Illegal operations: Ministry notes rise in unlawful extraction of sand and gravel

Gravel extraction seen in this file picture at Vorovoro Village in Tailevu. Picture: ATU RASEA/FT FILE

The Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources has noted an increase in illegal extraction of sand and gravel since the first COVID-19 lockdown in April this year.

In light of these illegal operations, the ministry has warned members of the public that such extraction for personal and commercial exercises required proper licences.

A statement from the ministry said these licences could be acquired from its three divisional offices at the Lands Lautoka office at Tavewa Building, Lands Central Eastern Office at Gladstone Rd, Suva and Lands Labasa office at Macuata House.

“Under Section 2 of the State Lands Act, 1945 and Section 2 of the Rivers and Streams Act 1880, the State (Government) owns all foreshore, rivers, streams and the waters of Fiji including the soil under the waters of Fiji, this also includes sand and gravel,” the statement said.

“The necessary checklist for the sand and gravel extraction licence can be obtained from the MLMR divisional offices.

“Applications lodged by individuals should include the following: formal application letter, locality diagram, access agreement, waiver of fishing rights form — to be issued by the divisional office, environmental impact assessment (EIA), environment management plan (EMP), EIA/EMP approval — issued by Department of Environment, Rock Test — to determine the quality of resource lab test and TIN letter.

“Application lodged by companies should include all the above documents, company registration certificate, certified photo identification of directors and schedule of director and shareholders.”

Application lodged by trust should include Registered Deed of Trust — registered under deeds and certified photo identification of trustees.

“Anyone found carrying out either a small scale or commercial extraction of these resources from any of the public beaches, foreshore, rivers and streams without a valid sand and extraction licence, is breaking the law and will be prosecuted accordingly.”

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