm on 14 December 2015

A Fiji chief says a Chinese company took hundreds of tonnes of soil away while mining for bauxite.

Bua chief Adi Filomena Tagivetaua says the Nawailevu Mining Project should never be repeated in any part of Fiji.

The Chinese company Aurum Exploration Limited recently completed mining at a site in Nawailevu, in the Bua province, which produced almost one million tonnes of bauxite.

The company has commenced mining at two others sites in Fiji.

Adi Filomena says a crude extraction process meant the company took more than just bauxite.

"The villagers told me that they had agreed that the people mine bauxite but later they realised that they were cutting soil onto the boats that sailed to China. There was no machinery in Nawailevu to refine, to take away the bauxite from the soil so they took the whole soil, tonnes and tonnes."

Adi Filomena Tagivetaua says villagers reported seeing fish turn a different colour while mining was going on, and that soldiers stopped them from gathering wild vegetables from areas near the mining site.

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Photo: AFP