Fiji's Namosi mine backers still working through issues
The director of Fiji's Mineral Resources Department, Malakai Finau, says good progress is being made on the proposed copper and gold-mine near Suva despite some ongoing issues between landowners and the company.
The director of Fiji's Mineral Resources Department, Malakai Finau, says good progress is being made on the proposed copper and gold-mine near Suva, despite some ongoing issues between landowners and the company.
The Namosi Joint Venture is a partnership between the Australian mining company Newcrest and Japanese interests and has been held up at various states due to environmental concerns.
Mr Finau told Bridget Tunnicliffe aspects of the Environment Impact Assessment are on hold.
MALAKAI FINAU: The project is progressing. The Namosi Joint Venture has concentrated its work on exploration on exploration in the Waivaka Corridor of the Namosi area. Work on the Environmental Impact Assessment is in progress. Certain aspects are on hold, only certain aspects. But overall, the Environmental Impact Assessment is a work in progress. The company has conducted some studies there relating to the overall impact assessment.
BRIDGET TUNNICLIFFE: Those certain aspects of the EIA that are on hold, what are they related to?
MF: Oh, these refer to the meetings and consultations with stakeholders on the EIA. It doesn't only cover fieldwork, but there are meetings, consultations to be done, as well. So I'm referring to those aspects of the EIA.
BT: Are you facing some problems with the landowners?
MF: Not problems, but they bring up issues, you know, from time to time regarding their observations of the current work. And the company also brings up issues, as well as the monitoring team of the department. But these are issues that are brought up for discussion. We have a committee that meets regularly to discuss issues which arise.
BT: So the main issue of contention, is that really to do with how this project is going to impact on the environment? Is that where the difference of opinion comes in?
MF: Well, that's a concern It's not only a concern for the government. It's a concern by the landowners and it's a concern by the companies, as well, in terms of the environmental impact. But the company is also progressing with their rehabilitation work for areas which needed rehabilitation. And the company has been very good with its rehabilitation efforts. So it's a continuation of exploration and rehabilitation at this point in time.
BT: When are you hoping that the EIA will be completed?
MF: Hopefully soon. Given that there was a delay, I think we were expecting the EIA to be completed at the end of this year, but I think this has been delayed. The company is pushing on with its efforts in completing the Environmental Impact Assessment.
BT: If various stakeholders don't agree with the results of the impact assessment, will the venture still go ahead?
MF: Well, the government is clear on its position. If the EIA is not satisfactory, then I know the project will have some problems going forward.
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