FIJI VILLAGERS COMPLAIN OF GOLD MINE POLLUTION

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SUVA. Fiji (Fiji Times, Aug. 28) – Emperor Gold Mining Company in Vatukoula, Fiji, has denied allegations it has polluted nearby rivers and farms.

Neighbours allege they are suffering health problems because of the polluted rivers and atmosphere and are blaming Emperor Gold for it.

Tavua Member of Parliament, Damodran Nair accused the company of improper waste and tailings disposal. As a result of such methods of waste disposal, he said, the communities, especially in Toko, Matanagata and Vatukoula, were suffering in silence.

He alleged families could not grow flowers because of the high level of sulphur released into the atmosphere by the mine.

EGM general manager, Sean O'Connor said the company had conducted tests at nearby rivers and streams. He said accurate analysis of water was done regularly with all test results sent to the Mineral Resource Department for further examination.

He said under their Environmental Management Plan, the mine was dedicated to environment rehabilitation.

"We have had a monitoring program in place since 2004 to monitor the impact of sulphur dioxide in the environment and the report is with the Mineral Resources Department," he said.

"We have the best landfill-managed refuse site in Fiji and anyone is welcome to visit this site to see how the impact on the environment is being minimised."

Mr O'Connor said he could not understand the allegations levelled at the mine because they were very careful about protecting the surrounding environment.

August 29, 2005

Fiji Times: http://www.fijitimes.com/

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