Extraction concerns

GRAVEL extraction companies have been ordered by the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources to conduct remedial works on their work sites.

These are companies that have worked in Navakuru along the Nakorotari River, outside Labasa Town.

Responding to questions from this newspaper, director Mineral Department Dr Raijeli Taga said the department had inspected extraction sites.

Dr Taga said companies had been ordered to remove crossings they had made along the river banks and which affected river flow.

“The lands North office has been advised to monitor that this work is carried out soon,” she said.

“It is also important to note that for any application, consent from 60 per cent of the landowners is required which is their waiver of their fishing rights.

“Also the river users should have been consulted during the EIA process on the impacts of the activity.

“The ministry is working to improve on the regulation of this activity and also the monitoring to ensure that such problems faced by these villages is minimised.”

Dr Taga said there were new requirements included in the process now, so all factors were considered when applications were submitted.

“To improve the river life, it is advisable that extraction is ceased for some time to give time for the replenishment of the resource and also river life,” she said.

Earlier, resource owners and villagers in Navakuru had raised their concern on the drop in water level along the Nakorotari River.

Villagers say apart from the drop in water level they are also concerned about the river biodiversity which has vanished.

Navakuru villager Ropate Rakuro said they were happy the ministry was now monitoring the extraction companies along the river.

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