Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gold Find in Wainibuka

by Ifereimi Nadore

Fiji Times - February 09, 2010

HIGH grade minerals, including gold, have been found in thick forest near Nabulini Village in the upper reaches of Wainibuka, Tailevu.

Preliminary tests on stones extracted from the site confirmed that they bore components of precious metals.

The results of the tests conducted in Australia were relayed to villagers of Nabulini and Manu by the Department of Mineral Resources' senior scientific officer, Sireli Nagata.

The stones were collected from Naviga and Dreketi creeks by a team from MRD led by Mr Nagata late last year.

Mr Nagata said given the magnitude of the project, it was highly likely that exploration would cover the whole of Nailega district. The land is held by five villages.

It is anticipated that work will begin as soon as all the necessary paperwork is finalised.

Mr Nagata has been conducting meetings in Nabulini and Manu over the past few weeks to help landowners understand the pros and cons of the project.

He has also reminded them that under the Public Emergency Decree, anyone found disrupting any development work carried out by the Government could be liable for prosecution.

The PED came up after a dispute between mataqali over who owned what piece of land.

The boundary dispute forced Mr Nagata and military personnel Major Laifone and Donu Manasava to travel to Nabulini on Friday to settle the matter.

Mr Nagata told the villagers that more exploratory work would be done on other sites, and this would cover the hilly terrain of neighbouring villages Manu and Naibita.

Last week, State officials were at the site to clarify ownership of land where exploratory work will be undertaken.

Major Laifone urged the villagers to put their differences aside and support the development to improve their lives.

Nailega district representative to the Tailevu Provincial Council, Waisake Kaloulia, said the landowners hoped to make full use of the opportunity and to ensure that it progressed without any further problems.

He said the vanua of Nailega would meet on February 17 to elect a committee to represent all the landowning units.

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