July 22, 2013

Mining prospect

Ropate Valemei
Friday, July 19, 2013

THE mining of marble is becoming a positive prospect for the highlands of Nadroga where large marble and precious metal deposits have been identified.

The site is owned by three villages — Toga, Vunaqoru and Tawatawadi — with the presence of large deposits of marble.

Toga village headman Jone Kunaua said they were looking forward to the outcome of the exploration because this would inject billions of dollars to the three villages.

"The mining prospect was under a licence to Wing Investment Company granted in 2000. It expired in 2003 and research was conducted around the area," Mr Kunaua said.

He said the researchers found out it had marble stones, precious metal deposits and minerals for making cement.

"Government (officials) were here for six months for survey works. The site belongs to the seven mataqali. This is a good source of money for us. Five villages signed for approval and two are left to come onboard."

He said paperwork had been compiled but they were waiting for government's response.

Mineral Resource Department assistant director Venesio Nasara said exploration work had begun at the site.

Mr Nasara said Tengy Cement (Fiji) Company Limited, a Chinese investment company, was conducting exploration at the site to determine whether it was economically sustainable. Located about 25 kilometres up the Sigatoka Valley road on the eastern bank of the Sigatoka River, the marble deposit site was first evaluated by the department in 1970.

It was hoped the site would be promoted as a potential source of lime products for cement manufacturing industry and as a dimension stone product.

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