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Tenement Administration

What is the timeline for granting of a special prospecting licence?

The timeline is usually 90 to 120 days provided the applicant submits all the documents as per the guideline issued by the Department.  The distribution of timeline is as follows:

  • 30 days consultation with Conservator of Forest, Water Authority of Fiji and other agencies concerned.
  • 30 days objection period subsequent to publication of the notice of application.
  • 30 days processing time.
  • 30 days dealing with objections if received against the notice of application.

What is the scale of landowner consultation needed for grant / renewal of a exploration license?

  • For a new application, all the landowning units within the area applied should be consulted (100%).
  • For a renewal application, the consultation should be undertaken in areas where the company is proposing to undertake exploration activities.

What is the impact on application (s) if partial information is provided in accordance to the guideline?

The application will be deemed incomplete and will not be accepted for further processing.  It is the sole responsibility of the exploration companies to comply with the guideline and submit an application within the time frame.  Submission of application on piecemeal basis will not be accepted.

Community Consultation

What is the law on mineral ownership?

All minerals belong to the State regardless of where it is found, on the surface or underground or 6ft under, minerals still belong to the State.

What happens to mine sites after a mine is closed?

Mining is a temporary activity, with the operating life of a mine lasting for a few years to several decades. Mine closure occurs once the mineral resource at a working mine is exhausted, or operations are no longer profitable. Mine closure plans are required before a mining permit is granted, and must demonstrate that the site will not pose a threat to the health of the environment or society in the future. Depending on the site, the mine may be repurposed for other human uses or restored to its pre-mining use following closure.

How are the effects of  mining on water quality monitored?

Because of water quality concerns, surface and groundwater at mine sites is monitored before, during, and after the operation of the mine. The information collected by water monitoring programs is used to assess the effects of the mine on the surrounding environment and develop appropriate water management plans.

Geological Mapping/Geotechnical

Is the department liable to fund for the mitigation of geological and coastal hazards in terms of landslide and coastal erosion?

No. The division is ONLY responsible for carrying out the assessments, providing advice and recommendation for mitigation measures. However, the report can be used to request for assistance from funding/donor agencies and relevant authorities and stakeholders.

Is the department responsible for carrying out mining operations after conducting the Mineral Investigation Project (MIP)?

No. The division ONLY carry’ out the Mineral Investigation Project (MIP) and all existing and new geological data are packaged and made available to interested investors through tenement maps provided by the Mines Division.

Groundwater Development

What are the requirements for Groundwater Assessment and Development request

All groundwater requests are submitted to Director Mineral Development for endorsement or otherwise ad-hoc request is to be approved by the Minister of Ministry Lands and Mineral Resources. Groundwater requests received from villages/ rural settlement/ school should present support letter from the Commissioner’s office.  For Private Investor (Commercialize) the request letter should include the investor registration under the Register of Company, a support letter from Investment Fiji, present consent letter from landowners to enter land for groundwater exploration and development and consent from landowners should be 60% or more. The Department shall issue a quotation for the work required for Commercial or Private Groundwater development. Commitment to carry out such work will only commence after full quoted amount is paid to MRD accounts.

What are the procedures for Groundwater Assessment and Development?

A reconnaissance/ preliminary field visit is firstly conducted to verify the request. The outcome of the reconnaissance field visit will confirm if further detailed geophysics survey (full groundwater assessment) is required.The outcome of the full groundwater assessment analysis will determine the location of the potential sites recommended for drilling. The Director of the department will verify and endorse the groundwater assessment report and the site selection form before the drilling commences. While drilling, if the indication of presence of water is confirmed, further groundwater work will be conducted, that includes well design, well flushing and groundwater evaluation.

What do you understand by the term Hydrogeology?

Typical definitions of hydrogeology emphasize the occurrence, distribution, movement and geological interaction of water in the Earth’s crust. Hydrogeology is an interdisciplinary subject and also encompasses aspects of hydrology and geology interaction. Hydrology has been defined as the study of the occurrence and movement of water on and over Earth’s surface independent of the seepage of groundwater and springs which sustain river flows during seasonal dry periods.