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Mine waste claim inquiry

Luke Rawalai
Tuesday, November 07, 2017

THE Mineral Resources Department dispatched a team yesterday to look into claims of bauxite waste water polluting waterways.

Naibulu residents in Dreketi claimed that their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

Responding to questions from this newspaper yesterday regarding alleged bauxite waste water spill from the mining site at Naibulu, Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources permanent secretary Malakai Finau said they would look into the matter.

Mr Finau said they would get back to this newspaper with a clear response once the team completed its assessment.

Earlier, residents in Naibulu claimed that waste water from the mine which ran off into the waterways had contaminated drinking holes of livestock.

Naibulu farmer Deo Chand claimed his livestock had refused drinking from the drains which filled up with water during the rainy season because it became blackish and turned dark red. He said farmers had no choice but to give tap water to their animals.

Rohit Kumar, a fisherman, said families that did not have rice farms in the area depended heavily on the sale of seafood such as crabs and fish.

Mr Kumar claimed that during heavy rain, the waterways and a creek in the area would turn red with the same contaminated water seeping into the mangrove area.

He said during adverse weather, this would persist for weeks while marine organisms that they relied on would disappear.

"We have no choice but to go to other areas to fetch our products and food for our families," Mr Kumar said.

"Something needs to be done and it needs to be done now because our families are suffering."

Mr Finau said yesterday that the team would be sent to the mining site to look into the matter.

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