Tuesday, 25 March 2008 8:27 AM

Gold and Possibility of Oil in Tonga and Fiji

While mining is set to begin on the Tongan seabed after valuable minerals were discovered there, a discovery on a Fijian village seashore has villagers testing for oil.

According to the Tonga Broadcasting Commission, a local mining company has confirmed that Tonga has 'a wealth of valuable minerals deep beneath its seabed which include gold, silver and copper' following a 'result of surveys carried out by different companies over the last 50-years where numbers have shown the presence of these valuable minerals'.

The local company is now waiting to apply for a mining license and with sixteen confirmed locations to survey, the work is expected to take about one month.

Meanwhile, in Fiji, villagers of Nasawana in Bua, Vanua Levu, discovered an oil-like substance oozing out of its seashore.

According to the report by Fiji Times Online, 'villagers have called on the interim regime to speed up the testing process to enable them to lay out business strategies'. A team from Fiji's Mineral Resources Ministry had collected samples of the substance to determine if it is oil. However, the villagers have yet to receive results. But according to the report, village headman, Serupepeli Catana, said that 'a relative who works in an oil dump in Iraq visited the site last month and told the villagers the substance was crude oil'. The relative has also taken some samples over to Iraq for testing.

The villagers are awaiting response from the authorities so they could plan on the next course of action if the substance is indeed oil.

According to the Fiji Times Online, Mr. Cautana said that whenever villagers dug sand pits, oil would gush out.