Fiji’s first bauxite shipment of 2017 netted the government US$1.4 million dollars, bringing the total earnings from bauxite sales since they began in 2010 to US$25.1 million.
Director of Mineral Development Dr. Raijeli Taga made the announcement last week, going on to explain that the inaugural shipment of the year was made on March 3. That’s significantly earlier than Xinfa Aurum Bauxite Company’s first shipment last year, which did not take place until September, he pointed out.
According to Taga, the shipment in question weighed in at 58,709.60 metric tons. “This raked in revenues of $1,350,320.80 in US dollars,” he explained.
Local media reports that the country exported 1.2 million metric tons of bauxite ore from operations at Bua through 2015, selling the ore for FJ$48 million. Xinfa Aurum went on record last year as anticipating shipping 70,000 metric tons of bauxite for the year at a total price of FJ$4 million, but sales ended up totaling 69,000 metric tons with a sale price of FJ$1.4 million.
When asked for sales projections for the current year, Taga declined to provide a number, citing market volatility. Taga told local media that a weak bauxite market, coupled with the poor quality of the bauxite for sale, made exporting it an arduous process. However, she went on to say that Xinfa Aurum plans to continue mining at Bua in order to build a stockpile for sale when the bauxite market makes a comeback.
The Republic of Fiji is home to the Vanua Levu mine, which is one of the largest bauxite mines in Oceana, with reserves estimated at one billion metric tons. Known for its picturesque beauty, the country has been a difficult location to conduct mining operations due to a military coup in 2006, a constitutional crisis in 2009, and an ongoing military dictatorship.