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Fiji Time: 11:22 PM on Monday 1 September

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Bauxite stockpile concern

Luke Rawalai
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A GROUP of villagers in the district of Navakasiga in Bua have again expressed concerns over the bauxite stockpile that lay exposed at the Xinfa Aurum Exploration (Fiji Ltd) jetty area.

The concern was highlighted in an earlier interview with Navakasiga district representative Salacieli Tuala who said they were earlier promised by the company that a shelter would be built over the stockpile area to contain the dust. He said this was done during the consultation period with the company executives.

But Mr Tuala said to this day, nothing had been done and the bauxite stockpile remained exposed.

Divisional environment officer North Senimili Nakora said they would meet with the company executives to discuss the concern raised by villagers.

"We do not carry out the assessment reports but it is done by an independent body as stipulated under the Environment Management Act 2005," Ms Nakora said. "This is another issue we will be discussing with the company and other flaws that have been identified during the last governmental head of department tour of the Bua, Macuata marine zones," she said.

Bauxite mine manager Basilio Vanuaca said the stockpile area was enclosed.

"People should understand that the soil containing the bauxite, which is being extracted at Nawailevu is not loose or dry to give it a dusty nature," Mr Vanuaca said.

"It is heavy and sticky and there is no need to worry about the dust, which builds up as claimed by villagers," he said.

"The nature of the soil is the reason that we have been scraping it from our trucks and ship during loading process.

"On the issue of the proper enclosure of the extraction area, I think what people mean is to have a big warehouse type of structure to contain the whole stockpile area, which is impossible since the area we are talking about is massive," he added.


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