11 Dec 2012

Fiji landowners believe environmental effects of mine could be devastating

3:04 pm on 11 December 2012

The chairman of the Tikina Namosi Landowners Committee says it has faith in the Fiji interim government's role in monitoring the Namosi joint venture mine project, near Suva.

But Joe Waqavatu also says many landowners believe if the land is given away to be mined for copper and gold, the environmental effects will be devastating.

In September, the interim government allowed the Namosi joint venture to recommence prospecting and exploration studies, months after the regime leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama halted work when environmental concerns were raised by landowners.

Mr Waqavatu says the government has addressed issues of concern as far as instructing the foreign companies behind the project to complete a rehabilitation programme, but he says it only covers a third of the affected area.

He says areas have been dumped with rubbish and toxic waste, while they have also seen landslides, diversion of waterways and culling of trees as a result of exploratory work.