writer : MAIKA BOLATIKI
A new player has entered the timber industry in Fiji.
It plans to provide good competition for those who are already in the industry.
As part of its expansion in the Northern Division, Aurum Exploration Fiji Limited will now buy Fiji timber to be shipped to China.
Aurum Mining Fiji Limited is the company operating at the Nawailevu bauxite mine in Bua Province, Vanua Levu.
The company’s operation manager, Basilio Vanuaca, confirmed this to the Fiji Sun in an interview.
“I’ll soon be travelling to the provinces about our company’s proposal to buy local timber for our newly-acquired Savusavu timber mill,” Mr Vanuaca said.
He said they would buy timber and ship it to the parent company in China for processing.
When asked about the company’s expansion in the north, Mr Vanuaca said they were doing it because they wanted to help Fiji’s economy.
He said the company just brought in 15 10-wheeler trucks and they were now operating at the bauxite mine at Nawailevu.
Next to come will be two barges that can each carry 2000 tonnes of cargo.
These two barges will transport soil dug out from the bauxite mine to the ship.
The 70,000 tonnes company-owned ship, Mr Vanuaca said, was four times bigger than the inter-island roll-on, roll off ferry Spirit of Enterprise.
“The ship, because of its size, cannot berth at our new jetty at Navakasiga,” he said.
When asked about the expected arrival of the ship Mr Vanuaca said it would be when the first bauxite shipment was ready, which would be early next year.
The Permanent Secretary for Lands and Mineral Resources, Filimoni Kau, said they were happy with the developments that would be carried out by Aurum in the north.
Mr Kau said the company had agreed to help with the rural development in the areas where they worked.
“The company is interested in helping the rural population lift their lifestyle,” he said.
Mr Kau said the expansion would create jobs for the local people.
The company, he said, was ready to work with the rural people in terms of development.
And it doesn't end there. Other investors are plying the illegal and treasonous Bainimarama with their get rich quck schemes.
Other chinese investors (and the Catholic Church for good measure) seeking to compete with locally owned businesses in the building/construction sector [and we hear good ol' James Ah Koy is in the mix here too], are going one further and grabbing raw materials at giveaway prices as well.
writer : MAIKA BOLATIKI
Limestone sites have been identified as possible supplies for the new Chinese-owned cement factory at Veisari.
“We have identified two limestone sites, one at Veisari and the other at Waiqanake,” the Permanent Secretary for Lands and Mineral Resources, Filimoni Kau said.
He said they had started negotiations with the itaukei landowners as limestone was an important ingredient of cement.
According to Wikipedia: “Cement is made by heating limestone (calcium carbonate) with small quantities of other materials (such as clay) to 1450°C in a kiln, in a process known as calcination, whereby a molecule of carbon dioxide is liberated from the calcium carbonate to form calcium oxide, or quicklime, which is then blended with the other materials that have been included in the mix.”
Mr Kau said Tengy Cement (Fiji) Company Limited had started work on the site at Veisari and clearing was about to be completed.
He said they had also been given a piece of land at Father Law Home by the Catholic Church in Fiji head, Archbishop Petero Mataca to construct the access road to the mataqali Natodre land, where the company would excavate about 300,000 cubic meters of soil for the factory site.
Negotiations for the cost of the total amount of soil excavated had ended and members of the mataqali Natodre would benefit financially from the excavation.
Compensation for the access road according to Mr Kau is $300,000 and they had already paid 75 per cent of the amount to the church.
On the limestone, Mr Kau said they needed to negotiate with the landowners to reach a settlement before the new cement factory began its work.
Tengy Cement (Fiji) Company Limited will be Fiji’s second cement factory and has been given a 99-year industrial lease.
A promised benefit of the investment is the reduction in cement prices as the monopoly on cement production is removed and prices become competitive.
The company is also scouting for possible sites for another factory to be based on Vanua Levu.