Mar 27, 2017 Last Updated 12:15 AM, Mar 15, 2017

River poisoning alert

Top: A dredging machine at the Sigatoka river mouth. Top: A dredging machine at the Sigatoka river mouth. Photo: Samisoni Pareti
Published in 2017 March
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Heavy metals concerns in proposed Sigatoka River mine

MINING of the Sigatoka River on the southern coast of Fiji’s main island poses a real risk of severe marine life poisoning with flow-on effects on people who feed on such fish, mussels and crustaceans.

The warning is highlighted in a report by environmental consultants, Corerega Environment Consultancy, which was contracted by Fiji’s Department of Environment to conduct the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the proposed mining of the Sigatoka River by Australian company Dome.

The report warned that “contaminants” from mining could result in ‘severe poisoning.’ A copy obtained by this magazine said: “The dredged materials wash out having a lot of contaminants in them may go back into the river during heavy downpour and pollute the water and if taken up by living organisms in the river will make them severely poisonous.

“If such organisms are fish, crabs or “kai” (mussels) etc. people consuming them would become seriously ill. To ensure impact of sediment wash out are minimised, proper mitigation measures are to be put into place.”

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