22nd March 08:52 PM
Production of Bauxite ore in Vanua Levu earns govt $1.4 million in revenue - Koya
By Iva Danford
Sunday 11/03/2018
Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya

The production of Bauxite ore in the Nawailevu and Naibulu areas in Vanua Levu has earned government $1.4 million in revenue on royalty.

Bauxite ore is mined from 408 hectares of prospective zones in the Nawailevu area in Bua and part of the Naibulu East area in Macuata.

In a statement to parliament on the Geo‑Political and Socio‑Economic effects of Bauxite mining in Vanua Levu, Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya says payments of $1.7 million revenue were paid to the landowning units in Nawailevu, Bua and for the Naibulu $781,800 was paid to the government.

Koya says Bauxite or Aluminium ore is the main commodity that is mined at both sites, and the two sites have produced more than a million tonnes of bauxite ore since commencement in 2011.

The Minister clarifies that the nature of bauxite ore, as it has and is still is being misunderstood largely to be soil, is not.

He says Bauxite naturally occurs as earthy minerals, it is formed through a natural weathering process of the surrounding soil or rocks in wet tropical or sub‑tropical climate, and silica and other soluble materials are leached out during the weathering process and the remaining materials form a new type of rock that is rich in aluminium ore.

Koya says this occurs mainly near the surface as found in Nawailevu and Naibulu.

He says the project has also assisted local communities with the provision of a $30,000 donation to the Bua Scholarship fund, assisted with site leveling for over 10 housing projects for Mataqali Nalutu, church and road maintenance for Nawailevu and Lovonidalo village, provision of 24 computers, 12 printers and copiers to Bua and Macuata schools with 500 school bags.

Koya says to date, the beneficiated bauxite ore from the mine is currently being sold at a commodity price of approximately 50 USD per tonne and the price fluctuates from time to time due to the market demand for metal.

He says the Nawailevu mine has ceased operations and the site is undergoing progressive rehabilitation with a reforestation program on the mine site of 160,000 pine seedlings.

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