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Fiji Time: 11:31 AM on Wednesday 17 September

/ Front page / Business

150K pine damage

Felix Chaudhary
Saturday, December 29, 2012

THE Fiji Pine Group of Companies is working round-the-clock to ensure production at the Drasa factory resumes by January 10.

Group executive chairman Faiz Khan said forestry losses caused by Tropical Cyclone Evan had been pegged at $150,000 and significant structural damage to the Drasa plant had yet to be ascertained in terms of costs.

"Our major damage through Evan is at the Drasa factory with complete structures demolished," Mr Khan said.

"Evan hit on the day we were supposed to commence our maintenance program, so lumber production has not been affected thus far. However, we only received electricity yesterday and commenced our maintenance program.

"From Wednesday 19 until yesterday we have mainly focused on cleaning up and mitigating losses. Despite the destruction and lost maintenance time, our aim is to get the production back on line by January 10, 2013 as per schedule so that we can provide employment to 300 odd workers and continue to supply timber to the nation.

"The damage to our forestry was far less than the January and March floods. Our initial assessment of losses sustained in the forestry because of Evan is about $150,000.

"Some areas in Lololo forest had trees uprooted. We started harvesting them a week ago to bring to our mill in order to mitigate the losses. Some young seedlings planted had fallen down so we have already started propping them up."

Mr Khan said the $2million seedling replanting program that had just been completed recently was largely unaffected but their continued survival depended heavily on the weather.

"The $2million worth of planting is largely intact at this stage. However, we need rain," he said.

"The strong heat over the past week could severely affect the growth or cause death of the young pine plants."