iji’s first iron sand export facility is one step closer to completion, with Australian-owned dredging and civil contractor Hall Pacific set to finish dredging 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 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.
“We also received positive feedback from Department of Environment representatives, who conducted a number of routine inspections and witnessed our rigorous environmental procedures in action.”
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.
Mr Hall said Fijian workers had formed the majority of the dredging workforce, with up to 12 Fijian Nationals employed on the project. These roles included relief dredge operators, mechanical engineers and deck hands working on board the dredge and support vessels.
“We’re committed to providing employment and training opportunities in the Pacific Islands and I’m pleased to report a number of our deck hands were upskilled throughout the project,” he said.
“This will assist these workers to obtain formal marine qualifications.”
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 specialises in climate change adaptation and infrastructure delivery and has offices in Fiji, Australia and Malaysia.
Hall Pacific 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.