Fiji’s Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources has clarified that no mining extractions are underway in Namosi, as the current Special Prospecting License only permits exploration.
Responding to the speculation, Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Filimoni Vosarogo said the Namosi Joint Venture (NJV) has been operational since 2001 and as such may have prompted such rumours.
“There is no mining, and the project is being closely monitored by my Ministry. In addition, the issuance of the SPL was done with strict adherence to the Mining Act with all the necessary environmental safety and safeguards checked out,” Vosarogo said. “NJV was first granted a Special Prospecting License (SPL) in 2001 to explore minerals and this SPL has been renewed several times to ensure the company carries out a thorough exploration with extensive research of the mineral prospects.”
Under the Mining Act, intrusive exploration like drilling cannot occur near communities. Vosarogo said that the Act is clear on lands or areas closed to prospecting or exploration which includes any i-Taukei village and any land within 30 meters of an inhabited house or building, except with the written consent of owner or occupier.
The ministry’s mining division also carries out awareness, educating the community about resource development and how critical steps of the exploration permit involve the landowners to be informed: “focused on delivering its key strategies to ensure the continued growth of the resources industry and to maximise the economic and social return to Fiji and particularly, the landowners.”
Vosarogo dismissed premature speculations about mining types as unfounded. He also acknowledged unresolved concerns from past stages of exploration, which have resurfaced. He called for a genuine tripartite approach to address it to benefit Fiji’s economic future, landowners’ well-being, investor confidence, and environmental management.
Vosarogo said that the world over appreciates that for all mining activities, there will be some form of environmental impacts, and the challenge is to ensure that the impacts are manageable and where rehabilitation is necessary, it becomes a priority in any issue of a license to mine.
He said the Coalition Government through the ministry will continue to engage with all relevant stakeholders in the mineral development space and encourages individuals and organisations to reach out to the ministry to discuss matters or concerns relating to mineral development.
Vosarogo also dismissed insinuations of land takeover, stressing adherence to due process and the rule of law.