THE Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources has received proposals from companies to start black sand mining operations.
Lands and Mineral Resources permanent secretary Filimone Kau said some places on Viti Levu had been identified as possible areas for black sand mining.
In an interview with The Fiji Times, Mr Kau said the ministry had received a proposal for a mining lease from a company for black sand mining in the Ba River delta.
"We have also received proposals for black sand mining in the Navitilevu Bay in Rakiraki and the Sigatoka River delta," he said.
"The ministry has also received a proposal from a company for manganese mining in the highlands of Navosa."
Mr Kau said the proposals were from foreign investors and the ministry was hopeful things would get going by late 2013 or early 2014.
He said the ministry was in the process of issuing leases for black sand mining in the Ba River delta and for manganese mining in Nasaucoko.
According to the Wikipedia, black sands are used by miners and prospectors to indicate the presence of a placer formation. It said placer mining activities produce a concentrate that is composed mainly of black sand.
The www.hookedongold.com website said black sand contains hematite, magnetite, iron, iron pyrite, silvanites, lead carbonates, sphalerite, chromite and sheelite to name the most common.
The Wikipedia says that several gemstones such as garnet, topaz, ruby, sapphire and diamond are found in placers and in the course of placer mining.