The Waisoi Project, a copper and gold project, is undergoing an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as required by the Environment Management Act (2005).
An EIA is a common and important part of any major development process to ensure all issues are fully understood and taken into account before anything is built.
A Terms of Reference (ToR) is developed by the Government to guide the EIA studies and a final EIA report is produced and submitted to the Government for consideration. The Government makes a decision to allow a development to proceed based on the EIA. The developer then decides whether to proceed with the project based on a range of factors, including the Governmentâ€™s development permit conditions and economic and social considerations.
The Waisoi Project EIA will assess potential environmental and social impacts of a mine in the area. A cultural heritage study is also being conducted to help identify the location and the importance of known cultural sites. This includes consultation with the affected villages and site verification with villagers.
Timeframes and Status
The Fiji Government, through the Department of Environment, issued the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the Waisoi Project EIA, following a series of community and stakeholder consultation sessions. The ToR guides the scope of the environmental, social and cultural heritage studies that are now underway.
EIA Terms of Reference
Public consultation sessions are being held at key stages during the EIA to inform project stakeholders about the project and seek the comments and concerns.
The EIA report is expected to be submitted to the Fiji Government in 2016.
Click to view EIA Terms of Reference – Final (December 2016)
The EIA will gather a wide range of environmental and social information, identify potential impacts and provide options on how they could be managed.
The environmental studies will include data gathering and analysis of soil, air, noise, ground water, waterways and ecology conditions. The social studies will assess community health, cultural heritage, traffic and transport, ecological risk, economics and other socioeconomic factors.
The data collected is then assessed to determine any impacts and how these can be mitigated.
The final EIA report will help the Government decide if a mine at Waisoi can be developed safely and economically and in an environmentally sustainable manner. It is also the formal mechanism by which the Government would approve the Waisoi Project.
The EIA findings will be transferred into Environmental, Social and Cultural Heritage Management Plans covering the construction and operational stages of the mine. These plans will specify the environmental, social and cultural heritage management measures NJV will follow.
Public Consultation and Stakeholder Engagement
Consultation and engagement with the local community and other stakeholders is an important part of the EIA process.
All project stakeholders are encouraged to participate in the EIA consultation activities. It is critical that all interested stakeholders, particularly those people who live in communities in proximity to the project area, have a thorough understanding of the proposed mine and an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments.
The EIA process includes a number of opportunities for interested stakeholders to provide their input, either through attendance at consultation and information sessions, or by submitting comments directly to the EIA team.
The EIA public consultation sessions include information on what the potential mine may look like, the proposed location of the main components including open pits, tailings dam, power plant and roads as well as the environmental management plans.
Feedback will be addressed in the EIA report.
EIA Awareness Training
An EIA awareness training was undertaken by Fiji Environmental Law Association (FELA) in October/November 2016. The following materials were presented and discussed during the training program.