Fiji’s first iron sand export facility is one step closer to completion, with the contractor Hall Pacific set to finish dredging of a new berth pocket at Lautoka Wharf this week.
The works will allow large carrier ships to enter the new facility, where they can be loaded with mineral-rich black sand, ready for export to China.
Hall Pacific CEO, Cameron Hall, said that strict environmental controls had been enforced throughout the project, with the health of the surrounding marine environment a top priority.
“A deep-water location south of Bekana Island was selected as the disposal site for the dredged material, with thorough investigations conducted to ensure the area was free of environmentally sensitive marine habitats,” Mr Hall said.
“Our team consistently met the parameters of the discharge permit, ensuring water turbidity was kept to a minimum and water quality remained at a high standard at all times.”
Hall Pacific was awarded the Fiji Ports Corporation Ltd contract – funded by AMEX Resources – in January 2018.
The new export facility is expected to be fully operational in the coming months, with the venture set to generate employment opportunities for local workers and contribute positively to the Fijian economy.
According to Mr Hall, Fijian workers had formed the majority of the dredging workforce. These roles included relief dredge operators, mechanical engineers and deck hands working on board the dredge and support vessels.
Hall Pacific has been servicing the Pacific Islands for more than 10 years, having successfully carried out projects in Fiji, Vanuatu, PNG and Tuvalu.
The company is currently working on the Nawi Island Marina development on Savusavu, excavating a marina basin to accommodate a 150-berth marina, installing revetment walls and undertaking bulk earthworks for a resort and yacht club.