28 May 2012

China to get first bauxite from Fiji and official says others interested

7:26 pm on 28 May 2012

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

Filimone Kau says the first shipment is being loaded now and will carry about 60,000 tonnes of bauxite to China.

The contract with the Chinese company is for one million tonnes to be exported over the next two years and Mr Kau says other countries have made inquiries.

"Right now bauxite is limited in 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."

Filimone Kau says 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.