Environment and Compensation Concerns at Namost, Not Political

See also Namosi and Back published two days ago, and updated since. Also read comments.

Secretary of the newly formed Namosi Tikina Landowners Committee, Sipiriano Nariva, said they want to have discussions in relation to their concerns about loss of their waterways and forest. They say at least two clans who are members of the committee have also blocked Namosi Joint Venture workers from entering their land for exploration works. They say they want compensation claims to be sorted out first before works continue.

Public consultations continue
Public consultations as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment for the proposed copper and gold mine in Namosi and Naitasiri provinces will continue at the end of this month.

The environmental assessment also includes a range of studies of flora and fauna, river systems and aquatic life, assessing potential noise and dust, traffic, social and cultural studies including current community health and cultural heritage.

The data collected will be assessed to determine the impacts and how these can be
mitigated. The Namosi Joint Venture or NJV will then decide whether to build and operate a mine, and Government will then determine if a mine can proceed and under what conditions. – Based on Fiji Village report

Heed Pacific's earlier mining disasters
A reader with first hand knowledge of the effects of mining in other Pacific countries hopes the Assessors will give due weight to their experience that is far from reassuring. Opencast copper and gold mining along the Jaba River in Bojugainville (Solomon Islands), the Fly-Ok Tedi river system (Papua New Guinea) and the Ajkwa River (West Papua) has had disastrous consequences for the people who own and live in the areas mined. In no case did the mining companies respect their environmental responsibilities.

The upper reaches of all three river systems became braided streams where once they were deep-cut rapidly-flowing waterways, and their lower reaches silted up so much that they became elevated above the surrounding land and their estuaries needed to be dredged to permit ship access. Village gardens became silted and unusable and were often affected by cyanide leaching.

In the Fly River, the staple food crop sago could no longer be harvested because the billabongs silted up. Annual compensation paid by the mining company has severely and negatively affected the lifestyles of communities: People now eat purchased rice and imported goods instead of their traditional foods with the now well known affects on their health. Many people have been forced to leave the floodplain and now live in Mosbi's and Daru's squatter settlements.

Only two years ago, when the PNG High Court upheld the people's complaint against the PNG government's plan to use the Ramu River for mine tailings, the Government changed the environment laws to permit mining, which showed a flagrant abuse of power and authoritarian disregard for the welfare of their own people.

Industries need copper but there is not good reason why mining cannot be carried out under environmentally secure arrangements, that ensure the minimum environmental damage and reasonable benefits (not brickbats) to the local communities. These aims should be paramount in
the minds of the Fiji Interim Government's negotiators.

Ed. note: Not to mention earlier phosphate mining  in Nauru and Banaba which left most of the raised atolls looking like the surface of the moon on a dark night, of little use to their inhabitgants, but of great benefit to Australian and NZ farmers.


Easy to call names than ague a point said…
Have you noticed how this government claim anything or anyone they don't like as 'political'.

The other one than gets me is the labeling of people as self 'interested' which is funny given how more self interested don you get than a PM who would sure be charged for treason and his coup if the previous rule of law was around or it's supporters returned.

Then there is the labeling of opponents as 'elite'. This is often used to describe anyone who has been successful. In particular anyone who had any influence on previous government or in business. Well today the new 'elite' in Fiji is clearly the RFMF.
Politics said…

As far as Frank and co are concerned it is very political. Anything that is contrary to their ideas or decisions is 'political'

Interesting that we have seen politics played out within the RFMF over the last five years. Key players being ousted, others being rewarded, others escaping jail or picking up plum overseas jobs after failing in Fiji roles. The RFMF has all the markings of politics.

We also have the AG now saying the PM will probably run for PM in 2014. He promised he wouldn't. He will which will mean he has broken every single promise made to the public of Fiji in 2007. It doesn't get any more political than that !

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