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Export benefits foreign reserves

Luke Rawalai
Tuesday, April 22, 2014

XINFA Aurum Exploration Fiji Limited dispatched about a dozen bauxite shipments to its overseas markets last year.

In a statement yesterday, Xinfa executive Derek Qiu said this had greatly benefited government's foreign reserves.

Mr Qiu said the shipments also increased Fiji's export earnings from the inexhaustible Chinese market.

"Now that the bauxite has been removed from the soil, the top soil is then covered over replacing the salinity of the bauxite," he said.

"The soil is then planted with legumes and grasses like vativa grass.

"Workers are guided by the Ministry of Agriculture's extension officer based at Nakarudru in Lekutu."

Mr Qiu said it was upon his advice that vativa grass was planted on the side of the hills.

"This vativa grass is ideal for pasturing animals like cows and goats that wander into the mine site for grass and water.

"Vativa grass does well also in holding on to soil blown about by the wind or washed down the hills after a heavy rain that is consistent in this area of Bua.

"Aurum Exploration workers have been planting water melons and legumes such as long and short beans."

Mr Qiu said within two harvests the legumes were expected to have already put back nutrition into the soil to allow proper flora and fauna to return to the area.

"Previous use of the land was confined to pine trees but now teak plant seedlings and sekoula trees are now planted in the newly-mined areas.

"The environment is now much better than the pine trees that were planted on the slopes and hills of Nawailevu.

"The arable land on which these pine trees were planted did not benefit the landowners at all."

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