14 Dec 2015

Fiji chief says bauxite mining hurting environment

9:05 am on 14 December 2015

A Fiji chief says the government is pushing companies to mine in the country, with little regard for the environmental impacts on people's land.

Bauxite at a factory in Guinea.

Photo: AFP

The Chinese company Aurum Exploration Limited recently completed mining at a site in Nawailevu, in the Bua province, and has commenced mining at two others sites in Fiji.

Bua chief Adi Filomena Tagivetaua was part of a team that undertook a survey in Nawailevu village in 2012 and says the Nawailevu Mining Project was a disaster.

"They usually fish prawns and eels from the nearby creeks near the village, they didn't want to do that anymore because the eels had turned a different colour so they were afraid to feed their families and there were places where they [usually] got their vegetables that grew wildly, they were not allowed to pass points there. They had soldiers standing there to keep them away."

Adi Filomena Tagivetaua says the government is doing nothing to protect people's land from companies that come in with a lot of money and promises.

She says landowners were blinded by cash payouts.

Bauxite mine opening in 2011

Bauxite mine opening in 2011 Photo: SUPPLIED / Fiji government

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